To qualify for selection to benefit from the performance-based grants under the States’ Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme, the Federal Government has directed state governments to domesticate the National Chart of Account (NCOA).
The Account is part of the results of the 2020 Annual Performance Assessment (APA) and COVID 19-related Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) due in 2021.
The SFTAS programme is a $1.5 billion Federal Government of Nigeria programme for results supported by the World Bank aimed at strengthening fiscal governance at the State level.
The National Programme Coordinator (NPC) of the SFTAS Programme, Stephen Okon, disclosed this while declaring open a one-day NCoA Sensitization Workshop organized by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) for the Independent Verification Agent (IVA). The IVA is the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF).
Okon said the NCoA provides a standard template approved by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to be domesticated by all levels of government for the purposes of planning, budgeting, accounting, and reporting of their financial transactions.
“Upon full adoption, citizens will be able to track across all States, budget line items by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, economic transaction, fund type, function, programme and location,” he said.
He submitted that “the adoption of National Chart of Accounts (NCoA) by State governments would strengthen the country’s national accounting and budget monitoring; promoting greater transparency and accountability at all levels of government.”
The SFTAS National Programme Coordinator observed that while some States have properly domesticated the NCoA in the past, many still struggle to accurately report according to the set requirements.
To assist States with the domestication process, the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has provided technical assistance in the form of advisory and capacity building training for budget officials across the 36 States.
The exercise which began with a series of sensitization workshops in October 2020 was succeeded by hands-on technical budget walk-through workshops which ran till the end of January 2021.
This was supported by the dissemination of carefully designed reporting templates and self-paced video tutorials on NCoA domestication.
Speaking in the same vein, the Director-General, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Asishana Okauru explained that “the objective of the collaboration is to ensure that no State is left behind. Every State should get the support it requires to deliver on the agreed reforms.”
The NGF is one of the implementing partners contracted by the SFTAS Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to deliver capacity-building activities that will assist the States to domesticate necessary reforms of the SFTAS programme and meet the Eligibility Criteria and Disbursement Linked Results (DLRs) requirements.
Okauru announced that at the moment, 36 States are adjudged to have met the eligibility criterion of preparing their FY19 audited financial statement in accordance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards and published online by August 31, 2020.
However, preparing the 2021 budget in line with the National Chart of Accounts (NCoA) and publishing it online remains the eligibility requirement for the 36 States to qualify for performance-based grants under the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) 2020 Annual Performance Assessment (APA) and for its COVID-19 related Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) due in 2021.
Okauru said in the coming months, the Independent Verification Agent would be verifying States’ compliance with the NCoA requirement for the FY 2021 budget and the 2020 SFTAS Eligibility Criteria.
By Bassey Udo,