Through Chinelo Obogo
the The World Bank has commended the Kogi State Government for its 2020 audited financial statements, describing the financial report as a standard of transparency and accountability in the public sector.
The bank gave the praise in a letter to the Accountant General of Kogi State, dated November 21, 2021.
The letter, received by the State Accountant General on November 25, was signed by Deborah Hannah Isser, Team Leader, States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Program, Country Office of Nigeria, West and Central Africa region.
The letter was titled “Nigeria: Review of Kogi State Audited Financial Statements for the Year Ended 31 December 2020 for State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability”.
The SFTAS is a $750 million program aimed at rewarding states that meet one or all of nine indicators that demonstrate improvements in fiscal transparency, accountability, and sustainability.
The nine indicators are an offshoot of the federal government’s previous fiscal sustainability plan, in which states were to be rewarded for meeting up to 22 goals.
The World Bank had supported the federal government in pushing states to properly achieve the 22-point fiscal sustainability plan, which has now been redesigned as nine disbursement-linked indicators under the SFTAS.
The criteria to be achieved are the improvement of financial reports and the reliability of the budget; greater openness and citizen engagement in the budget process; improvement of cash management and reduction of revenue losses thanks to the establishment of the Single Account of the Public Treasury (CUT); strengthening the collection of internally generated revenue (RGI); biometric registration and bank verification number (BVN) used to reduce payroll fraud.
Others are improved procurement practices for increased transparency and value for money; strengthening public debt management and fiscal accountability framework; improved clearance/reduction of stock of domestic expenditure arrears; and improving debt sustainability.
The SFTAS program is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to further improve transparency and accountability in the use of public resources through the implementation of the Open Government Partnership, which Nigeria signed in July 2016.
The World Bank, in its letter to the Kogi State Government, commended the State for preparing its audited financial statements in accordance with the accrual basis of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
He said, “We note that the audited financial statements of Kogi State for the financial year ended 31st December 2020 have been uploaded to the State website in accordance with the SFTAS eligibility criteria for the financial year 21.
“The financial statements have been prepared on an IPSAS accrual basis and the State Auditor General has issued an audit certificate with an unqualified (unqualified) audit opinion on the financial statement to General Purpose (GPFS) and a special opinion on the SFTAS program expenditure framework during the period.
“The bank has reviewed the audited financial statements and found them acceptable for the fiduciary assurance requirements of the SFTAS program.”
The World Bank’s letter comes about four months after it issued a letter commending Governor Yahaya Bello for his good leadership and repayment of a $4.63 million surplus under the Erosion Management Project and of Nigeria’s Watersheds (NEWMAP).
In the letter of appreciation, titled “Refund of Surplus Project Funds to the World Bank under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) (IDA Credits: 62770, 62780)”, signed by its Regional Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, the Bretton The Woods Institution claimed that Bello’s action allowed the organization to expand its projects to other states facing shortfall funds and the closing date of its projects.