BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Cross River state government has achieved a total of $20.4 million dollars in grants from the World Bank funded (SFTAS) programme of the Federal government.
This feat was announced to newsmen in Calabar by the State Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr.
According to him, “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 States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
He said that “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 state achieved Six Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLRs), out of nine applicable DLRs for 2019, and Three DLRs out of 3DLRs, i.e 100% for the 2020 additional finances”.
Ekpenyong further revealed that the report noted that Cross River state has strengthened its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), 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.
He used the opportunity to 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 committee comprises, 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 Àyade 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 strengthent 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.
The exercise is a four year programme that runs from 2018 to 2022, with a budget size of $750 million dollars.