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Kwara Govt wins $16.9m World Bank grant on accountability

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In recognition of transparency and accountability in governance, the World Bank has awarded $16.9 million grant to Kwara State Government as a reward for the AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq-led administration effort in 2019/2020.

The government, meanwhile, has explained why it jerked up the budget estimates from N123bn to about N135bn, representing an increment of about N11bn.

These were confirmed on Tuesday through a statement released by Ministry of Finance and Planning, and made available to Newsmen.

The global bank, through its supported State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme, awarded the funds to the state after a thorough investigation.

Kwara was awarded the funds after the state satisfied the disbursements linked indicators (DLIs) as contained in the Annual Performance Assessment (APA) final report submitted by the independent verification agents (IVA) that had earlier visited Kwara State.

The DLIs include improved financial reporting and budget reliability; increased citizens engagement in the budget process; strengthened internally generated revenues (IGR); biometric and Bank Verification Number (BVN) used to reduce payroll fraud; strengthened public debt management; improved debt sustainability and implementation of tax compliance for individual taxpayers.

Others were businesses; strengthened procurement function for COVID-19 or emergency situation and facilitated participation of SMEs in public procurement resilient recovery phase; and publication and approval of amended COVID-19 response budget.

It reads: “The import of the foregoing is that the state is eligible to the total sum of $16,900,000 representing performance-based grant for 2019 APA, with an earlier disbursement of $5m in November,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

“Of the balance of $11.9m, the state has received additional $9.4m on Monday January 4, and awaits the balance of $2.5m later in the month”, the statement added.

On the budget, the breakdown, according to the statement, included a review of the opening balance from N13.6bn to N19bn based on funds mopped up from across the MDAs; VAT from N14.6bn to N15.4bn; PAYE from N5.6bn to N5.8bn; administrative charges from N194.6m to N346.6m; Land Use charge from N124.8m to N174.8m; SFTAS capital receipt from N3.8bn to N6.1bn; and termed loan from N4bn to N6bn.

The statement also announced the receipt of N795,327, 222:21 as the third tranche of the 25% refund of unremitted PAYE from federal government’s MDAs domiciled in the state.

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