FG advises states on requirements for $1.5bn fiscal support

The Federal Government on Sunday urged states to domesticate the National Chart of Account to qualify for performance-based grants under the States’ Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability Programme.

It said the SFTAS was for results of the 2020 annual performance assessment and COVID-19 related disbursement-linked indicators due in 2021.

It said the SFTAS was a $1.5bn Federal Government program for results supported by the World Bank with the aim to strengthen fiscal governance at the state level.

The advice to states was given by the National Programme Coordinator of the SFTAS Programme, Stephen Okon while declaring open a one-day NCoA sensitization workshop organized by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum for the Independent Verification Agent.

A statement issued in Abuja by the Communication Specialist, SFTAS Programme Coordination Unit, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ibrahim Mohammed, stated that the IVA was the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.

Okon explained that the NCoA provided a standard template approved by the Federation Account Allocation Committee to be domesticated by all levels of government for the purposes of planning, budgeting, accounting and reporting of their financial transactions.

“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, program and location,” the statement read in part.

Okon was also quoted as saying, “The adoption of National Chart of Accounts by state governments will strengthen the country’s national accounting and budget monitoring, promoting greater transparency and accountability at all levels of government.”

The SFTAS coordinator observed that while some states had properly domesticated the NCoA in the past, many were still struggling 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 had provided technical assistance in the form of advisory and capacity building training for budget officials across the 36 States.

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

The Director-General, NGF, Asishana Okauru, said the governors’ forum was one of the implementing partners contracted by the SFTAS Programme Coordination Unit of the finance ministry to deliver capacity-building activities.

This, he said, would assist states to domesticate necessary reforms of the SFTAS program and meet the eligibility criteria and disbursement linked results requirements.

Okauru announced that at the moment, 36 states were adjudged to have met the eligibility criterion of preparing their FY19 audited financial statement in accordance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards and published same online by August 31 2020.

He, however, noted that preparing the 2021 budget in line with the National Chart of Accounts and publishing it online remained the eligibility requirement for the 36 states to qualify for performance-based grants under the SFTAS 2020 Annual Performance Assessment and for its COVID-19 related disbursement linked indicators due in 2021.

He added that in the coming months, the Independent Verification Agent would be verifying states’ compliance with the NCoA requirement for the financial year 2021 budget and the 2020 SFTAS eligibility criteria.

Culled from Punch News



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