Federal Government has disbursed N471.9 billion as grant to States under the $1.5 billion World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for the results achieved following various annual assessments carried out by the Independent Verification Agents.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this in Abuja during the launch of States Charter to sustain Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Reforms (SFTAS), described the initiative as a milestone in the implementation and sustenance of reforms in Public Finance Management in Nigeria.
The Minister who noted that the implementation of fiscal transparency and accountability reforms in the conduct of Government business became necessary, commended the State Governments for the demonstrable high level of ownership, active peer learning and peer competition which culminated in very strong performance by most States in all the Key Results Areas of the SFTAS Programme which include increasing fiscal transparency and accountability; strengthening domestic revenue mobilisation; increasing efficiency in public expenditure and strengthening debt transparency and sustainability.
Indeed, the very high level of political visibility and implementation structures created across the 36 states contributed largely to the successful implementation of the Programme over the period 2018 to 2022.
“As we gather this afternoon for the launch of the Charter, we are pleased to note that the Programme has achieved its objectives and made the following impactful deliverables: instilled a common set of fiscal behavior and standards and facilitated the widespread adoption of good practices in fiscal and public financial management across the States while respecting their fiscal autonomy through preparation of Citizen -based Budgets, timely preparation and publication of Annual Budget and Audited Financial Statement as well as adoption of National Charts of Account.
“To date, 28 States have passed their Audit Law in line with internationally acceptable standards and all the 36 States have passed their 2020 Audited Financial Statements before 31 July, 2021.
“Also, 32 States prepared and published Local Governments’ Audited Financial Statements (AFSS) for FY2018, FY2019 and FY2020 including all allocations and actual receipts of State-Local Government Joint Account Allocation Committee (SLJAAC) transfers for each LG.
“It has strengthened fiscal transparency by improving overall budget transparency and accountability to help build trust in government, enhance the monitoring of fiscal risks and improve accountability in public resource management. All the 36 States prepared Year 2022 budget in line with the National Charts of Account.
“Improved accountability through the deployment of measures such as BVN in the Payroll Systems and implementation of Treasury Single Accounts to minimize leakages in the system and promote efficiency in resource management.
“To date, 31 States have linked BVN to payroll while 13 have adopted the Treasury Single Account. Also, 30 States had conducted biometric registration of at least 90% of their civil servants and pensioners on the payroll and addressed identified payroll fraud.
“Also, many states have been able to increase their IGR significantly by reducing IGR leakages through the implementation of State-level Treasury Single Account (TSA), and intensifying efforts in IGR collection.
“Twenty-seven States passed their Consolidated State Revenue Code (CSRC) by 2020 and 18 States were able to record a nominal IGR collection in 2020 that was equal to or higher than their 2019 nominal IGR collection. In addition, 20 States have shown very strong commitment in establishing institutional arrangements focussed on laying foundation for State Property taxation which is a significant potential revenue source.
“To date, 29 States have passed Public Procurement Laws and all 36 went ‘live’ on an e-procurement platform by 31 December 2021. This will improve procurement practices to enhance value for money and reduce opportunities for corruption and misuse of public resources, thereby increasing efficiency of public expenditure.