EU funds six states to enhance good governance

Eme Offiong, Calabar

The European Union, EU, has provided 54 Million Euros as grants to six Nigerian States to enhance public financial management and strengthen good governance.

Mr. Samuel Eloho, the National Coordinator of State and Local Government Reforms, SLOGOR, a project managed by the World Bank in collaboration with Nigeria’s Ministry of Budget and National Planning, stated that the European Union grant was also “to improve transparency, accountability and quality of public finances at State and local government levels.”

Eloho made this statement in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, southern Nigeria, during a two-day retreat with a theme “Fiscal Policy Reform and Economic Growth at the Sub-national Level of Government in Nigeria: Opportunity for the SLOGOR project.”

Pilot Project
The National Coordinator said that six pilot States were selected as beneficiaries for the project and these included “Anambra, Cross River and Osun States from southern Nigeria, while Jigawa, Kano and Yobe in the northern parts of Nigeria.”

According to Eloho, the fund, which was available, would be accessed by the States based on the degree of their performance.

“We are talking about 54 Million Euros here. This amount is spread into components in each of the States. Accessing it depends on their performance. If the State is not doing well, it cannot draw down as the other State, which is doing well,” said Eloho.

Critical Reforms
The World Bank Task Team Leader of the SLOGOR project, Mr Ikechukwu Nweje, said the project, which was initiated in January 2015, has witnessed a slow start.

Nweje said “today between 22 and 26 States are not able to meet their financial needs, we are helping them reform their public financial management system. We need the States to budget appropriately and be accountable as well as give foreign investors the confidence that their money is secured.” 

He described public financial management reforms as critical for the survival of each Nigerian State particularly with the challenges of the economic recession.

Also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning Mrs. Nana Fatima urged the benefiting States “to evolved effective strategies for achieving highly inclusive economic growth as well as develop fiscal measures that would help provide a roadmap for the attainment of improved economic performance in the States.”

Fatima further encouraged the six States to ensure the funds were accessed, adding that “this will help us get development down to the grassroots, to the sub-national levels and if the programme does well, it could be replicated in other States.”