November 15, (THEWILL) – The last tranche of the $1.5bn World Bank-assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme, will be disbursed to state governments in the next few weeks.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this during an event to celebrate the achievements of the SFTAS Programme.
The event was attended by the World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, and Governors of Ekiti, Edo, Jigawa, Sokoto, and Ebonyi, among others.
The four-year SFTAS Programme (2018-2022) was approved by the World Bank in June 2018 and commenced in May 2019, to enable states to imbibe fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability.
The journey to SFTAS began when the Federal Government took a concessional loan of $750 million from the World Bank, with a view to guarantee the sustained implementation of fiscal reform at the sub-national level over a period of four years (2018-2022).
The original $750m loan from the World Bank comprised two components – the performance-based grants from the federal government to states for achieving the Annual Eligibility Criteria and the Disbursement Linked Indicators, which is the programme results.
SFTAS, which seeks to encourage states to significantly improve outcomes in four key results, is designed to provide performance–based grants and technical assistance to them to implement the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan and the Open Government Partnership.
The four key areas where states are expected to significantly increase results are Fiscal Transparency and Accountability; Strengthen Domestic Revenue Mobilisation; Increase Efficiency in Public Expenditure and Strengthen Debt Sustainability.
Out of the $1.5bn released by the World Bank in two tranches of $750m each, the sum of N351.65bn had been disbursed to states that met the Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs).
The Finance Minister said that since inception, the SFTAS programme has enjoyed a high level of political visibility, adding that the initiative has continued steadily with strong performance and demonstrable high level of ownership by States and Non-state Actors.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that over the years, SFTAS has achieved its set objectives and recorded significant milestones in improved fiscal transparency and accountability; increased domestic revenue mobilisation; increased efficiency in public expenditure; and strengthened debt management in line with the already imbibed ideals.
“It is my strong belief that with the resounding success recorded, especially the wholesale adoption of the SFTAS Charter by all the 36 State Governors here present, the programme ideals already entrenched in the fiscal governance space at sub-national level would continue to enjoy a place of pride in the conduct of fiscal governance, even in the absence of any further fiscal incentives.
“I am pleased to inform you that in the next few weeks, your States will receive the last tranche of performance-based grants including the sum of N1bn withheld by the Central Bank through Naira exchange deficit, thus bringing to a close, the Performance for Results Grant even though the technical assistance component will continue to be delivered by implementing agencies and partners till June 2023, when the programme will finally wind down”, she said.
The Minister explained further that the continued support and commitment of stakeholders, particularly the legislature and Civil Societies Organisations at State level, are most needed in this last year of programme implementation to deepen ongoing reforms and build structures that would entrench the ideals of SFTAS long after the payment of performance grants had ceased.
She commended all critical Stakeholders involved in the programme implementation for their untiring efforts towards the successful implementation of the programme.