USAID supports six Nigerian states to improve financial transparency, governance

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) has begun work to ensure financial transparency in targeted states and improve delivery of basic services to Nigerian citizens.

The agency, through it’s State Accountability, Transparency, and Effectiveness (State2State) is currently supporting six Nigerian states to improve and strengthen their budgetary process and financial management.

The benefitting states include, Sokoto , Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Ebonyi and Akwa-Ibom states.

John Onyeukwu, the deputy chief of party, DAI, State2State Activity, disclosed this in Abuja during the 3-day state action planning workshop for the Sokoto State Transformation Committee.

Onyeukwu said the workshop is aimed at developing a workable and implementable state action plan to improve budgetary process and transparency in Sokoto state.

He explained that the state2State activity is strengthening governance system, with a focus on public financial management procurement, revenue generation, monitoring and evaluation to increase efficiency, delivery of primary health care services, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services (WASH), and basic education.

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He said this is expected to improve government’s responsiveness to citizens and increase their ability to respond to citizens’ needs and priorities.

He added that the project will also increase the capacity of governments and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to respond to conflicts through working on prevention, mitigation and reconciliation.

Onyeukwu further revealed that gender and social inclusion is mainstreamed in all aspects of the project, insisting that: “The process would ensure that those who are normally excluded – women, persons with disability, the elderly are included in the democratic process.”

He added that: “This is so that we can have a sustainable way of running the government, basically, it is institutionalising governance in the most tenable and achievable way.”

Co-chairman and Sokoto state head of service, Abubakar Muhammad, said even though Sokoto emerged overall best state in the area of transparency and budget implementation, following earlier interventions of the USAID, maintaining the status is key.

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Muhammad, who is also the Chairman state transformation committee on the State2State programme expressed optimism that the interventions of USAID will bring sustainable development to the state.

Also speaking, Mohammad Mainasara, Commissioner, Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning, Sokoto state noted that the insecurity bedeviling the state and other parts of Nigeria, is as a result of bad governance, hence the need to improve governance.

He said this can be achieved if government’s instill financial discipline in the delivery of governance.

He said in addition to addressing insecurity, the interventions of USAID will help the state recover from the economic downturns accompanied by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that the state has also improved its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which he said will be channeled for more capital projects in the state.

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