States get N471.9bn from World Bank-assisted SFTAS fund – Ahmed

The Federal Government has so far disbursed N471.9 billion from the $1.5 billion World Bank-assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results (PforR), Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, said on Wednesday.

Ahmed disclosed this at the launch of the states’ charter to sustain fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability reforms, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

She noted that beyond benefitting from the grants, all 36 states in the federation have fully domesticated the fiscal reforms in their public financial management system through the adoption of appropriate processes and practices, legal and regulatory frameworks which are already yielding positive outcomes.

The launch of the states’ charter was aimed at sustaining the ideals of fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and also marked a milestone in the implementation and sustenance of reforms in public finance management in Nigeria.

The minister commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for introducing laudable and enduring reforms in the public finance management among which is the World Bank-assisted SFTAS programme for results.

Ahmed also noted that the state governments have demonstrated high level of ownership, active peer learning and peer competition which culminated in very strong performance by most states in all the Key results areas of the SFTAS programme which include increasing fiscal transparency and accountability, strengthening of domestic revenue mobilisation, increasing efficiency in public expenditure and strengthening debt transparency and sustainability.

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“Indeed, the very high level of political visibility and implementation structures created across the 36 States contributed largely to the successful implementation of the Programme over the period 2018 to 2022.

The programme has instilled fiscal behaviour and standards and facilitated the widespread adoption of good practices in fiscal and public financial management across the states while respecting their fiscal autonomy through the preparation of citizen-based budgets, timely preparation and publication of annual budget and audited financial statements as well as the adoption of national charts of account.

“To date, 28 states have passed their audit law in line with internationally acceptable standards and all 36 states have passed their 2020 audited financial statements before July 31, 2021.

“Also, 32 states prepared and published Local Governments’ Audited Financial Statements (AFSS) for FY2018, FY2019 and FY2020 including all allocations and actual receipts of State-Local Government Joint Account Allocation Committee (SLJAAC) transfers for each local government.

The minister said the programme has also strengthened fiscal transparency by improving overall budget transparency and accountability to help build trust in government, enhance the monitoring of fiscal risks and improve accountability in public resource management, adding that “All the 36 states prepared year 2022 budget in line with the national charts of account”

Other successes recorded by the programme include accountability through the deployment of measures such as BVN in the payroll systems and implementation of Treasury Single Accounts (TSA) to minimise leakages in the system and promote efficiency in resource management,” the minister said.

The minister commended the chairman of the Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, and their Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki who chairs the NGF SFTAS committee.

“The trio have indeed played major roles in institutionalising the SFTAS programme not only in their states where they recorded outstanding achievements but in all the states of the federation. The speedy adoption of this charter bears great testimony to their unrelenting efforts in entrenching SFTAS ideals in government processes at the state level,” she added.

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