12 states miss $4.5m World Bank fiscal transparency grant



The World Bank on Tuesday said 12 states missed out of its $4.5 million (N1.37 billion) State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results 2018 grant for not meeting the eligibility criteria.

Ms Yue Lee, Senior Economist and SFTAS Team Leader, World Bank Office in Nigeria, made the disclosure at the the ongoing Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) 2020 Retreat in Lagos.

She said that the Annual Performance Assessment (APA)  for 2018 would be published on the SFTAS Website which would soon become operational, while disbursement to the 24 benefiting states would  begin in March.

The SFTAS is an agreement signed between the Federal Government and the World Bank, designed to strengthen the fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability in Nigerian States.

It aims to improve their revenue base, increase fiscal efficiency in public expenditure and reduce their debts with a grant of $750 million open to the 36 states between 2018 to 2021, according to their performances.

Lee said the states which were declared ineligible for 2018 failed to publish their annual budgets and audited financial statements as stipulated by the Disbursement-Linked Indicators (DLI).

According to her, other eligibility criteria include improved budget reliability and reporting,  increased citizens engagement in the budget process and implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

She said they also include strengthened Internally Generated Revenue collection,  Biometric Registration and Bank Verification Number to reduce payroll fraud and improved procurement practices.

The economist said others were strengthening debt management, clearance of domestic expenditure arrears and improved debt sustainability.

She, however, expressed optimism that most states would meet the 2019 eligibility criteria and would therefore be able to benefit from the grant.

Also speaking,  Mr Adamu Haruna, Nasarawa State Commissioner of Finance,  commended the World Bank for initiating the programme, adding that the states would continue to put in efforts to meet the grant criteria.

“I think it is left for us to follow those things so that we are able to earn this money which is extra money for development purposes, ”  he said.  (NAN)