Jigawa, Ondo, and Kano States top the table for states with the most transparent use of state finances to facilitate fiscal transparency and accountability in government use of state resources, a recent BudgIT State Fiscal Transparency League (SFTL) report has disclosed.
In the report launched on Tuesday, the civic-tech organisation said that Jigawa, Ondo, and Kano States scored 90 percent, 78 percent, and 77 percent, respectively.
According to BudgIT, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), Proposed Budget, Approved Budget, and Citizens’ Budget were some of the indicators used to assess the 36 states of the federation. While the others were Budget Implementation Reports (BIR), Audit Reports, Accountant General’s Report/Financial Statements, eProcurement portal, and State Website with Fiscal Repository.
Other states that joined them in the top nine for the most transparent state are Adamawa, Osun, Gombe, Kwara, Oyo, and Kogi States, with 77, 76, 76, 74, 73, 72, and 71 percent, respectively, BusinessDay findings have revealed.
BudgIT said that the SFTL report is an initiative built on the recently concluded World Bank’s State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme, a programme designed to promote and facilitate fiscal transparency and accountability in public resource management.
The SFTL was designed using the World Bank-developed SFTAS (States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability) template and methodology. A four-year programme aimed at providing support to governments and helping them meet their objectives.
A close observation of the table showed that aside from the nine states that performed creditably well, 24 states performed averagely, recording scores between 68 percent and 42 percent, with Bayelsa State taking 68 percent and Sokoto having 42 percent.
Benue State, on the other hand, was the least performing state, as a 28 percent score reflected its abysmal performance, especially after it recorded zero on the MTEF, proposed budget, citizen budget, ePocurement portal, and State Website with Fiscal Data Repository.
On Jigawa’s performance, BudgIT said, “The state’s MTEF document was comprehensive and timely, as well as its citizens’ budget. The state’s website and e-procurement portal had all the required information and were easily navigated.
“Although the approved budget met all the criteria for comprehensiveness, it was not published on time. The proposed budget document was also different from the standard methodology that was set for appraisal and, hence, did not meet the set criteria. The citizens’ budget was timely but not fully comprehensive.”
The tech company praised Ondo State for its comprehensive and timely published MTEF document. However, on the other criteria, BudgIT was less excited about its performance, saying, “Its approved budget was comprehensive but not timely, but the reverse was the case for its citizens’ budget and BIR, which were timely but not comprehensive. The e-procurement portal was navigable, comprehensive, and accessible, as well as the state’s website. They however, had no information on their proposed budget.”
Kano State, which came in third, passed the set criteria on comprehensiveness, availability, and timeliness on the MTEF and eProcurement portal, BudgIT stated.
“Its state website with fiscal data repository is almost comprehensive, but what the state failed to provide is access to its proposed budget. The BIR for the reviewed quarter was almost comprehensive and timely,” it added.
Despite highly commercial states such as Lagos and Rivers States failing to make the list in the top nine, BudgIT praised Lagos for having the best and most comprehensive e-procurement portal.
It said, “Although Lagos State had the best and most comprehensive e-procurement portal in the period under review, its state website was not fully comprehensive, nor was its approved budget. Lagos had no published record on its MTEF and proposed budget. The state’s citizens’ budget and BIR were not published in good time, neither were they fully comprehensive.”
A closer look at the report showed, as evident in the BudgIT statement, that “Rivers State had no published information on its MTEF, proposed budget, or citizens’ budget during the period under review.
“The state’s website was down at the time. However, the state provided a comprehensive (but not timely) approved budget, but the BIR was not fully comprehensive. The e-procurement portal was navigable and accessible.”
For the least-performing state, Benue State, BudgIT said that the state had a comprehensive but not timely approved Budget. The state had the quarterly BIR available, though it was neither timely nor comprehensive. The e-procurement portal was not fully comprehensive but accessible.
It said, “There’s no available information on its MTEF, proposed budget,citizens’ budget, nor did it have a functional website. It was the poorest performing state this period.”
According to Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, BudgIT’s Ag. Lead for Open Government and Institutional Partnership, upholding the gains of the World Bank’s State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme will help governments gain the trust of their people, attract foreign investment, support economic plans, and upscale the well-being of citizens.
BudgIT said that through this SFTL report it is notifying all state governments, civil society organisations, development partners, media, and the general public of the need for all subnational governments to enable functional and up-to-date state websites that will help facilitate the extraction of required information for the assessment.