By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja
In recognition of its prowess in management of resources, the World Bank has conferred on Kogi State, North Central Nigeria, three categories of Awards of Excellence in Fiscal Transparency and Accountability, Debt Sustainability and Domestic Revenue Mobilisation.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, said the awards were conferred at the Federal Government of Nigeria/World Bank States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Dinner.
The statement added that the dinner with Governors/Award Night, was held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on Monday evening.
According to the statement, the objective of the World Bank’s SFTAS Programme is to promote and refocus attention of Nigerian States towards improvement of their PFM systems, processes and institutions.
“SFTAS is aimed at strengthening fiscal transparency to help build trust in government, facilitating accountability in public resource management and ensuring sustainability in the participating states”, the statement said.
It further said that the National Programme Coordinator, Ali Mohammed, who signed the invitation letter to states, noted that the SFTAS had made remarkable achievements.
“The SFTAS programme has achieved important milestones with remarkable improvement in fiscal transparency and accountability; increased domestic revenue mobilization; increased efficiency in public expenditure; and strengthened debt management”, Mohammed had said.
The statement also added that the Auditor-General of Kogi State, Yakubu Okala, attributed the celebrated success of the state in the areas of fiscal transparency and accountability to self-discipline.
He also attributed it to the institution of a transparent and accountable governance system by Governor Yahaya Bello from the inception of his administration.
“The State is blessed with an incorruptible Governor who also provides leadership from all fronts, a professional to the core that has surrounded himself only with persons that have the capacity to deliver.
“The philosophy of the Governor of the State, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, is making every single kobo available work for the entity of the State.
“Hence, he has instituted self-discipline, as well as transparent and accountable governance system from day-one of his administration.
“He does not condone any form of abuse or misuse of the state’s resources at the disposal of every responsible officer”, the Auditor-General said.
The dinner was therefore organized to celebrate the acievements of SFTAS since inception.
Recall that the World Bank, in July 2021, commended Governor Yahaya Bello for refunding $4.63 million surplus funds under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
The commendation was conveyed in a letter of appreciation, signed by its Regional Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, describing the step as a sign of good leadership.
According to the World Bank, the Governor’s action made it possible for the organisation to extend its projects to other states facing deficit funds and to extend the closing date of its projects. (Ends)