Citizen groups in Nigeria have charged the legislative and executive arms of government in the country on transparency in Nigeria’s budget process to ensure delivery of services to the people.
At a budget engagement review session in Abuja, various citizen groups drawn from constituency-based Civil Society Organizations, Community Based Organizations, Trade Union bodies, artisans’ associations, the electronic, print and new/social media, private and public sectors, faith-based organisations among others said budget must be implemented in a way that citizens would get the value.
The meeting which was facilitated by UK DFID’s Engaged Citizen Pillar of Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn Programme (ECP-PERL) reviewed previous engagements on budget process to inform deliberate, coordinated and informed steps for future engagements.
The Federal Team Leader of ECP-PERL, Mr. Greg Anyaegbudike urged citizen to come together to form a critical mass of voice to engage effectively and ensure that money budgeted is well spent, to improve livelihoods of citizens.
He said, “Citizens groups must work together and form-critical mass of voice in ensuring effective budget engagement to enhance service delivery to the people”.
The Founding Executive Director, African Center for Leadership Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) Dr. Otive Igbuzor said the session was aimed at enhancing understanding of previous inputs by partners in the budget process so as to document lessons learned to prepare for engagement with the 2020 budget.
While commending the National Assembly for the commitment to ensure timely budget process and passage, Otive urged the executive arm to ensure that budgets are well prepared and forward to the legislature on time.
Professor Simon Irtwange, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi who is also the President of National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers urged government at all levels to engage and carry citizens along on budget process.
The Senior Researcher, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ms. Hauwa Mustapha insisted that the budget process must be open and transparent and must deliver services to the citizens.