It was a night of bountiful harvest for Osun State in Abuja on Monday when the state received two important awards for its meaningful fiscal re-engineering under the leadership of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
The event was a Federal Government/World Bank SFTAS recognition dinner for state governors to reward them for implementing projects that prioritise fiscal transparency and accountability.
Osun State was rated the best in Nigeria for domestic revenue mobilisation. The state edged 35 other states to win the award. The state also received an award for its efficiency in public expenditures. The Commissioner for Finance in the state, Alhaji Bola Oyebamiji, represented Oyetola at the gathering and accepted the two awards on behalf of the government and people of Osun State.
The State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) is a programme of the World Bank that began in 2018 to support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in its goal of encouraging decent financial behavior at subnational levels in accordance with the Bank’s policy and guidance on investment project financing.
A total of $1.5 billion, a federal government loan, has gone, in the past four years, to 36 states of the federation as grants based on their performance on eligibility criteria and disbursement-related outcomes assessed by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, the independent verification agent for the programme. For a state to qualify for a financial support, it must demonstrate its ability to meet nine (9) DLIs ( Disbursement Linked Indicators) distributed over four (4) key result areas, namely: increasing fiscal transparency and accountability; strengthening domestic revenue mobilization; increasing efficiency in public spending and strengthening debt management.
Monday’s awards are further proofs that Governor Oyetola and his team have, since 2018, truly put the state on the path to economic prosperity. The state which, before this administration, used to be in the news for controversial and ignoble reasons because of its penchant for owing workers’ salary and pension, is now a role model in prompt salary and pension payments. The state, which in the past, was notorious for its uncaged appetite for commercial banks’ borrowings on account of its loose fiscal discipline, is today celebrated for having completed over 60 road projects without borrowing a Kobo.
A prominent civic advocacy group, BudgIT, explained in its 2022 report that “Osun State has, over the past three years, improved cash management and reduced revenue leakage through the implementation of the State Treasury Single Account (TSA), as 77 % of the state’s finances are currently covered under the TSA.”
The group added that the state currently operates a single account for IGR and federal transfers (FAAC and VAT); and that the state has linked 97% of the BVN data of civil servants and retirees in the payroll.
Comprehensive and commendable governance reforms such as Bank Verification Number (BVN) in payroll administration, activation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) and enactment of procurement laws implemented by the current government have positively impacted domestic revenue drive. The state saw its IGR rise by 110.60% from N10.38 billion in 2018 to N21.86 in 2021.
Speaking shortly after receiving the two awards, Oyebamiji said, “For me, the awards go further to show that all the accolades being showered on our boss, who prefers to be called a team leader, are deserving. They are no flukes.”
“In 2018 (when we came to office), Osun ranked 32nd on the Financial Sustainability Index, marginally ahead of Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, and Kogi states. But in 2021, the state was ranked 13th out of 36 states in the country. You will agree with me that there has been a significant improvement under Oyetola’s administration,” Oyebamiji declared.
It is believed that many noble projects of the Government would not have been possible without fiscal discipline, focused leadership of Oyetola, and improvement in the IGR, in light of the “amputated” statutory revenue from Abuja, a punishment the current government has made to suffer since November 2018 to atone for the reckless borrowing of previous governments.