Ministry seeks $8.92 million loan from World Bank for stationery and other

The Department of Internal Finance of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has requested approximately $8.93 million from the World Bank to purchase 21 items, including office supplies, office furniture, office supplies , office equipment and vehicles.

The requests were made as part of the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability project, which was launched in 2018.

The SFTAS project was designed to strengthen transparency and accountability at the subnational level and will end this year.

A total of $1.5 billion has been committed to the project in two tranches of $750 million (December 2018 and December 2020) by the World Bank.

Although the money is a grant to state governments, it is a loan to the federal government.

A copy of the project’s procurement plan covering a period from February 2019 to August 2020 was recently obtained by our correspondent.

The procurement plan complies with the World Bank procurement guidelines which establish the arrangements for the procurement of goods and works (including related services) required for a project.

According to the SFTAS project procurement plan for the period disclosed by the World Bank, the Department of Internal Finance has requested an estimated amount of $25,713 to procure office supplies and supplies.

There was another request for $33,000 for office equipment and supplies for the SFTAS Program Coordinating Unit.

For furniture items, the department requested $64,190 for furnishing and equipping the space of the SFTAS Public Service Institute; $17,000 for additional office furniture and partitioning of the STFAS office, and $17,250 for additional office equipment and furniture for the Debt Management Office.

The department also requested $25,000 for the purchase of videoconferencing equipment for the SFTAS PCU and MiFi modems for the DMO.

However, the largest request was for the provision of spatial data to States, estimated at $8 million.

There was also a request for $291,804 for the procurement of project vehicles for the PCU and Independent Verification Agent.

Of the 21 items proposed, three were cancelled, one was completed and one was in the process of being implemented. Additionally, four were pending implementation, and the others were not signed until the document was released in October 2022.

The canceled requests included two other requests for additional furniture, which had been previously signed.

The PUNCH recently reported that the federal government received $338.98 million from the World Bank in 2022, which it plans to disburse to states soon through the SFTAS program.

A check by The punch on the World Bank website showed that four disbursements were made to the Federal Government in 2022.

The first disbursement was made in April 2022, with the release of $700,036.87, while the second was $330.99 million in June.

The third disbursement was in October, with the release of $6.83 million, while the last disbursement was $450,419 in November this year.

Recently, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed revealed that states had received N471.9 billion from the $1.5 billion World Bank funded SFTAS program for the results.

Moreover, during a special dinner organized by the PCU of the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank with the governors of the states to celebrate the achievement of the SFTAS, the Minister of Finance declared that the last installment of the funds would be disbursed to the States “in a few weeks”.

She said: “I am pleased to inform you that in the next few weeks your States will receive the final tranche of performance-based grants, including the sum of 1 billion naira withheld by the Central Bank through the deficit of changes in the naira, thus ending the Performance for Results grant, although the technical assistance component will continue to be provided by implementing agencies and partners until June 2023, when the program will finally end .

Contacted by our correspondent, SFTAS communications specialist Ibrahim Mohammed said it was standard procedure to procure items needed for a project.

He noted that the items were acquired at the start of the project and were used to ensure the successful implementation of the project.

He said: “When a program starts, there is the purchase of the basic items needed for the works. Thus, procurement has been done in terms of providing furniture for the office, ICT infrastructure and the rest. They are all for office use, not ministry or departmental use.

“The office is located within the Internal Finance Department of the Ministry of Finance. We have implementing agencies and partners like DMO, AGF, OGP and the Office of the Federation Auditor General. All consultant salaries are drawn from this fund, and the consultants provide technical assistance to the States.

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