Report of the SLOGOR Mid-Term Review and Implementation Support Mission
November 13–December 12, 2017
The objective of the Support to State and Local Governance Reforms Project is to improve transparency, accountability and quality in public finance and human resource management systems, with a view to strengthening governance in the participating states of Anambra, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano, Osun and Yobe. The Project seeks to build capacities and processes at state level towards improvement in public finance programming and management, and at local level, towards improvement in social service delivery.
A Mid-Term Review for the Project was carried out from November 13 – December 12, 2017. on-site in five of the States (Osun, Jigawa, Kano, Cross River and Anambra) while the review of progress of implementation of the project in Yobe State was carried out in Dutse, Jigawa State. The World Bank, European Union, National Project Coordinating Unit (NPCU), and the Federal Ministry of Finance participated in the mission. Over the course of the mission, the team met with two State Governors and senior government officials, including members of States Steering and Technical Committees (SSCs and STCs), officials from the Project Coordinating Units and Activity Executing Agencies of the States.
Objectives of the Mission
The objectives of the mission were to:
(i) Review and take stock of progress in the implementation of the project and suggest necessary adjustments and changes in light of the experience gained and lessons learned during the last three years of implementation,
(ii) Dialogue with key government officials relating to the implementation of the project activities,
(iii) Review progress of project implementation by the various Activity Executing Agencies,
(iv) Provide implementation support to the project teams; and
(v) Hold discussions with key government officials on challenges, if any, and agree on next steps and changes, where necessary.
Summary of Performance
At the effective commencement in February 2015, the project was confronted by the challenges of working with project teams and officials of states and Activity Executing Agencies (AEAs), who were unfamiliar with Bank processes and procedures. With the exception of Cross River State, which was part of the closed State Governance and Capacity Building Project, the other five States had teams which had no prior experience of working on Bank projects. In some States, the key staff of the AEAs did not appreciate the reform objectives/context or had lost implementation momentum following the delay in project preparation. The first task of the Bank team was to work with key stakeholders in the implementing states to fully understand the context of the project and better appreciate World Bank processes and procedures.
As at date, the project has disbursed Euros 20.09 million being 36.5% of the Grant amount. Though there are significant commitments across the states for various ongoing consultancies and activities, the States will need to accelerate the pace of implementation and disbursement to fully utilize the Grant by project closure. Progress towards achievement of PDO and Overall Implementation Progress (IP) are currently rated Satisfactory by the World Bank. Based on current socio-economic realities and implementation performance, the project objectives remain relevant and still on course to substantially achieving its development objectives.
The project encounters challenges in critical aspects such as:
- Implementation of procurement reforms and improving budget execution;
- Failure of the Accountants General of Anambra and Cross River States to prepare financial statements for several years, thus making it impossible for the Auditors General to audit the finances of the States;
- Non establishment of a Procurement Council in any of the States as stipulated in the respective Laws for the oversight of the regulatory agencies and where procurement tools have been developed, they are generally not available and in use by stakeholders;
- Weak commitment to implementing the strengthening of local governance by devolution of function and authority to the local government tier.
Generally, there is an increased awareness on accountability and transparency in the management of public resources. The present fiscal constraints faced by most States have created new incentives for strengthening of the Bank’s engagement on PFM reforms across the country. There was demonstrable commitment to the implementation of the Project, particularly in States like Kano and Yobe. However, in Anambra, Cross River and Osun States, ownership and commitment to the Project objectives remain very weak, thus constraining the pace of implementation. In light of the foregoing and based on assessment, the team wishes to recommend a restructuring of the project, but specifically as follows:
- Acceleration of the implementation of State Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (SIFMIS) across the committed States which will help strengthen the PFM systems of the States.
- Continuous engagement with the participating States, particularly in view of the consensus of the States that project objectives remain relevant to the programs and priorities of the States.
- Strengthening of capacity and human resources at the State Project Coordinating Units for more efficient implementation of the project in the remaining life of the Project.
- In line with the decisions of the Negotiation Meeting and the provisions of the Grant Agreement, the Bank Task Team should be allowed to allocate more resources to the States committed to the Project from the indicative funds for other States, to advance the implementation of the project in their respective States.
Based on current performance, no State met the first two requirements to receive additional funds from the Performance Challenge Fund earmarked for distribution after the MTR for the scale up of reform implementations. In this regard, decision on the utilization of the Performance Challenge Fund should be jointly taken by stakeholders.
It is also important that Ministry of Budget and National Planning carries out sensitization and engagement with participating States on the need to strengthen their public financial management systems. It is therefore recommended that frequent missions be carried out by the NPCU to ensure full implementation before the Project end date.