USAID commits $72m to boost delivery of education, health services, others to Nigerians

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is committing $72 million to support selected states deliver improved services particularly in primary health care, education,  Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services to their citizens.

This agency said it will achieve this goal through its State Accountability,  Transparency and Effectiveness (State2state) activity, which will last for a period of five years, 2020-2025.

John Onyeukwu, Deputy Chief of Party, USAID State2State activity explained the project with six beneficiary states is aimed at increasing efficiency of  national government corporations, strengthen governance system with focus on public finance and management related to the delivery of services in the above listed key sectors .

He added that the project is expected to ensure that government remains responsive to citizens needs and capacity to manage conflict through prevention, mitigation and reconciliation.

He stated this at the Draft schedule for the World Bank’s  State  Fiscal Transparency,  Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) assessment workshop organised by USAID in Abuja.

“Our work is to basically provide capacity  for states to be able to do better, and provide better services for citizens. 

We will help states free up resources and use the funds to build schools, standardise health care and help provide support for WASH. These are areas that once you work on, you will lift people out of poverty, he said.

Onyeukwu explained that this support provided to states comes amid dwindling resources, insecurity and increasing social challenges in the country.

He listed the beneficiary states to include, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi,  Gombe, Adamawa, Bauchi and Sokoto.

Onyeukwu further informed that the State2state activity is working to support these states prepare for the next SFTAS process.

He explained that SFTAS is a world bank programme aimed at helping states  institutionalize their processes especially their financial management processes through the provision of grants.

He said, “Some states have been able to make as much as $12 million from it and that’s a lot of money and can impact on citizens. Every state in  Nigeria participates in the SFTAS programme every year. What states receive depends on their performance. Some states have received as much as $13 million, some have relied as low as $1 million depending on states performance on.

Onyeukwu stated that SFTAS has impacted tremendously on states,  and one of such is helping them improve their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“Every state is increasing their IGR, Ebonyi said they now make N800 million to N1.1 billion. States you think are poor and educationally disadvantaged have done creditably well on improving their public finance management.

Chinese Eze, a consultant at the event said the SFTAS has an envelope of over $750 million designed to support states implement two major government-led reform initiatives from 2018 – 2021.

He said the initiatives are, the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan and Open Governorship Partnership agenda.

He said while $700M is to motivate and reward states for successfully implementing reforms, $50M is for capacity building to strengthen states ability to implement the reforms.

Bello Abubakar, the state focal person, SFTAS Adamawa state, said the state got a $3 million grant from the SFTAS in 2018, got $6.1 million in 2019 and $10M.

Abubakar said the programme has helped the state enthrone transparency,  and accountability in governance through active citizens participation.

“Right from the process of budgeting citizens are involved up to the award of contracts and project execution.  Citizens are involved in the budgeting circle and it has helped in creating trust between government and citizens”, he said.