Uzodimma govt has corrected anomaly
Contentious SFTAS fund was for 2019
Imo met condition for 2020, to be paid next year
Imo State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Chuck Chuckmeka, has said that the contentious federal government of Nigeria and World Bank “State Fiscal Transparency and Accountability (SFTAS) fund which the Uzodimma-led government was being accused of not meeting criteria was for the period of 2019 when the present government was not in power.
The Finance Commissioner spoke while briefing newsmen at the Government House, Owerri ,against the backdrop of reports that financial recklessness of the present government cost the state the SFTAS fund.
Mr. Chuckmeka recalled that the state had lost out during the administrations of Okorocha and Ihedioha in 2018 and 2019 respectively, having not met the eligibility criteria for the funding.
“The SFTAS fund we are talking about is for 2019, which Imo didn’t qualify for. We weren’t there then. There are certain criteria to meet in order to be eligible for the funding.
“The two critical criteria were the financial statement of 2018 needed to be finished and downloaded to the state website by September 30th of the following year, in this case September 30, 2019 , unfortunately it was not done so the state lost eligibility in 2019.”
The commissioner disclosed that the good news is that in 2020, the Uzodimma administration came to power and met the eligibility criteria by publishing the financial statements timely and uploaded the budget timely
He said that the state is one of the few states to have met the eligibility criteria for the 2020 edition of the SFTAS fund, in addition to having already received other allocations based on COVID-19 compliant budgetary provisions
“So by this time next year when the 2020 SFTAS will be paid, the whole world will know we benefited because we met the eligibility criteria for it.” he said.
He further disclosed that Imo state benefitted from what he called New SFTAS requirement contingent with the COVID-19 compliant budgetary provisions for $10m out of which the state has got the first $5m, the second $2.5m and the final $2.5m will be received in the next couple of weeks.
Chukmeka clarified that SFTAS was a programme of the World Bank and Federal Government that was started in 2018, aimed at ensuring that every state is fiscally responsible, transparent in governance and accountable to its people in a sustained manner over a period of time.