The federal government has so far paid out N471.9 billion in grants to states.
The grant is part of the $1.5 billion World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) program for the results obtained following various annual assessments conducted by the independent verification bodies.
Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed made the announcement at the presentation of the State Charter on SFTAS by the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) on Wednesday.
The minister, represented by undersecretary at the ministry Aliyu Ahmed, said all 36 states have fully domesticated the tax reforms in their public finance management system, apart from benefiting from the grants.
They achieved this “by putting in place appropriate processes and legal and regulatory frameworks that are already yielding positive results.”
The minister paid tribute to NGF Chairman Kayode Fayemi, Vice Chairman Aminu Tambuwal and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, who chairs the NGF SFTAS Committee.
The trio, she said, played an important role in institutionalizing the SFTAS program in their states, where they excelled, and across all states.
“The speedy passage of this charter is a great testament to their tireless efforts to enshrine SFTAS ideals in state-level government processes,” she said.
The Secretary also hoped that current state administrations and future ones would continue to uphold the ideals of SFTAS as enshrined in the charter and build on the achievements already made.
The SFTAS Charter
The state charter for the results of the SFTAS program that has been launched essentially aims to track the level of policy implementation, fiscal transparency and accountability in states.
Through the charter, governors under the NGF committed to support and participate in the annual SFTAS assessment scorecard and to maintain the coordination and implementation mechanisms for public financial management (PFM) reforms in all states.
The governors also pledged to support the incorporation and integration of courses offered in the NGF e-learning management system (LMS) with domestic continuous learning and assessment of state officials.
Other commitments by governors include supporting the sustainability of reforms aimed at increasing fiscal transparency and accountability, domestic revenue mobilization, public spending efficiency and debt sustainability; and promoting the domestication of similar PFM reforms at the local government level.
How the program is verified – DMO
For her part, Debt Management Office (DMO) Director-General Patience Oniha said that at the federal level, states are screened under the Government Procurement Act.
This, she said, will allow states not only to deliver, but also to be transparent and compliant in the way they deliver services.
She explained that “the states have enacted these laws and compliance occurs, which goes to the state board and state assemblies, as appropriate.”
“So these laws are there. Some call it public finance law, others public debt management, like we do at the federal level.”
However, she pointed out the importance for states of first generating sufficient revenues – which would complement each other and help cover expenses including salaries.
On the impact of SFTAS over the past three years, she said states have become more open and transparent about their budgets and their internally generated revenue (IGR).
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