Why we obtained World Bank’s $1.5bn SFTAS loan – National Coordinator

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The $1.5 billion World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS), was initiated to ensure maximum utilisation of funds in the best interest of the citizens across the country.

National Coordinator of the programme, Mr Stephen Okon who made the explanation at the weekend, said although the World Bank intervention was a loan to the Federal Government, it was a performance-based grant to the 36 states to provide technical support for officials towards successful implementation of the programme.

Okon spoke in his opening remarks at a one-day workshop with the theme: SFTAS: ‘Beyond the Grant’s Ensuring Programme Sustainability through Advocacy’ organised for members of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Abuja.

He said, “It is in furtherance of the capacity building efforts under this programme that this workshop is specially organized to deepen the understanding of SFTAS Programme implementation by the media and by extension the general public.”

The National Coordinator said the workshop “is meant to explain the rationale behind the SFTAS programme implementation; apprise you of the status of programme implementation by implementation agencies and partners; promote national buy-in and ensure programme sustainability.”

He commended the media for providing adequate coverage on the activities of the Programme which had resulted in the achievements recorded so far by SFTAS.

“I want to assure you that PCU will continue to carry members of the Press along in all its activities till the programme winds down.

“We believe that the media as agents of change and public enlightenment has a societal responsibility to continue to advocate for good fiscal governance at all levels of government to ensure the sustainability of SFTAS ideals,” he added.

Six topical papers were delivered at the workshop inclufing, SFTAS Programme Implementation: The Role of Programme Coordination Unit; Paths to Sustainable Debt Management: The SFTAS Approach by DG-DMO; and New Approach to IGR Administration in the States by DG-NGF.

Others are, Towards a Citizen-centric Budget: Upholding Transparency and Accountability in the Budget Process by the National Programme Coordinator-OGP; Understanding Parameters for the Independent Verification Agent’s Annual Performance Assessment Exercise and Achievements of SFTAS Programme by the Programme Manager, Mrs Oyinda Adedokun.

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