Nation Prime

Manage Covid-19 funds transparently

By NASIBO KABALE
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Thursday May 28 2020

On Tuesday, the National Treasury announced a Sh53.7 billion stimulus package to support businesses that have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the funds will provide credit guarantee and loans and help support tourist facilities.

This came hours after he said that the World Bank would lend Kenya $1 billion in budget support, its biggest financing package yet for the country.

Early this month, the International Monetary Fund approved disbursement of $739 to Kenya to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

INCREASE FLOW

These are some of the measures that should increase cash flow for those in need and allow some social policymaking and relief spending in response to the pandemic.

While the pandemic has come with various challenges, it is clear that there has been an influx of funds and this has already raised concerns among many over how the money will be managed.

Past experience, however, tells us to keep our eye on the money as funds tend to be mismanaged. Many people on social media are already demanding efficiency and transparency in the management and administration of Covid-19 funds.

ONE ACCOUNT

The International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) proposes that a single Treasury account that is managed jointly by the National Treasury, Central Bank of Kenya and Council of Governors could ensure the office of Auditor-General has full access and shall publish a daily statement outlining all inflows and outflows to a government ministry, department and or agency.

The ICPC also proposes that individuals and or organisations contracted to provide Covid-19 goods and services must have their names published and their contracts and costs paid made public.  

This concept would give confidence to many Kenyans who are sceptical about how the government will spend Covid-19 funds.

Whatever approach the government takes, it must ensure Covid-19 funds are managed with utmost transparency and integrity.