12 govs apply for $750m World Bank’s sustainability grant

Twelve state governors have forwarded their concurrence in respect of Draft Subsidiary Grant Agreement (SGA) to the Ministry of Finance as a condition to access World Bank’s $750 million State Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability grant.

The states are Nassarawa, Kwara, Adamawa, Bauchi, Niger, Akwa Ibom, Plateau, Ekiti, Imo, Osun, Enugu and Edo.

According to information gleaned by New Telegraph, the states forwarded their SGA on the implementation of SFTAS to the ministry for processing.

The legal unit of the ministry is currently working on the draft preparatory for the states to sign the document as required before accessing performance based grant.

A memo from Home Finance Department of the ministry urging states that yet to forward theirs to do so was sighted by this medium.

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The $750 million SFTAS grant is World Bank loan to the Federal Government. Of the amount, $700 million is to be disbursed by Federal Government to states as grant, while the balance of $50 million is to be utilised as technical assistance to aid successful operation of the programme.

It was learnt that some states had expressed formal interest to participate in the SFTAS programme and had met eligible criteria for 2018, which qualified them for the grant.

Members from states requested that copy of the SGA be made available to enable them study and forward their comments to the ministry.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, recently in Abuja hinted that the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would soon access World Bank’s $750 million grant.

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Ahmed expressed optimism that states would continue with their fiscal responsibility to serve as a platform to access the loan and grant from the World Bank.

She said: “During the course of these meetings, we had the benefit of hosting the World Bank and several other opportunities, including the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

“In the course of this exercise, the Ministry of Finance had to, on instruction from the President, provide bailouts to the states because at one point, states were not able to pay salaries.”

Part of the conditions given for those bailouts, the minister explained, was fiscal responsibility plan, which needs to be implemented for the states to be qualified to access the funds that the Federal Government is giving.

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The plan, she noted, was quite successful because of improvements in the public financial management in a lot of states, some of which is evidenced in the increase in internally generated revenue and increase in the frequency of the preparation of financial statements in budgets.

This year, she said, it was so good that the World Bank acknowledged what the group had done by approving about $750 million in the form of concession loans and grants that will be available soon for the states to access.

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