Ministry seeks $8.92 million World Bank loan for stationery and others | Wbactive

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

The applications were submitted as part of the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability project initiated in 2018.

The SFTAS project was developed to increase transparency and accountability at the sub-national level and is coming to an end this year.

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

The money is a grant to the state governments, but a loan to the federal government.

A copy of the procurement plan for the project, covering a period from February 2019 to August 2020, was recently received from our correspondent.

The procurement plan is in line with the World Bank Procurement Guidelines, which set out the arrangements for the procurement of goods and works (including related services) required for a project.

According to the procurement plan for the SFTAS project for the period released by the World Bank, the Home Finance Department requested an estimated $25,713 for the purchase of office supplies and supplies.

There was another request for office equipment and supplies for the SFTAS program coordination unit for $33,000.

For the furniture items, the department requested $64,190 to furnish and equip the SFTAS Public Service Institute premises; $17,000 for additional office furniture and layout of STFAS office and $17,250 for additional office equipment and furniture for Debt Management Office.

The department also requested $25,000 to procure video conferencing equipment for the SFTAS PCU and MiFi modems for the DMO.

However, the largest request was for the provision of state geospatial data, valued at $8 million.

There was also a $291,804 request for the procurement of project vehicles for the PCU and an independent verification agent.

Of the 21 proposed items, three were dropped, one was successfully completed and another is being implemented. In addition, four were pending implementation and the rest were only signed by the time the document was published in October 2022.

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

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

A check over The punch on the World Bank website showed that there were four disbursements to the federal government in 2022.

The first payout was in April 2022 releasing $700,036.87 while the second was $330.99 million in June.

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

Recently the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed announced that states have received N471.9 billion from the World Bank-backed $1.5 billion SFTAS outcomes program.

During a special dinner hosted by the Treasury Department’s PCU and the World Bank with state governors to celebrate SFTAS achievements, the Treasury Secretary said the final tranche of the funds would be released to states “in a matter of weeks.”

She said: “I am pleased to report that your states will receive the final tranche of performance-based grants over the next few weeks, including the sum of N1 billion retained by the central bank through the naira exchange rate deficit and with it finalizing is the Performance for Results Grant, although the technical support component will continue to be provided by implementing agencies and partners until June 2023, when the program will be permanently terminated.”

When contacted by our correspondent, SFTAS communications specialist Ibrahim Mohammed said that it is normal procedure to purchase items needed for a project.

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

He said: “When a program starts, the basic things that are needed for the jobs are procured. So the procurement was made with a view to providing furniture for the office, ICT infrastructure and the rest. They are all for the office, not for the ministry or department.

“The office is in the Treasury Department’s Treasury Department. We have implementing organizations and partners such as DMO, AGF, OGP and the Federal Audit Office. All consultant salaries are taken from this fund, and consultants provide technical assistance to states.”

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