Nigerian Governors Seek Fresh Loans To Fight COVID-19
Thirty six state governors in Nigeria are seeking fresh domestic or international loans to enable them continue the fight against Coronavirus pandemic. Thus, they have perfected action plans to engage with the nation’s Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in order to take on additional financing as grants in the form of new States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
SFTAS is a World Bank programme introduced on June 27, 2018, to help increase efficiency in spending, strengthen revenue mobilisation for the delivery of health, education, water and other services, and also debt sustainability in participating states.
The move was part of resolutions of the governors which was contained in a communiqué at the end of the 11th COVID-19 teleconference meeting of the Forum held on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, which was signed by the chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
“Members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum resolved as follows: “To engage with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to take on the new SFTAS additional financing as grants to states following the momentum on fiscal accountability and sustainability generated by the current SFTAS programme and the need for sustained funding for state governments in the wake of the fiscal pressure that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Recommend that the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies engage with the National Assembly Health Committee and state commissioners of health to harmonise a workable strategy that will facilitate the speedy release of the BHCPF to fund primary health care activities at the subnational level.
“Review the concerns of the resident doctors and interface with the federal and state ministries of health to address the concerns of resident doctors in the country by settling backlog of salaries where such exist, reintegrating residency training in state hospitals where they have been suspended, providing protective equipment and ensuring sustainable pathways to uphold the welfare of doctors in an effective and efficient manner.”
Fayemi noted that the forum had earlier received further updates and presentations from Mr. Godwin Obaseki, the governor of Edo State, chairman of the NGF State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Sub-Committee interfacing with the World Bank to facilitate the provision of additional financing for States to support governments’ response to the COVID-19 crisis.
He further disclosed that the World Bank Task Team Leader for the SFTAS program, Yue Man Lee, also provided an update on the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment and preparatory arrangements for the US$750 Additional Financing.