CROSS RIVER RANKS TOPS ON SFTAS RECEIVES $20.4m

Cross River ranks top on the World Bank States Fiscal T r a n s p a r e n c y Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme, as accurate indicators Show from Performance Assessment (APA) that was carried out in November 2020. This achievement was earned after a detailed annual performance assessment of all 36 Nigerian states under the State’s Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme, is a World Bank
funded competitive programme of the federal government which rewards States for meeting specifically set indicators for improved Fiscal T r a n s p a r e n c y , Accountability and Sustainability.
The program report also show Cross River as having strengthened its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, implemented biometric verification to reduce payroll fraud, improved its procurement practices for increased transparency and value for m o n e y, a s w e l l a s strengthened public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework and improved debt sustainability and also, instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year.
Cross River State Commissioner for Finance and Chairman of the State SFTAS Steering Committee, Mr. Asuquo
Ekpenyong Jr., noted that the Independent Verification success is a confirmation of G o v e r n o r Ay a d e ‘ s c o m m i t m e n t t o transparency, accountability and fiscal performance. This achievement by the Ayade-led administration
has set national record and is indeed, an endorsement by the world’s fore-most international financial institution, the World Bank”, he revealed. While thanking God for the results, the Commissioner said that success was made possible, only through the ever-present supportive goodwill and guidance of Sir Ben Ayade.
“ C r o s s R i v e r S F TA S Steering Committee is made up of the Internal Revenue Service, office of Accountant-General, Budget office, Bureau of Due Process, office of the Auditor-General and the debt Management office”, he revealed. Interestingly, too, for scoring 100% in World Bank 2020 Fiscal Year, the State has also, proudly achieved a total sum of $20.4m (Twenty million, four hundred thousand US Dollars) as a result of scoring 100 per cent for all Fiscal, Transparency and Accountability indicators of the World Bank in the 2020 Fiscal Year. This was earned after a detailed annual performance assessment of all 36 Nigerian states under the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme. This grant achievement places Cross River State at the top among the 36 States in the Federation and sets a national record for the fiscal year.
The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning oversee SFTAS, while the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation acts as the independent verification agent. It could be recalled that an Independent Verification Agent (IVA) delegation from the Federal Government on August, 2020 led by Mrs Isioma Bola-Audu visited Calabar for several days to undertake a comprehensive audit and verification exercise as part of the validating criteria for the World Bank State Fiscal T r a n s p a r e n c y , Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for results. As a result of that exercise, the Cross River State Ministry of Finance secured the sum of $10.4M which has subsequently increased to $20.4 million after Cross River State further scored 100% in the 2020 Additional Finance Annual Performance Assessment (APA ) carried out in November 2020. The report also notes that Cross River State has strengthened its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, implemented biometric registration and verification to reduce payroll fraud; improved its procurement practices for increased transparency and value for money; strengthened its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework; improved debt sustainability and instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year.
State Commissioner for Finance and Chairman of the State SFTAS Steering Committee, Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr. revealed that the independent verification success is a confirmation of G o v e r n o r Ay a d e ‘ s c o m m i t m e n t t o
transparency, accountability and fiscal performance. “This achievement by the Ayade-led administration”, HE said, has set national record and is indeed, an endorsement by the World Bank, the world’s foremost international financial institution.
He therefore, assured all that the funds will be properly utilized in accordance with the Governor’s vision in the 2021 budget, nothing, “For us to attain this enviable feat, it would be recalled that, we all worked day and night, even at weekends and holidays, including the lockdown period”, while he also, appreciated staff and heads of MDAs, who played very vital and critical roles during the exercise.