The Cross River State government has achieved a total of $20.4 million in grants from the World Bank funded States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme of the Federal Government.
Asuquo Ekpenyong, the state Commissioner for Finance, revealed this at a press briefing on Friday.
He stated that the state met the eligibility criteria for the 2019 programme and was pre-qualified for the detailed annual performance assessment of all qualified states under the SFTAS programme.
The assessment exercise, which was conducted in September 2020 by the Independent Verification Assessors (IVA) from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation and JFR Consulting, showed that Cross River achieved six Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLRs), out of nine applicable DLRs for 2019, and three out of three DLRs, i.e 100% for the 2020 additional financing.
The Commissioner said that the report noted that Cross River has strengthened its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, implemented biometric verification to reduce Payroll fraud, improved its procurement practices for increased transparency, strengthened its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt sustainability and instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year.
Ekpenyong commended the members of the SFTAS state Steering Committee for their untiring efforts in bringing the state machinery up to speed towards achieving resounding success in the programme. The Steering Committee comprises of the Ministry of Finance, Internal Revenue Service, Office of Accountant General, Bureau of Due Process, Debt Management Department, and Auditor General’s Office.
He further stated that, “the independent verification success is a confirmation of the Ayade led administration’s commitment to transparency and fiscal performance”.
The SFTAS programme is a product of mutual agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank, designed to strengthen the fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability in Nigerian states as a way of improving their revenue base, increasing fiscal efficiency in public expenditure and reducing debt overhang.
It’s a four year programme that runs from 2018 to 2022, with a budget size of $750 million.