Alagi Yorro Jallow
Mamudu- In South Africa, the South African Solidarity Fund is structured as a Public Benefit Organization, some NGO, exempt from Income tax. The Fund has no government officials in its structures and is mostly driven by executives of leading corporate organizations in South Africa. The purpose of the Fund is to collect donations towards South Africa’s Covid-19 relief effort. The Fund is a private sector initiative with no capacity to receive public funds appropriated by Parliament as part of the fundraising effort. The governance structure borrows heavily from a private investment fund. Key among them are fundraising, disbursement, and audit & risk committees. Administration of the Fund is by Old Mutual. Assurance and audit by PwC. Legal by EnS Africa. Day to day running is facilitated by a CEO appointed by the Fund’s Board of Directors. As of 24th April, the Fund has raised about US$88,330,000 from 76,000 individual donors. The Fund aims to raise 1.7billion South African Rand from private sources and individuals. Of the money raised, – there is in place a PUBLICLY declared disbursement plan and allocation; Health Response, including supporting front line health workers 75%, Humanitarian Assistance to vulnerable homes 25%, Behavioral Change Campaign in local communities 5-10%. The Fund has a website where leadership, governance, donations, and disbursement data is shared with the general public. In effect, the South African Solidarity Fund remains a PRIVATE effort, with the blessings of the South African President and government. In this way, there is a distinct separation between the operations of the Treasury and the fundraising efforts of private citizens towards the public good.
In the meantime, the South African Treasury continues to execute its public mandate under the law, without the co-opting of private sector interests into its activities.
Mamudu: In the Gambia, there exists a Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund governed by the rulemaking authority of the Minister of Finance under the Public Finance Act. The Fund is to be administered by the Ministry of Finance, whose membership comprises of the Minister other members who are not public officers (this is the slot saturated by members of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce). The Administrator is the Permanent Secretary of Finance. Interestingly, the fund income, as laid out in the rules, consists of grants, gifts, private donations, and potentially PUBLIC FUNDS in the form of monies appropriated by the National Assembly for purposes of the Fund. Yet the Fund is being marketed as PRIVATE SECTOR effort by PRIVATE SECTOR faces. And why are we appropriating public monies to the Fund, yet there exists government structures through which such funds can be disbursed towards the Covid-19 effort? Why would someone allocate public funds meant for say, PPEs to public hospitals through this Fund and not directly to the Ministry of Health? Is it possible to deal with Covid-19 without creating additional layers of bureaucracy within the government? For example, creating a Covid-19 fund at the Ministry of Finance, separate from private fundraising activities of corporate Gambia? The inability to separate public or private interests?
Tower of babe