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SFTAS: FG places condition on World Bank’s $1.5bn grant

The Federal Government may tie next disbursement of grants under States’ Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) due for collection by state governments to domestication of National Chart of Account (NCoA).

 

NCoA provides a standard template approved by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to be domesticated by all levels of government for the purposes of planning, budgeting, accounting, and reporting of their financial transactions. SFTAS, a $1.5 billion Federal Government’s programme, supported by the World Bank, aims to strengthen fiscal governance at the state level.

 

A statement issued yesterday in Abuja by Ibrahim Mohammed, Communication Specialist, SFTAS Programme Coordination, quoted Mr. Stephen Okon, the National Programme Coordinator of the SFTAS as saying that the programme for results 2020 Annual Performance Assessment (APA) and COVID 19 related Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) was due in 2021. He stated this while declaring open a one-day NCoA sensitization workshop organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) for the Independent Verification Agent (IVA). The IVA is the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF). According to him, upon full adoption, citizens will be able to track across all states, budget line items by ministries, departments and agencies, economic transaction, fund type, function, programme and location. He submitted that “the adoption of National Chart of Accounts (NCoA) by state governments will strengthen the country’s national accounting and budget monitoring; promoting greater transparency and accountability at all levels of government.”

 

The coordinator observed that while some states had properly domesticated the NCoA in the past, many still struggle to accurately report according to the set requirements.

 

To assist states with the domestication process, the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning, in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), had provided technical assistance in the form of advisory and capacity building training for budget officials across the 36 states.

 

The exercise, which began with a series of sensitisation workshops in October 2020, was succeeded by hands-on technical budget walk-through workshops that ran till the end of January 2021.

 

This was supported by the dissemination of carefully designed reporting templates and self-paced video tutorials on NCoA domestication.

 

Speaking in the same vein, the Director General, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Mr. Asishana Okauru, explained that “the objective of the collaboration is to ensure that no state is left behind. Every state should get the support it requires to deliver on the agreed reforms.”

 

The NGF is one of the implementing partners contracted by the SFTAS Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) of the Federal Ministry of Finance,

 

Budget and National Planning to deliver capacity building activities that will assist the states to domesticate necessary reforms of the SFTAS programme and meet the eligibility criteria and Does requirements.

 

Okauru announced that, at the moment, 36 states were adjudged to have met the eligibility criterion of preparing their FY’19 audited financial statements in accordance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards and published same online by August 31, 2020.

 

However, preparing the 2021 budget in line with NCoA and publishing it online remains the eligibility requirement for the 36 states to qualify for performancebased grants under the States’ Fiscal Transparency,

 

Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) 2020 Annual Performance Assessment (APA) and for its COVID-19 related DLIs due in 2021.

 

He adds that in the coming months, the agents will be verifying states’ compliance with the NCoA requirement for the FY’21 budget and the 2020 SFTAS eligibility criteria.

 

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