Delta Government Advocate Citizens Participation In Budget Process

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

In a bid to evolve citizensa�� participation in budget processes, the Delta State government has engaged Presidents-General of various communities, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Community leaders and other stakeholders on an enlightenment programme geared towards full participation in the budget of the state.

The Commissioner, Ministry of Economic Planning, Kingsley Emu, who spoke on an overview of the state budget, explained that omnibus in budget is not miscellaneous but a provision directed at specific projects, insisting that citizens could draw from it to better their communities.

Emu stated this Wednesday at a One Day Policy Dialogue on the framework for citizensa�� participation in Delta State budget Process, held at the Unity Hall of Government House, Asaba.

a�?we have decided to break it down in a simplified form for them to appreciate what we want, when they see omnibus heads, they dona��t also know that is part of the budget and they can draw from ita�? stressing that omnibus heads are meant to provide for emergency situations especially outbreak of diseases.

He said government has no powers to predicts diseases that could break out in one fiscal year, a�?there is no way we can predict diseases that will break out in one year and therefore, the only possible way to do that in terms of planning is to create an omnibus heads and they spent it for outbreak of diseasesa�?.

The Economic Planning Commissioner, also harped on the need for citizens to know that they have a say in the budgetary process, a�?it is to let them know that they have a say in the making of the project irrespective of whether they have a representatives or nota�?.

He pointed out that the enlightenment is also geared towards knowing the needs of the communities across the state just as he lamented a�?more often than not when you ask leaders to recommend projects, they recommend projects that will be domicile in the urban areas in the local governments and where they residesa�?.

According to him, a�?by what we have just done, we are taking projects to the rural areas because we have more of the rural population and their requirements are minimala�?.

He charged citizens to live up to their responsibilities as they now have a platform of feedback where they could channel their requirements as the process of 2019 budget hits up in the next two or three months, a�?we expect that we will have feedback from them from their respective communities. We will develop a template which we discussed and they put those information and we will verify those informationa�?.

The event also task citizens on their responsibility of protecting government assets in their various communities, a�?if they are building a road in your area, it is your right to see the BOQ and to see the nature of contract and know the dimension so that they dona��t go and use substandard materials for those projectsa�?.

The Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry, Benjamin Onovohakpor, in his welcome address, said budget helps a state to know where it is, adding that the programme is to enable citizens to understand the process of budget making in the state a�?and how our communities can key in and make their contributions and to understand what exactly government is doing through budgeta�?.

The programme had interactive, feedback and questions and answers session where participants were cleared on grey areas.

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SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)

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