By Nathan Nwakamma
Yenagoa – The Bayelsa government on Monday said the 2021 budget would be driven by the citizens’ input and participation toward the utilisation of public funds based on the needs of the people.
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa said that the government was poised to adopting best practices in budget process by engaging all stakeholders, which include the executive, legislature, civil society, labour, youths, women and community leaders, physically challenged amongst others.
Diri, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewrhudjakpo said that the state was adopting the citizen based approach in budgetary process for the second time.
“The Citizen’s Participation Budget Conference has been called in compliance with section 22(2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Law of 2009 (as amended) which states:
“The government shall direct citizen’s participation conference to be convened and cause the outcomes of the said conference, together with the view expressed to be published on the state website.
”Itis designed to ensure accountability and strong collaboration by all stakeholders in stewarding our communal resources.
“Indeed, in reviewing and approving the annual state budget, you play the vital role of guaranteeing that we apportion our resources sensibly and in accordance with our shared vision and values, with a view toward helping all our citizens thrive and prosper in a sustainable manner.
“Budget policy is therefore, mostly about planning. As Benjamin Franklin stated, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
“The impact of COVID 19 pandemic and the heavy toll it has taken on our inflows from federal allocations, means that the need to plan to diversify our economy has become more urgent,” Diri said.
He said that the government would focus on security, health, education and agriculture in the 2012 fiscal year for allocating resources among competing needs and plan for delivering on its promises and obligation to the citizens of Bayelsa.
Speaking earlier, Mr Akpoebidei Alamieyeseigha, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning noted that the participation of citizens would eliminate the issue of duplicating projects and ensure value for money.
He said that the input of the people at the foundational non-technical stage was critical to the success of the next statues and urged the stakeholders to participate meaningfully in the process.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of several groups took turns to make contributions and the NEEDS Assessment during the interactive session segment.
Chief Joshua Igbugburu, the Monarch of Bomo clan in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa urged the state government to fund the Yenagoa-Poroma road project to connect the coastal communities.
Also Mrs Dise Ogbise, the Executive Director, DO Foundation, who spoke on behalf of the Civil Society commended the government for adopting a transparent approach by involving members of the public.
She pledged the support of civil society organisations in the state to the process.