Kogi Tops States’ Fiscal Transparency Assessment

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Kogi State has scored 100 per cent in the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA) of states under the Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.

SFTAS is a $750million competitive programme of the Federal Government through which it rewards states for meeting any or all the indicators.

Kogi scored 100 per cent in all the indicators.

The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is overseeing SFTAS; the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF) is the Independent Verification Agent (IVA).

The OAuGF conducts the annual performance assessments of the states with the technical assistance of JK Consulting, a reputable external audit firm.

The World Bank and other development partners support the programme, which aims to enthrone greater probity in the management of public funds.

Director-General, Research and Development in the Office of the Kogi State governor, Moses Okezie-Okafor, said in a statement that the latest report was released on October 28 by the OAuGF.

He said validates Governor Yahaya Bello’s efforts to manage public funds transparently.

The OAuGF, which carried out the assessment based on the nine Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) and Tests, ranked Kogi high in improved financial reporting, budgeting reliability, increased openness and citizens’ engagement in the budget process.

The report noted that the state was also rated high in improved cash management and reduced revenue leakages through implementation of State Treasury Single Account (TSA).

To ensure credibility and quality assessment, the IVA engaged the services of experts in taxation, procurement and debt management laws to review fiscal legislation and practices in each state.

The report notes that Kogi “strengthened Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, biometric registration and Bank Verification Number (BVN) to reduce payroll fraud; improved procurement practices for increased transparency and value for money; strengthened public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework; improved clearance/reduction of stock of domestic expenditure arrears and improved debt sustainability”.

In the 2018 APA results, Kogi came second after Kaduna State, which earned the state an $8.8 million special grant.

In effect, Kogi is practically the only state in the federation to have implemented Treasury Single Account (TSA).

Commissioner of Finance and Economic Development, Asiwaju Idris Asiru, said: “Every person dealing with state funds is exposed to multiple layers and levels of accountability. There is no hiding place.”

Commissioner for Information, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, said the independent verification is a confirmation of Governor Bello’s commitment to transparency, accountability and performance.

He appreciated the reputable bodies for doing a thorough job and assured that the government would continue to ensure good governance for the people of Kogi State.

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