The Federal government of Nigeria (FGN) has disbursed the sum of N66.5billion (USD$175 million) to eligible states on the basis of the Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget results achievement.
According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday, the program is wholly-financed with a loan of $750 million obtained from the International Development Association (IDA), a member of the World Bank Group. Each State of the federation received the total sum of N1.9bn, which is equivalent of $5million.
The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed made the disclosure in a statement signed by Mr. Hassan Dodo, the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations in Abuja.
He explained that the disbursement followed compliance with the Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget by 35 eligible States in the country.
Ahmed, said the Amended 2020 State Budget must include standardised budget documentation to enhance clarity, transparency and accessibility.
“It must also significantly lower the gross statutory revenue projections, consistent with the revised medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) and federal government’s budget; reduced non-essential overhead and capital expenditures”.
The Minister further added that the project is under the performance-based grant component of the World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results.
“Rivers State is the only one that missed out on the grant due to its inability to meet the eligibility criteria, which required the states to have passed and published online on a state website by July 31,2020 credible, fiscally responsible COVID-19 Responsive Amended 2020 Budgets duly approved by the State House of Assembly and assented to by the State Governor.”
The statement further added that the budget must be tagged and found to have allocated at least 10 percent of the total expenditure of the amended budget for COVID-19 relief, restructuring and recovery programs.
“They must also identified credible sources to fully finance the budget deficit to avoid accumulation of arrears.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic and fiscal shocks have put significant pressure on States’ fiscal resources and undermined the reality and credibility of the States’ original 2020 Annual Budgets.”
“A transparent, accountable and sustainable state-level fiscal/budget framework is a pre-requisite for a robust COVID-19 response, enabling necessary health, social protection and livelihood interventions during the COVID-19 relief, restructuring and recovery phases”.
According to the Minister, the World Bank-assisted SFTAS Programme is principally meant to ensure the utilization of resources.
“The SFTAS programme could not have come at a better time, given the dwindling government revenue occasioned by oil price volatility coupled with the current impact of COVID-19, which has further intensified the need for improved practices in fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability as enunciated in the SFTAS ideals.”
The Federal Government in April 2020 had disbursed the disbursed the total sum of (N43,416,000,000.00) $120.6 million to the qualified 24 States, based on their performance.