A team of Independent Verification Assessors (IVA) has commenced the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability 2021 Annual Performance Assessments (APA).
A statement yesterday from the state Ministry of Finance indicated that the exercise commenced on July 25, at the Conference Hall of the State Ministry of Finance, and will last till July 29, 2022 and Financial agencies of the State government ranging from the Office of the Accountant-General, Office of the Head of Service, the Auditor-General’s Office, Budget Department, the State Internal Revenue Service, Debt Management Office; and the Department of Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau were all well represented at the meeting.
Speaking while welcoming the IVA team to Cross River, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget, Monitoring and Evaluation, Comrade Otu Otu Ita said the State under Governor Ben Ayade has strengthen fiscal responsibility in Public Finance Management
The State Budget Adviser assured the IVA officials and state actors including the technical committee a seamless assessments of the State’s financial management system.
Also speaking, the Accountant-General (AG) of the State, Sir Joseph Adie noted that with the State reputed for its strict financial policy, the State, even this time, will achieve the Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) 2021 benchmark.
According to the AG, the strengthening of the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, implementation of biometric verification to stem payroll fraud, improved procurement practices for increased transparency, strengthening of its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt sustainability, and the institution of more transparent budgeting will always place the State in good stead with the Assessors. He assured the team of Assessors that his office and other relevant agencies of government will give them full support to make their work easier.
On his part, the Director-General of Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau, Mr. Francis Odachi Ekpo averred that the Ayade-led administration’s strict due process regime has made prudent public finance management very sacrosanct. He expressed optimism that with ample data on financial management of the State funds, the team will have a hitch-free experience in their time in the State.
In his remarks, the IVA National Project Coordinator, Dr. B. A. Fawale hoped that Cross River performs better having passed through the system for four years now. His words: “You (Cross River) are used to the system. In the year 2021 I believe you would have done better than the previous years. So I would not be surprised if your result also tells about your improvement in the year under review.”
Dr. Fawale re-emphasized that the evidence-based verification exercise focuses on documents, hinting that clarifications will be sort, where necessary, to clear grey matter.
Also contributing to the essence of the exercise, the IVA Team Lead, Mr. Adiagbo Ademola Joseph stated that the assessment exercise focus is on Disbursement Linked Indicators namely: Improved Financial Reporting; Increased Openness (citizens’ engagement); Cash Management; Internally Generated Revenue; Procurement; Public Debt and Fiscal Responsibility; Arrears Clearance; and Improved Debt Sustainability, as well as going a step further to examine the Covid-19 Response Expenditure.