As part of its sustained efforts to promote good governance through improved public service delivery, the Cross River State Government is set to commence implementation of a new reform project known as State And Local Governance Reform project (SLOGOR) funded by the European Union (EU) and managed by the World Bank. The EU- support project will be implemented from a grant of about 60 Million Euros.
To this end, all the necessary Management and Institutional arrangements for effective take off of the project have been concluded at both the national and state levels, with the recent endorsement of all the requisite agreements between the State and the National Planning Commission (NPC).The project is domiciled in the office of the Department of International Development Cooperation (DIDC) which is charged with the overall responsibility for coordination and implementation of the project activities.
As part of these arrangements, the State Steering Committee (SSC) and the Technical Committee of the project have also been formally constituted. The SSC which is the highest policy making body of the project is chaired by the State Governor who relegates this function to the Head of the Supervising Department, (DIDC), under his office as the Vice Chairman. The SSC which is charged with the responsibility of providing oversight functions and other governance reforms in the state, comprises of mainly political office holders such as; commissioners and Special Advisers including the State Accountant-General, Auditor-General, Head of Service, Head of the Bureau of Public procurement, two representatives from the Civil Society organizations (CSOs) and key officers from the State Legislature.
The Steering Committee of SLOGOR which was officially inaugurated early this year by the State Governor, Liyel Imoke, has since commenced action with its first inaugural meeting held on May 6, 2014. This is followed by the recent inauguration of the State Technical Committee by the Special Adviser,(DIDC), Roy Ndoma-Egba, comprising of Senior Civil Servants drawn from all the implementing MDAs who are expected to provide technical advice and support in the driving of the implementation process.
Cross River State Government, it will be recalled had participated as one of the three pilot States which implemented the World Bank-funded State Governance and Capacity Building Project (SGCBP), between 2005 and 2011 as well as Bauchi and Kaduna States. Following the successful implementation of the above project, the State became eligible for selection as one of the six EU-focal States in Nigeria to form the follow-on project known as the State and Local Governance Reform Project (SLOGOR). Other benefiting States in the 60 Million Euros grant of SLOGOR are Anambra, Jigawa, Kano, Osun and Yobe.
The grant would be implemented as a Trust Fund Model Parallel project, through using the World Bank rules and procedures, under an Administrative Agreement between both institutions. The agreement of SLOGOR was signed in Abuja, on Wednesday, October 31, 2012, between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the EU. The Grant agreement between the Federal Government and the World Bank as well as the subsidiary agreement between the benefiting States have also been signed to kick-start implementation of the project in September 2014. Apart from the six EU-funded States in SLOGOR, there is also a follow-on Public Sector Governance Reform and Development project (PSGRDP), which is being implemented in Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Ondo and Plateau States. Similarly, the State Employment and Expenditure for Results Project (SEEFOR) is supporting Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, and Rivers States in similar reform areas. There was also a complementary EU-funded Support to Reforming Institutions Programme (SRIP).
On the whole, the Bank is currently supporting 15 out of the 36 Sub-National State Governments in Nigeria which are engaged in Public Finance management (PFM) reforms. The proposed Trust fund is expected to complement these 15 sub-national State Governments in Nigeria by extending the same reform agenda to six additional Sub-National Governments under SLOGOR. A new dimension of SLOGOR is its design to include support to pilot local governments in Capacity Building activities in planning, budget tracking and expenditure reporting, while the Civil Society Groups (CSG) will also be supported to constructively engage Local Governments on development projects in communities.
The Project Development Objective (PDO) of SLOGOR) is to improve transparency, accountability, and quality in the public finance management, with a view to strengthening governance in the six participating States. SLOGOR is also expected to build the capacities and processes of these States in public finance programming and management, and at the local level, towards improvement in social services delivery.
Another aspect of the SLOGOR support to local governance will focus on carrying out a programme of activities designed to promote devolution of functions to Local Governments (or groups of Local Governments as in Jigawa State) in participating states and enhance the performance of selected Local Governments of each State in the area of planning and implementation of social services. In Cross River State, the project is expected to among other activities carry out a programme designed to strengthen the capacity of three Local Governments (including respective office Auditor General for Local Government, Local Government Service Commission and the Ministry responsible for Local Government Affairs) in the areas of accounting, auditing, budgeting procurement, tax administration and monitoring/evaluation.
© 2014, Admin. All rights reserved.