The World Bank has commended Kogi on its 2020 audited financial statement, describing the financial report as a standard for transparency and accountability in the public sector.
The bank gave the commendation in a letter addressed to the state’s Accountant -General and dated Nov. 21.
The letter was received by the Accountant-General on Nov. 25.
It was signed by the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS) Task Team Leader, Nigeria Country Office, Western and Central African Region, Deborah Isser.
The letter was entitled: “Nigeria: Review of Kogi State Audited Financial Statement for the year ended Dec. 31, 2020 for SFTAS.”
SFTAS is a 750-million dollar programme to reward states for meeting any or all the nine indicators that demonstrate improvements in fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability.
The nine indicators are an offshoot of the previous Fiscal Sustainability Plan of the Federal Government where states are to be rewarded for meeting up to 22 targets.
The World Bank had supported the Federal Government to incentivise states to properly achieve the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan, which has now been redesigned as the nine Disbursement Linked Indicators under SFTAS.
The criteria to be achieved are improved financial reporting and budget reliability; increased openness and citizens’ engagement in the budget process.
Others are improved cash management and reduced revenue leakages through the implementation of State Treasury Single Account
Some more are strengthened Internally Generated Revenue collection, biometric registration and Bank Verification Number used to reduce payroll fraud.
The rest are improved procurement practices for increased transparency and value for money; strengthened public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, among others.
The SFTAS programme is part of Federal Government’s efforts to further enhance transparency and accountability in the use of public resources.
This is to be done through the implementation of the Open Government Partnership, which Nigeria signed to in July 2016.
The World Bank in its letter to Kogi commended the state for preparing its audited financial statements in line with the accrual basis of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).
“We note that Kogi State Audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 has been uploaded on the state’s website as per the SFTAS’ eligibility criteria for Financial Year 2021.”
“The Financial Statements were prepared on IPSAS accrual basis and the Auditor-General of the State has issued an Audit Certificate with an unqualified (clean) audit opinion,” the letter stated.
It added that the bank had reviewed the audited financial statement which was found acceptable for SFTAS Programme Fiduciary assurance requirements.
It noted that the letter was coming about four months after it was issued commending Gov. Yahaya Bello for good leadership.
It indicated a refund of a 4.63 million dollars surplus under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project.
The bank’s letter also came about a month after the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria acknowledged the improvement of Kogi State in its ICAN’S Novel Accountability Index
ICAN said Kogi moved from 12th to 7th position in its 2019 assessments.