Cross River Secures $20.4m Grant in World Bank Funded SFTAS Programme
Cross River State Government says the implementation of its 2021 budget will be assisted by the $20.4million recently secured in grants from the World Bank funded SFTAS programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria
SFTAS is State’s Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability, a product of mutual agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank designed to strengthen the fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability in Nigerian states as a way of improving their revenue base and increasing fiscal efficiency in public expenditure and reducing debt overhang.
The Commissioner for Finance in Cross River State, Mr. Asuquo Ekpeyong Jnr made the disclosure in a press briefing on Friday in Calabar organized to announce the achievement of the state government in SFTAS.
He disclosed “that Cross River State government has achieved a total of $20.4milliom in grant from the World Bank funded SFTAS programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
He said the state met the eligibility criteria for the 2019 programme and was accordingly pre-qualified for the detailed annual performance assessment of all qualified Nigerian states under the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
He explained that “the assessment exercise which was conducted in September 2020 by the Independent Verification Assessors (IVA) from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation and JFR Consulting, showed that Cross River State achieved 6 Disbursement Linked Indicator (DLRs) out of 9 applicable DLRs for 2019, and 3 DLRs out of 3DLRs, i.e 100% for the 2020 additional financing.”
The Commissioner said that the report noted that Cross River State has strengthened its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, implemented biometric verification to reduce Payroll fraud, improved its procurement practices for increased transparency, strengthened its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt sustainability and instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year.
SFTAS is a four year programme that runs from 2018 to 2022, with a budget size of $750million, the Commissioner said and commended the members of the SFTAS state Steering Committee for their untiring efforts in bringing the state machinery up to speed towards achieving resounding success in the programme.
According to the Commissioner, the independent verification success is a confirmation of the Ayade led administration’s commitment to transparency and fiscal performance.
He further disclosed that the state government will soon review and extend the COVID-19 pandemic relief package it granted last year because the initial expectation that the pandemic would have been abated by now has not come to past.