By Francis Ogwo
Another round of performance-based grants to states in the sum of N123.348bn ($324.6m) has been distributed to states by the Federal Government under its States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results.
This was made public on Wednesday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, in a statement signed by Mr. Hassan Dodo, the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations in Abuja.
The Minister noted that the disbursement was as a fallout of results by the states in the just concluded 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA).
The assessment was carried out by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation (OAuGF) as the Independent Verification Agent (IVA) and approved by the Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Ahmed states that the disbursement included N91.048 billion (USD239.6 million) of performance-based grants for the 2019 APA results achieved by 32 eligible states across various Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) covering fiscal transparency, accountability, expenditure efficiency, revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.
Details from the disbursement showed that grants were given to states in accordance to the number of results achieved. This was with Sokoto State receiving the highest amount of N6.612billion while Kano State got the lowest amount of N1.710billion.
The Minister however spoke on states excluded and why.
In her words: “Bayelsa, Imo, Rivers and Zamfara States got zero allocation due to their inability to meet the 2019 eligibility criteria which required States to publish online approved annual budgets and audited financial statements within a specific timeframe,” she noted.
Speaking further, the Minister stated that the 2019 APA results were a significant improvement on the 2018 APA results where the total performance-based grants of N43.416 billion (USD120.6 million) were received by 24 eligible states, demonstrating the substantive progress States have made on fiscal reforms.
She added that the second part of the disbursement involved a new COVID-19 response DLI: The implementation of a tax compliance relief programme for individual tax payers and businesses by States by 30 September 2020 where 34 out of 36 States (only Anambra and Zamfara States were excluded) were able to achieve the results for this new DLI for the total of N32.3 billion (USD 85 million) of grants.
The government program supported by SFTAS focuses on strengthening the fiscal sustainability, transparency and accountability of Nigerian states. The government program comprised of the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) actions to be implemented by state governments; and the Nigerian OGP National Action Plan (NAP) actions at the state-level.
While both programs had initial time-frames for states to implement the actions, most of the actions are meant to be implemented in a sustained/ongoing manner. It is well recognized by stakeholders that the full implementation of the FSP and OGP program across all states will take at least 4-5 years.