Finance ministry gets $5.6m W’Bank loan for stationery, others
The Home Finance Department of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has received the sum of $5.6m from the World Bank to procure 21 items, which included office stationeries, furniture, solar inverter, office equipment, and vehicles.
The approvals were made under the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability project, which was initiated in 2018.
The SFTAS project was designed to strengthen transparency and accountability at the sub-national level and ended in 2022.
However, the implementation of the projects is still ongoing according to a document obtained from the bank.
The PUNCH reports that a total of $1.5bn was committed to the project in two batches of $750m (December 2018 and December 2020) by the World Bank.
Although the money is a grant to state governments, it is a loan to the Federal Government. A copy of the procurement plan for the project covering a period from February 2019 to August 2020.
The procurement plan is in line with the World Bank’s Procurement Guidelines which establish the arrangements to be made for procuring the goods and works (including related services) required for a project.
According to the procurement plan for the SFTAS project for the period disclosed by the World Bank, the Home Finance Department received $25,713 to acquire office stationery and supplies.
It also got another $39,357, up from the N33,000 initially requested for additional office equipment and supplies for the SFTAS Programme Coordinating Unit.
For the furniture items, the department got $64,190 for furnishing and equipping SFTAS Public Service Institute space; $14,842 for additional office furniture and partitioning of the STFAS office, as well as $19,368 up from $17,250 for additional office equipment and furniture for the Debt Management Office.
The department also received $24,038 for the procurement of video conferencing equipment for the SFTAS PCU and MiFi modems for the DMO.
However, the biggest approval was for the provision of spatial data to states, which was implemented at the cost of $4.78m.
There was also $409,638 received for the procurement of project vehicles for the PCU and independent verification agent. The ministry also spent the procurement of an Inverter Power Backup System for the SFTAS Programme Coordinating Unit.
Out of the 21 items proposed, two were cancelled, four were successfully completed, and another was under implementation. Also, three were pending implementation, and 11 projects were only signed as of the time the document was released in December 2023.
The World Bank recently disclosed that Nigeria was the top recipient of its fresh loans in 2022, with about $2.9 billion released to the country.
Another report also stated that Nigeria is currently servicing about $14.12bn from 108 approved loans. In the report, it was observed that the oldest loan being serviced was approved as far back as 1989 under Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, while the most recent loan being serviced was approved in 2018 under the former administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
The oldest loan is the $100.9m Multistate Agricultural Development Project (03), which was approved to support the implementation of the state-wide Agricultural Development Projects, with the objective of increasing food/crop production and the income of small farmers.
The SFTAS‘ Communications Specialist, Ibrahim Mohammed, in an earlier interview with The PUNCH, said that it was a regular procedure to purchase items needed for a project.
He noted that the items were acquired at the start of the project and were used to ensure the successful implementation of the project.
He said, “When a programme starts, there is procurement of the basic items needed for the jobs. So, procurement was made in terms of providing furniture for the office, ICT infrastructure, and the rest. They are all for the use of the office, not the ministry or department.
“The office is situated in the Home Finance Department of the Ministry of Finance. We have implementing agencies and partners like the DMO, AGF, OGP, and the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. All the salaries for consultants are drawn from that fund, and the consultants offer technical assistance to the states.”