The Cross River State government said that it has achieved a total of $20.4m in grants from the World Bank funded SFTAS programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The commissioner for finance, Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr. disclosed this at a press briefing, last week in his office, explaining that Cross River State met the eligibility criteria for the 2019 programme and was accordingly pre-qualified for the detailed annual performance assessment of all qualified Nigerian states under the state fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
He said that 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 State achieved 6 Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLRs), out of 9 applicable DLRs for 2019, and 3 DLRs out of 3DLRs, i.e, 100% for the 2020 additional financing.
The commissioner further said that the report observed that Cross River State has strengthened its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collected, implemented biometric Verification to reduce payroll fraud, improved its procurement practices for increase 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.
Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr. Commend 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 the Ministry of Finance, Internal Revenue service, Office of Accountant General, Bureau of due process, Debt Management Department, and auditor General’s Office.
His words, “the Independent verification success is a confirmation of the Ayade led administration’s commitment of 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.
Our correspondent report that SFTAS programme it’s a Four years programme that runs 2018 to 2022, with a budget size of $750million.