Cross River Didn’t Lose World Bank Grant, Finance Commissioner Says

In Breaking News, International News, Politics

By Judex Okoro, Daily Sun Newspaper

The Government of Cross River State has stated that it has not lost out of any World Bank’s State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) grant.

The SFTAS is a World Bank programme that runs for four years from 2018 to 2021.

The programme is intended to enthrone good governance and fiscal responsibility among States and is coordinated through the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Interacting with journalists in Calabar, Commissioner for Finance, Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr disclosed that the State will receive its grant inflows in 3 months time as it has met the eligibility criteria and most of the disbursement linked indicators

Ekpenyong, who debunked allegations making the rounds that the State has lost out of the 2018 World Bank grant, said the State would get its tranche once the independent monitors are through with their assessment.

Ekpeyong said the SFTAS four year program gives an opportunity for States to qualify for the grant whenever there are able to meet criteria set up by the World Bank.

He said it is only when States meet up with the World Bank standards, which include achievement of 9 disbursement link indicators that they would be qualified to receive theirs, adding that that State was not included in 2018 because it submitted a hard copy of the budget instead of publishing the assented budget online on or before an agreed date.

According to the Commissioner, “it is only when State Governments meet up with World Bank standards of achievement of 9 disbursement link indicators that States can qualify to access World Bank SFTAS grant.

“What this means is that what you did not earn in the first year, you can earn it in the second or third year if you qualify.

“Cross River State is part of the second-year program and is earning the same grant this July 2020 which is about 3 months from now that some other States earned last month,” the Commissioner said.

“After a State is eligible, it must then meet 9 specific indicators with grant prices attached. Cross River State in 2019 did not meet the cut off date for publishing online the 2018 audited financial accounts.”

He said all the eligibility criteria and most of the disbursement linked indicators including biometrics verification of payroll, ministerial single treasury account and review of revenue Laws have been implemented by the Ministry of Finance as far back as 2016.

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