The Cross River Finance Commissioner, Asuquo Ekpenyong, has explained that the state instituted far reaching reforms that enabled her to earn the $20.4m World Bank grant.
The grant, under the States’s Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS), is a World Bank funded programme in collaboration with Federal government.
Ekpenyong said the state adopted series of ginancial measures including strengthening its internally generated revenue collection and implementation of biometric verification to reduce payroll fraud.
He said: “The state also improved it’s procurement practices for increased transparency strengthened public debt management, fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt Sustainability and instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year.
“Moreso, the assessment excercise was conducted in September 2020 by the Independent Verification Assesors from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
“This showed that Cross River State achieved 6 Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLRs) out of 9 applicable DLRs for 2019 and 3 DLRs out of 3DLRs, ie 100% for the 2020 additional financing”, the commissioner said.
According to him, under the additional finance assessment, the state earned $10,000,000 while another $10,400,000 accrued to the state from the Annual Performance Assessment making it $20,400,000.
He further explained that the grant will be beneficial to the people of the state as it will be used to finance the 2021 budget.
“The 2021 budget is focused on rural development, youth empowerment and government activities will enhance multiplier effect on the local economy.
“The budget is heavily skewed towards youth empowerment and providing employment activities for young people especially in rural areas”, he stated.