By Yusuf Ishaku Goje
In the Kaduna state 2022 approved budget, the State government projected to access a performance grant of N6.5 billion under the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (SFTAS) Program for the result. This is significant in the sense that it is larger than the State’s 2022 projected tax revenue from PAYE State, PAYE Federal, PAYE Others, and Direct Assessment for the same year.
The SFTAS program is a World Bank-supported intervention that comes as a grant to the Nigerian States. The intervention seeks to improve and strengthen fiscal management and entrench transparency and accountability mechanisms towards ensuring efficient utilization of public funds thereby improving public service delivery. The program has two components, which are the Program for Result, tied to disbursement linked indicators, and the need-based Technical Assistance towards achieving the four key result areas of the program.
The Kaduna state government since the inception of the program has accessed the performance grants of N3.9 billion in 2018 and N4.9 billion in 2019.
This is as a result of consistency in timely presentation and publishing of budget, progressive implementation of e-procurement in line with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), reforming internal revenue generation, improvement in the timely publication of audited financial statements, and strengthening fiscal sustainability at Local Government level, among others.
One of the key deliverables that will ensure the State gets the SFTAS performance grant projected in the 2022 budget is the disbursement linked indicator-two (DLI-2) domiciled under the Planning & Budget Commission with the target of increased citizens’ participation in the budget process.
The DLI is focusing on the publishing of citizens’ budget version, citizens’ input document, and Citizens’ Accountability Report. As a result of the DLI, there is a marked improvement in the quality of citizens’ engagement in the budget process due to more access to information.
The publication of these documents is tied to minimum standards and timeframe with the technical support of the Nigeria Open Government Partnership (OGP) Secretariat. Kaduna state over this period has successfully produced and published the Citizens’ Budget version and Citizens’ Accountability Report.
However, the State government is yet to publicly make available the Citizens’ Input Document, which is designed to show citizens’ input into the budget. This is even though over the past three years, citizens have submitted their prioritized needs using the Community Development Charter (CDC).
Nonetheless, we are optimistic that this evidence will be published this year to show citizens’ influence in the 2022 approved budget. This will ensure we access the full grant amount allocated to the DLI-2.
Given the above, the Nigeria OGP Secretariat has provided civil society with a checklist for the 2022 implementation of DLI-2. They are: publish approved annual 2022 state budget online by January 31st; publish citizens’ inputs from formal public consultations for the preparation of the 2022 budget by January 31st.
Others are: publish citizens’ budget version made from the approved 2022 annual State Budget online by April 30th; publish Citizens’ Accountability Report based on audited financial statements/reports published online by September 30th; and publish a proposed budget for 2023 annual state spending as submitted to the State House of Assembly online by December, 31st.
The Nigeria OGP Secretariat has also trained civil society partners, some of which are the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED) and Campaign for Democracy (CD), to engage the government to ensure the State meets DLI-2.
As the SFTAS program draws to a close this year, all hands must be on deck to ensure the sustainability of these reforms particularly towards increased citizens’ participation in the budget process and improvement in the living standard of the people.
Let’s engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.