Civil Society groups working around public accountability in Kaduna State on Friday harped on the need for citizens to be actively involved in all the budget processes especially as Kaduna State government develops the 2022 annual budget.
Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace Empowerment & Development (CALPED), Budget Research & Development Policy Advocacy Centre (BREDPAC), Open Kaduna Radio and Ground Zero Radio with support from Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (FCDO/PERL), had organised a one-day dialogue with relevant planning officers, State House of Assembly, and civil society on desegregation of citizens’ demands and participation in the 2022 budget.
Lead, CALPED in Kaduna, Yusuf Goje, who anchored the event noted that, the coming together of government agencies, Kaduna State House of Assembly and civil society groups became necessary in advancing the Kaduna Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitment on open budget.
According to him, the dialogue with relevant planning officers, SHoA and CSOs on the disaggregation of citizens demands and participation in the 2022 budget, engagement with the government actors on Citizens Accountability Report (CAR) and use findings of budget releases to engage the state government for improved performance by sectors ahead of budget town hall meeting and public hearing would guarantee healthy demand and supply sides of public expenditures in the state.
“If the citizens own the budget since their needs are what the budget is developed to meet, then, they should participate actively in all the budget processes so that those prioritised needs are met.
“The era of government and citizens fighting is over in the sense that whatever government is doing without having citizens buy-in is not sustainable because government will come and go but the citizens will remain”, Goje said.
Deputy Director, Budget, Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), Linda Yakubu, described the dialogue as a welcome development quickly added that, her commission has been making budget available to citizens both in soft and hard copy as OGP demands.
“This is a welcome development. We have a cordial relationship with CSOs who keep putting us on our toes so we can get engaged productively”, she said.
General Manager, Community and Social Development Agency, Engr Muhammed S. Abdulahi noted that since development is all about synergy, we need all hands to be on deck especially as Kaduna State Government plans to achieve the millennium development goals.
“We will engage ourselves and our doors are open for citizens to come and tell us what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong so we can move the state forward.
In a goodwill message, Director, Revenue Realization and Fiscal Transparency, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Kaduna, Josiah G. Dum, challenged MDAs involved in fiscal responsibilities to do their work well as her commission would them on their toes based on their commitments.
Team Lead, FCDO/PERL in Kaduna, Abel Adejor, restated the commitment of his organisation to support citizens’s engagement in such a way that, they can continue even after the programme winds up.
“We are happy that we had a conversation with relevant stakeholders before now. Supporting this process, looking at a way of sustainability, hence, the need for civil society groups to lead the process so that they can continue with important discussions such as this even when PERL programme is no more.
“Now is era of consolidation and synergy. We will continue to provide technical support towards citizens’ engagement design to improve good governance in the state”, he added.