By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Federal Government has obtained a $750 million World Bank credit facility to finance the Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and sustainability programmes of 36 states of the Federation.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed who disclosed this on Tuesday, said that $700 million of the money would be to support the states through the provision of performance-based grants.
She explained that the balance of $50 million is for the financing of technical assistance to enable the States to achieve specified Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) towards qualification for the grants.
She further explained that the DLIs are derived from the already established 22-Point Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) by the Federal Government and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments.
The Minister made these remarks while formally inaugurating the National Steering Committee for the States Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results in Abuja.
According to her, the Programme was introduced in 2017 by the Federal Government in collaboration with the World Bank to strengthen Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability in the Nigerian States.
“The DLIs are derived from the already established 22-Point Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) by the Federal Government and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments.
“This is aimed at strengthening the desired fiscal reforms at the sub-national level and participation in the Programme is open to all States of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)”, Ahmed noted.
Stressing the importance of the programme to the Government, the minister enjoined all the stakeholders involved to be fully committed to ensure its success.
She said, “It is gratifying to note that the implementation of the Programme has commenced in earnest with a fully-functional Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) domiciled in the Home Finance Department, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
“This underscores the need for the National Steering Committee to be brought on board in order to support the PCU to accelerate the pace of Programme implementation.
“As you are aware, the National Steering Committee (NSC) is expected to give strategic direction to the PCU and ensure the smooth implementation of the Programme. I commend the commitment demonstrated so far by the World Bank team, the PCU, the implementing Agencies and Partners”.
According to the Minister, the key roles and responsibilities of the Committee include, to review the progress in the implementation of the Programme; the status of disbursements to States; the status of PCU’s monitoring and evaluation, communication and outreach activities, including the publication of the Annual Performance Assessment (APA) results.
Others are, to review the status of delivery of the capacity building programme across the States by implementing agencies and partners; to provide strategic guidance for the Programme; and any other activities that would facilitate the implementation of the programme.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties), in the Ministry, Mr Aliyu Ahmed, noted that the National Steering Committee (NSC) occupies a strategic position in the governance structure of the SFTAS Programme.
According to him, the Committee is the highest decision making body of the Programme, “hence its membership is being drawn from critical stakeholder institutions of the Federal and State Governments.”
He explained that the SFTAS Programme is an upgraded Government initiative towards enhancing public financial Management by promoting fiscal discipline at sub-national level, adding that its aim is to strengthen fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory”.
Members of the Committee include, Permanent Secretary, Finance, Federal Ministry of Finance, Chairman; Auditor-General of the Federation; Director-General, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO); Executive Secretary, Joint Tax Board; Administrator/CEO, Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN); Director-General, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and
Director, International Economic Relations Department (IERD), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Others included: Six State Commissioners of Finance (representing the six geopolitical zones); Director, Statistics Department of the Central Bank of
Nigeria; National Programme Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP) Secretariat, Federal Ministry of Justice; and
Director, Home Finance/National Programme Coordinator as Member/Secretary.