LGAM, PERL Moves  for more citizens participation in the budgetary process 

By: Femi Mustapha
Local Government Accountability Mechanism(LGAM) and Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL) are  putting machinery in motion for more citizens participation in the budgetary process for effective service.
The positive role of citizens’ participation in the budgetary process on effective service delivery in the public sectors in Kaduna state can not be underestimated.
The reason for the above is that Governments in developing countries, Nigeria inclusive are increasingly becoming aware that citizens’ inputs are imperative to the development of the state as they want to be involved in the governance of the state by participating in the budgetary process because the failure of governments policies negatively impacts on the development of the country.
The citizens who are the main stakeholders are partners in the development engineering of the state and have keyed into the Community Development Charter (CDC) which is an Instrument used to generate prioritized needs of the citizens.
Kaduna State Government has made a commitment via the Open Government Partnership (OGP)in Open Budgeting and Citizen Engagement which is Key in budget preparation and Tracking.
According to Mr. Yusuf Goje of
Coalition of Association for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment, and Development (CALPED)  during a two-day Stakeholders reflection and presentation of Community Development Charter(CDC)2021 held in Zaria organized by Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM) and sponsored by Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL) said governments all over the world have recognized the rich diverse background of the citizens and inputs in making budgets development-driven.
According to him when citizens are engaged, they provide useful information that can improve efficient allocation of resources, vital information that may not be privy to the traditional bureaucracy.
Similarly, Mr, Abel Adejor the State Team Lead of PERL said CDC  is part of determined efforts to enthrone sustainable development and citizens driven budget, a budget that is intended to enable leaders to meet citizens’ expectations.
Mr. Adejor added that the essence of the gathering in Zaria is to make budgeting unique, driven by citizens’ inputs, thereby opening the window to allow the people representing diverse interest groups to be part of the state budget.
“The involvement of citizens in the making of the state budget is geared towards effective utilization of public funds based on the needs of the people,” he said
Giving credence to this the Partner State Facilitation Manager of PERL, Ashiru Sani said, his organization recognized
best practices in the budgetary process by engaging all stakeholders, which include the civil society, labour, youths, women, community leaders, and the physically-challenged legislature and government representatives.
He noted that by involving stakeholders, the budgetary process is a demonstration that citizens’ engagement in the budgetary process would demystify the process and make the government accountable to the people.
Participants at the meeting are of the view that, when citizens are involved in the budgetary process; they will have a sense of belonging and fulfillment that they are part of the making of the annual budget of the state.
One can say without any doubt that,  citizens’ participation is a clear attestation and signal of the state‘s trajectory to the path of transparency, greatness, fair allocation of resources that will result in an unprecedented level of development and Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (PERL), and Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM) deserves kudos for the engagement.
The  inputs garnered from the Engagement would provide a template in making the Kaduna  state budge a huge success and citizens friendly.
A local Government Champion, Aisha said the engagement would aid budget implementation and curb wastage usually associated with budgets.

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