- Nigerian states have been urged to develop a citizens’ budget every financial year
- A citizens’ budget is a simpler and less technical version of the approved budget document for a given financial year
- A citizens’ budget template has already been developed by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) secretariat
Nigerian state governments have been urged to develop a citizens’ budget every financial year by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in order to attract financial support from the World Bank.
Legit.ng gathered that a citizens’ budget is a simpler and less technical version of the approved budget document for a given financial year and it is is designed to present key information in a comprehensible manner to the public to receive their input.
A citizens’ budget template has already been developed by the OGP secretariat and a learning event that took place in Abuja on Thursday, February 28 to test it by officials from eight states - Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Nassarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Jigawa and Yobe.
Participants at the event, shared diverse experiences of the budget process in their respective states and how far they have gone in allowing their citizens access to engage with the budget process.
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According to the OGP, states that can produce simpler citizen-friendly budgets early enough will attract financial support from the World Bank funded State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) program for results.
However, for states to fully benefit from SFTAS, they need to meet targets which require
(i) Engagement with citizens in budget formulation through public consultations with a summary published online alongside the approved 2019 budget and
(ii) Citizens’ budget based on approved state budget published online. For states to qualify for the 2019 financing, they should have citizens’ budget published online by end April 2019.
The task team leader of the SFTAS program, Saeeda Sabah Rashid who led the team from the World Bank to the event commended the states who have fulfilled the criteria of preparing their budget and hosting on line.
Mariam Sanni Dangaji, director of planning in Kaduna state commended the SFTAS program for its objective to ensure that citizens are engaged so that trust in government can be improved.
On his part, Victor Olawepo, director of budget in the Kwara state government, was full of praise for the SFTAS.
According to him, the program allows for checks and balances that gives direction to government spending and has a potential of improving performance.
The learning event was arranged by the OGP in collaboration with the World Bank and with the support of DFID PERL program of the UK Government.
Meanwhile, the British Council says anti-corruption fights in Nigeria have been frustrated by anti-graft agencies due to the inability of the agencies to work collectively and in unison.
The Council said the agencies have continued to work in silos, thus frustrating the fight against corruption by taking up isolated and high profile corruption cases without recourse to each other for cooperation.
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