Home News PERL mobilises citizens to track 2022 FG budget implementation in Kaduna State

PERL mobilises citizens to track 2022 FG budget implementation in Kaduna State

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By PHILIP YATAI

KADUNA- UK-supported governance programme, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) on Friday mobilised citizens to track the implementation of the 2022 Federal Government Budget in Kaduna State.

The State Lead Facilitator, PERL, Mr Adejor Abel, said at the opening of a technical session with civil society groups in Kaduna State, that the goal was to ensure that FG’s budget benefits Nigerians.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the technical session was on the 2022 budget post-mortem with focus on education, health, and agriculture sectors.

Abel said that the sectors were selected because of their critical contributions to human capacity development.

He emphasised that tracking the implementation of the budget across the sectors in Kaduna State would ensure the needed transparency, accountability, and value for money.

He commended the effort of the civil society groups in the state that were working with the government to deliver quality services that impact the lives of the residents.

He said that PERL, a UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office governance programme would continue to support participatory governance to ensure that citizens’ voices are heard.

Mr Basil Obasi, PERL’s Public Finance Advisor, said that a key component of improving budget expenditure management had been the need by the government to improve transparency in its planning and implementation.

Obasi described budget as a “fiscal policy apparatus used by the government to channel resources into its commitment and obligations to the citizens”.

“Citizens are, therefore, critical stakeholders in the business of mobilising revenue and how public funds are used in delivering set policy objectives in line with citizens’ aspiration.

“CSOs can play an important role in ensuring transparency and accountability in the utilisation of public funds if they understand the dynamics of the budget in terms of revenue and expenditure composition.

“Therefore, strengthening CSOs ability to analyse budgets and participate effectively can play an integral role not only in policies and service delivery but also in constructing a more open and participatory democratic society,” he said.

Obasi said that the agriculture sector share in the total budget has hovered around one per cent and two of total expenditure outlay.

This, according to him, indicates a wide marginal difference between the sector allocation and the 10 per cent Maputo/Malabo Declaration, 2003.

“This is very disturbing despite the huge arable land the country is endowed with, yet difficult in reducing food insecurity.

In education, Obasi said that the share of the sector in the total budget, rather than increasing, had largely witnessed a declining trend, making the desired 26 per cent UNESCO benchmark difficult.

He said that the share of education with an average of eight per cent, indicated 18 per cent short of the UNESCO benchmark.

He added that just as with other sectors, the 15 per cent Abuja Declaration for the health sector had never been met by the federal government.

He noted a steady increase in the nominal amount budgeted to the health sector, stressing that quality healthcare service was not about big structures, but more about personnel and equipment.

Earlier, Mr Yusuf Goje of the Coalition of Association for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development, explained that the objective of the technical session was to identify federal government projects captured in the 2022 budget for implementation in Kaduna State.

Goje added that the meeting was specifically designed to empower citizens groups to track and report the implementation and utilisation of the projects for the benefits of Nigerians where they are sited.

Mrs Hadiza Umar, Citizens’ Co-chair, Open Government Partnership, commended PERL for organising the meeting, which she described as “very critical” to effective tracking of the implementation of federal government budget in Kaduna State.

“This is very important so that citizens will understand what was provided in the budget, the purpose, locations, implementing agencies and the expected benefits for the citizens,” she said. (NAN)

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