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NGO urges governments to adopt open budget system

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OWERRI – A non-governmental organisation, Development Dynamics, has urged governments at all levels to adopt an open budget system to reduce corruption level in Nigeria.
The Programme Director of the group, Dr Jude Ohanele, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Owerri.
Ohanele said with open budget system, the citizens would participate more in governance and track funds budgeted for projects in their areas.
“If government should adopt this system, the people would be carried along from proposal to implementation of the yearly budget and that will help check corruption.”
According to him, “the budget is a law and should be made available to the people for them to know what government has in stock for their welfare and ask questions when the contents of this law are not kept by the government.

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“In the past, what we have experienced was for government to run secret budgets, thereby detaching the people from knowing what is listed in the budget’’.
Ohanele said that if government adopted open budget system, the level at which government officials mismanaged state funds would be reduced.
“If the citizens understand that government intends to do a water project of N500 million in their community and follow it up, it would be difficult for anybody to tamper with such fund.’’
He expressed regret that most state governments, especially in the South-East, did not make public their annual budget, adding that the practice had not only encouraged corruption, but impeded on good governance.

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“Apart from Enugu State in the South-East geo-political zone, no other state allows the people to understand what the annual budget is like; yet effective budgetary system is the best way to fight poverty,’’ he said.

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Ohanele urged leaders to encourage their subjects to participate in democratic governance by asking questions on projects and policies of government. (NAN)

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