From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Civil society groups working around Open Government Partnership (OGP) with support from Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) met at the weekend to check whether the concerns they raised at the public hearing on Kaduna State 2022 draft budget were captured in the approved copy.
These civil society groups working in different thematic areas of OGP had gathered on November 16, 2021, to check and raise concerns about interested budget lines in the drafted budget earlier submitted to the state house of assembly by Governor Nasir El-Rufai.
To these groups, it was only necessary to check whether the concerns they raised at the town hall meeting before the state assembly passed the budget into law and its subsequent approval by Mr governor are considered in whole or parts as promised by the leadership of the assembly.
It was against this background that (PERL) a governance programme being funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) organised a one-day reflection session on 2022 approved budget postmortem with accountability mechanisms in Kaduna State.
State Lead Facilitator, PERL, Abel Adejor, noted that the reflection meeting became necessary to know whether to commend the state assembly or otherwise based on its promise during the budget town hall meeting held in November 2021.
“Last year shortly after the state government presented the 2022 draft budget to the state assembly, PERL supported budget analysis and harmonization which was we believed it was successful to a large extent as seen in the approved budget for 2022.
“So, the implementation of this year’s budget which has captured a good percentage of the citizens’ influence has commenced on January 1. But, beyond the city’s influence, tracking of these influences is paramount”, he said.
Co-Chair, citizen arm of OGP, Hadiza Umar, remarked that since the beauty of good work is assessment, it was important for civil society in the state to look back and see whether they are doing well or not.
“I appreciate our efforts in the previous years. This new year afford us another opportunity to engage with the state budget in the interest of the citizens of Kaduna state.
“We have heard enough around urban renewal for now. We want to also see rural renewal where the state will focus on aggressive infrastructure and human capital development across the state as we implement this year’s budget which will be the last full year of this administration and we need to begin to set agenda for incoming administration”, she said.
There were presentations and discussions by representatives of Open Budgeting Technical Working Group, Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM), Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC), Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism, Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) and Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM).
At the end of the day, some concerns were dropped in the approved budget but most of the influenced portions scaled through, leading to the commendation of the state assembly.
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