SFTAS: OGP tasks CSOs on strengthening fiscal reforms at sub-national level

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) has tasked Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country to redouble their efforts in strengthening fiscal reforms to promote fiscal transparency accountability and sustainability at sub-national level in line with the ideals of the World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal transparency accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for results.

The OGP National Programme Coordinator, Dr. Grace Ahmed made this call Wednesday in Port Harcourt at a 2-Day Zonal Workshop organized for CSOs in the South-South region by OGP in collaboration with Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office(FCDO)-funded programme.

The workshop with the theme ‘Dissemination of the Guide to Enhance Citizens Understanding of Fiscal Issues and Publications by State Governments’ was meant to engage and guide citizens using the SFTAS Citizens Guidance document to enable them understand the technicalities in the expected Public Financial Management Publications from state governments in line with the SFTAS Programme.

It is also envisaged to strengthen the capacity of the citizens and citizen groups to hold informed engagements with the government and demand further transparency and accountability, and continuance of the SFTAS outputs.

Dr. Ahmed noted that the SFTAS programme is one of Nigeria’s most laudable and enduring fiscal reforms initiated by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration that will outlive administrations in the States especially with the commitment and enthusiasm shown by current governors in the States.

“To this end, we commenced the delivery of the Just in Time Advisory Services on Citizens Budget and Citizens Accountability Report to increase understanding of actors in these areas and leave a foundation that state and non-state actors can build upon”.

Speaking earlier, the National Programme Manager, Accountable, Responsive & Capable Government (ARC), FCDO-PERL, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuoke disclosed that Citizens’ Guidance Material provides the rudimentary knowledge to help the citizens build requisite skills needed to better hold government accountable in a constructive and non-confrontational manner.

Speaking on behalf of the SFTAS Programme Coordination Unit, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, SFTAS Programme Communications Specialist noted that given the resounding success recorded by the SFTAS Programme in improving public financial management at sub-national level, CSOs have a societal responsibility to continue to

monitor the implementation of relevant laws and practices that will ensure the sustainability of its ideals.

Mohammed stressed that the CSOs could do so through direct engagement with the States when they are empowered with the necessary tools and templates and the needed capacity to interrogate work processes through sustained close monitoring to ensure sustainability of fiscal reforms in the States.

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