By Emma Ujah

Abuja—The federal government has channelled $1.5 billion to state governments through the States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability, SFTAS, Programme for results.

The SFTAS National Programme Coordinator, NPC, Mr. Stephen Okon, disclosed this at a media sensitization workshop, in Abuja, at the weekend.

The Federal Government took a concessional loan of US$750 million from the World Bank with a view to the sustained implementation of fiscal reform at the sub-national level over a period of four years (2018-2022).

SFTAS is a World Bank-assisted Programme for Results (PforR), with a system of performance-based grants to states, conditional upon meeting certain criteria and achieving some specified indicators.

It was approved by the World Bank in June 2018 and became effective in May 2019.“The NPC explained that the original $750 million loan comprised two components: the performance-based grants from Federal Government to States ($700 million) for states achieving the Annual Eligibility Criteria and the Disbursement Linked Indicators, DLIs, i.e. the Program results.

He added that the DLIs were based on the critical reforms in the 22-point (Fiscal Stability Plan (FSP) and the Open Government Programme, OGP, commitments.

According to him, “it included the technical assistance ($50 million) to states to enable them achieve the DLIs and ensure no state was left behind.

“However, to receive performance-based grants, states have to achieve actual results, which are independently verified by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and an external audit firm.”

Additional financing of $ 750 million to expand the Program to support states to implement the NEC COVID-19 Plan in response to COVID-19 was approved by the World Bank Board in December 2020.

The programme was aimed at providing support for achieving reform actions set out in the FSP and the Nigeria (OGP) National Action Plan towards promoting fiscal transparency and accountability, strengthening domestic revenue mobilization, increasing efficiency in public expenditure, strengthening debt transparency and sustainability as well as enhancing COVID-19 fiscal response in  states.

“On a general note, the World Bank assisstance was intended to help build trust in government, enhance the monitoring of fiscal risks and facilitate accountability in public resource management, thereby reducing the opportunities for corruption and misuse of public resources.

Deliverables

Mr. Okon said the disbursements had resulted in “increased fiscal transparency and accountability through improved quality, timeliness and transparency of atate annual budget, including public consultation /citizen engagement towards enhancing budget credibility.

“Timely preparation and publication of annual state audited financial statements and quarterly implementation reports, as well as enhanced accountability of funds in COVID-19 response and resilient recovery phases,” he said.

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