States get budget transparency condition to access World Bank’s $750m

99

The sum is tied to the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme designed to strengthen states Fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability.

Its primary goals are to help each state improve its revenue base, fiscal efficiency in public expenditure and reduce the debt burden.

All the 36 states bought into the program in 2018.  Some of them are already drawing from the facility which serves as an incentive to get the states to adopt accountability and fiscal efficiency.

The first condition for states to benefit from the $750 million IDA facility in 2022, is that they  must achieve Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) by the end of this year.

Others are online publications of citizens inputs in their 2022 budgets. The publication must have functional online feedback mechanisms and contain the approved 2021 budget published online by the end of last April.

A workshop is, however, underway to help the states learn how to develop their individual CAR. It is being planned by the Federal Government through the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in collaboration with  the World Bank

The states are also required to have their individual Citizens Accountability Reports (CAR) based on 2020 audited financial statements/reports published online by September 30, 2021.

The states  are expected to use “ the template developed by the OGP secretariat in collaboration with FCDO/PERL, and the various processes involved in achieving the DLRs as well as collect information from the participants on how to make the template more user-friendly.”

These disclosures were made in Abuja yesterday by the National Programme Coordinator of SFTAS, Mr. Stephen Okon.

Okon urged the  states to learn how to develop their individual CARs and publish their reports on their websites before the  September 30, 2021 deadline.

This, he said, “led to the development of the ‘Citizens Accountability Report’ (CAR) Template. The importance of the CAR is accentuated by established correlation between democratic cum good governance and accountability, which as a matter of fact increases the trustworthiness and legitimacy of government in the eye of the people, the governed”.

“The CAR is designed as an SFTAS DLI with incentives to enable the state governments to report the utilization of public funds in the last completed fiscal year in a manner that could be digested by the citizens and used to engage the government for improved results” he explained.

He said “the idea behind the CAR is to present the audited financial statement and fiscal performance, in a way that is understandable to the public by condensing the information contained in the ‘Auditor General’s Report, highlighting the key issues that the citizens would be interested in, and seamlessly creating an opportunity for informed engagement and participation.”

Source: The Nation.