States receive N471.9b under World Bank-backed States SFTAS Fund – FG – The Sun Nigeria – Daily Sun | Vette Leader

By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, ​​Abuja

The federal government announced on Wednesday that a total of N471.9 billion had been disbursed to states from the World Bank-backed $1.5 billion Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Government Sustainability (SFTAS) Program for Results (PforR). .

Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Zainab Ahmed made the disclosure at the launch of the State Charter on Upholding Reforms for Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability at the State House Conference Center in Abuja.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, Aliyu Ahmed, she

noted that all 36 states of the federation not only benefit from the tax reforms from the grants, but also have fully domesticated the tax reforms in their public financial management system through the adoption of appropriate processes and practices as well as legal and regulatory frameworks that are already yielding positive results.

The launch of the State Charter aimed to uphold the ideals of fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability through the Nigeria Governors Forum and also marked a milestone in the implementation and maintenance of public financial management reforms in Nigeria.

She commended President Muhammadu Buhari for introducing commendable and lasting reforms in public finance management, including the World Bank-backed States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Outcomes Program.

According to her, state governments have demonstrated a high level of ownership, active peer learning and peer competition, resulting in very strong performance by most states in all key outcome areas of the SFTAS program, including increasing tax transparency and accountability ; strengthen domestic revenue mobilization; Increasing efficiency in public spending and increasing transparency and debt sustainability.

“Indeed, the very high level of political visibility and the implementation structures created in the 36 states have contributed significantly to the successful implementation of the program in the period 2018-2022.

“The program established tax behavior and standards and facilitated the widespread adoption of best practices in tax and public finance management across the states, while respecting their fiscal autonomy through participatory budgeting, timely preparation and publication of the annual budget and audited financial statements and adoption of national charts of accounts.

“To date, 28 states have adopted their auditing law in accordance with internationally acceptable standards, and all 36 states have adopted their 2020 audited financial statements before July 31, 2021.

“Additionally, 32 states prepared and published Local Government Audited Financial Statements (AFSS) for fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020, including all allocations and actual income of Joint Account Allocation Committee (SLJAAC) state-to-local transfers for each LG.”

Ahmed further announced that the program has also strengthened tax transparency by improving overall budgetary transparency and accountability to build trust in government, improve oversight of tax risks and increase accountability in the management of public resources, adding that “all 36 states have prepared the budget for 2022 in line with national charts of accounts”

Other program achievements include: Accountability through the use of measures such as BVN in payroll systems and the implementation of individual treasury accounts to minimize system leaks and promote resource management efficiencies.

She said: “To date, 31 states have linked BVN to payroll, while thirteen (13) have implemented Treasury Single Account. In addition, 30 states had biometriced at least 90% of their civil servants and retirees on the payroll and acted on identified payroll fraud.

“Also, many states have significantly increased their IGR by reducing IGR leakage through the implementation of a state-level single account (TSA) and intensified efforts to collect IGR.”

According to the Secretary, “27 states have enacted their Consolidated State Revenue Code (CSRC) by 2020 and 18 states had a nominal 2020 IGR revenue equal to or greater than their 2019 nominal IGR revenue. In addition, twenty (20) states have shown a very strong commitment to establishing institutional arrangements focused on providing the basis for taxing state property, which represents a significant potential source of revenue.

“To date, twenty-nine (29) states have passed government procurement legislation and all 36 have gone live on an e-procurement platform by December 31, 2021. Misuse of public funds, increasing the efficiency of public spending.

“It has strengthened fiscal sustainability through increased spending efficiency and debt sustainability to prevent further fiscal crises and expand fiscal space for productive spending aimed at supporting growth and the delivery of public services. Currently, thirty-three (33) states have enacted sovereign debt laws.”

Ahmed explained that the implementation of indicators responsive to COVID-19 freed resources for an effective response to COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic.

“All 36 states had passed credible, fiscally responsible, COVID-19 responsive revised state budgets for 2020 that significantly revised revenue in line with realistic projections, reduced non-essential overheads and capital expenditures with a view to protecting social spending, significantly reducing national strengthened response to COVID-19 and coordinated efforts at the federal and state levels.

“It has successfully promoted peer learning and competition between states and further improved the implementation of good governance.

The Minister commended NGF Chair and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal and her Edo State counterpart, Governor Godwin Obaseki, who chairs the SFTAS Committee of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

“The trio have indeed played an important role in institutionalizing the SFTAS program, not just in their states where they have excelled, but in all states of the federation. The speedy adoption of this charter is a great testament to their tireless efforts to enshrine SFTAS ideals in state-level government processes.”

The Minister also urged States to continue to uphold the ideals of SFTAS enshrined in the Charter and to build on the achievements already made.

For his part, the Permanent Secretary noted that the SFTAS was able to help states pay salaries without an allocation from the federal government.

“Well, you know, if you remember the story, how even SFTAS was introduced in 2015 because the state government was struggling to pay salaries.

“So the federal government had to keep stepping in to save them. But then the federal government resigned, it couldn’t issue these interventions or help the states without putting them through a disciplinary process in terms of how they’re going to manage their finances, or they’re going to make their states viable.

“So we contacted the World Bank. And then we packaged the SFTAS program to reward good behavior. Introducing good systems in terms of tax transparency, procurement and increasing internally generated revenue (IGR).

“So that in the future, at the end of the interventions, the states themselves will become sustainable”

“At the meeting we just had, the governors launched their charter, which is a commitment to ensure they are financially sustainable at the end of this intervention. And from what I’ve seen in terms of fiscal anchors being put in place, I think we’re on our way there.”

Director General (DG), Debt Management Office (DMO), Patience Oniha noted that “The good thing is that sometime in 2016 a framework was jointly adopted by the state and federal governments called fiscal sustainability Framework for subnationals to introduce a set of measures and carry out some activities that will improve public finance management.

“So we have a law on government procurement, as you’ve heard that precise procurement, which is spending, is a big part of spending. We now know that the states and indeed these laws, so there is compliance that goes to the state, to a particular country and to the state assembly as needed. So these laws are there. They also noted if I may speak in return today, more of them issued their own. Some colleagues, public finance, management, know some public debt management, business, we have another. So there are things where the business goes through a process, not a person. Finance I think we should admit, as we all know, that the fiscal position can be better at all levels, it is not as robust as you would like it to be. So it’s not about what is or isn’t because there are no processes or laws. And I find that first of all very relevant to the fact that the state governments are part of the sifter’s part in order to generate income, they generate sufficient income that is only compensated to be able to cover the expenses including salary.

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria Shubham Chaudhuri announced that the program has resulted in “states being much more open and transparent about their budgets, what they spend and how they can get more internally generated revenue IGR hold on to.” run the state governments and deliver dividends to the citizens of the state.

“I think in the future we’re going to see these governors, the Excellencies just committed to maintaining many of the same practices, being held accountable, being transparent about what they spend, about procurement and relying on e-procurement Systems that publish all this information. But to do that, the media, other stakeholders and civil society really need to make a collective effort to ensure that SFTAS has started to move forward.”

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