By Benson Ezugwu
Calabar, Jan. 15, 2021 The Cross River government says it has achieved a total of 20.4 million dollars in grants from the World Bank-funded States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong, disclosed this on Friday in Calabar, during a press briefing.
He said that the state was able to achieve the milestone due to her excellent performance in the implementation of the SFTAS programme.
“The assessment exercise, conducted in Sept. 2020 by the Independent Verification Assessors from the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, showed that we achieved six disbursement linked indicators (DLIs) out of the nine applicable for 2019 and 100 percent for 2020 additional financing,” Ekpenyong said.
According to him, the report indicates that the state has strengthened its internally-generated revenue (IGR) collection; implemented biometric verification to reduce payroll fraud and improved its procurement practices for increased transparency.
“The report also indicates that the state has strengthened its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt and instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year,” he said.
Ekpenyong said that the money would be used to finance the 2021 budget of the state, adding that the grant covered $20.4 million for 2019 and $10 million for 2020 fiscal years.
He lauded the state’s SFTAS team as well as Gov. Ben Ayade for making this possible.
The commissioner said the state’s success was a confirmation of the present administration’s commitment to transparency and fiscal performance in governance.
Naija247news reports that SFTAS programme is a product of mutual agreement between the Federal Government and the World Bank, meant to strengthen the fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability in states.
It is a four-year programme that runs from 2018 to 2022, with a total package of $750 million.
By Benson Ezugwu