On the 20th August, 2021, the Partnership to Engage, Reform & Learn (FCDO/PERL) supported Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment, & Development (CALPED), Budget Research & Development Policy Advocacy Center (BREDPAC) and Ground Zero radio program to facilitate a one day policy dialogue with stakeholders on Disaggregation of Citizens demand and participation in the 2022 Budget.
The participants were drawn from Planning & Budget Commission, Community & Social Development Agency, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Open Government Partnership (OGP) Civil Society Steering Committee members, Civil Society Organizations, Media, Community Development Charter (CDC) Champions and private sector. The objectives are: to dialogue with relevant planning officers, State House of Assembly and CSOs (other stakeholders) on the disaggregation of citizens demands and participation in the 2022 budget; to engage the participants the on Citizens Accountability Reporting template under the SFTAS; and to use findings of budget releases to engage the state government for improved performance by sectors ahead of budget Town-hall Meeting and Public Hearing.
The interactive dialogue generated observations and resolutions towards strengthening citizens participation in the 2022 budget formulation, in line with commitment one of the Kaduna State Open Government Partnership (OGP) action-plan.
✓Reform initiatives like the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (SFTAS) program for result have continued to make the state government more transparent and accountable.
✓The State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) program for result is an incentive-based reform initiative aimed at supporting the implementation of the Fiscal Sustainability Plan and the OGP at the State level.
✓The introduction of the Citizens Accountability Report (CAR) template, disbursement linked indicator 2.2 under SFTAS, which makes the audited financial statements information accessible in a user-friendly format for citizens, will surely improve fiscal transparency and accountability.
✓Other components of the disbursement linked indicator 2 have been delivered by Kaduna state, which are the publication of Citizens’ budget and Citizens’ input template.
✓There is the need to domesticate the Citizens’ Accountability Reporting template at the local government level, since their audited financial statements are now being made public. This will be another first, just like the SFTAS was replicated as the Local Government Fiscal Transparency, Accountability & Sustainability (LFTAS) program.
✓The mandate of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission is to ensure that all MDAs adhere to fiscal transparency and discipline. The law empowers the Commission to ensure openness and citizens’ engagement in the budget process, increase fiscal transparency and accountability, strengthen domestic revenue mobilization, increase efficiency in public expenditure and strengthen debt sustainability.
✓However, the activities of the Commission are still skeletal as they have limited number of staff, low capacity and financial constraints to be effective.
✓The Community & Social Development Agency commenced full operations in June, 2021, with the mandate to expand socio-economic infrastructure for livelihood and strengthening of small and medium enterprises in rural communities.
✓Currently the agency has gotten over one hundred requests for interventions from communities, and will be spending up to ten to fifteen million naira on community selected projects, with the community contributing ten percent of the total amount. The intervention of the agency cover health, education and water, sanitation & hygiene.
✓ Over the years, the Kaduna state actual budget performance has been more closer to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) recommendations than the approved budgets, which is inflated to accommodate political considerations.
✓ This has affected sectorial budget performances making many of them unrealistic and the government is unable to meet the needs of many communities despite being in the budget.
✓There is no evidence that the Community Development Charter (CDC), made up of the prioritized needs of communities has informed the Kaduna state budget so far. However, over the past three years it has informed on average fifty percent of the local government annual budgets.
✓The 2022 Budget Call circular has been forwarded to all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with the training of officers already conducted on how to use the budget template.
✓The Planning & Budget stated it was waiting for the civil society to submit the Citizens’ needs using the Community Development Charter, which will be forwarded to the various MDAs for consideration.
✓PERL, a governance programme of FCDO, was commended for providing technical support for citizens to hold the government to account in the governance process. It has been supporting accountability mechanisms in the state to use evidence of budget releases to engage the budget processes for improved performance.
✓The Community & Social Development Agency will partner with the CSOs and media in awareness creations, tracking and monitoring of intervention programs under the agency.
✓CSOs and Media to engage the State House of Assembly towards further opening up the appropriation process for more citizen’s participation.
✓PERL made a commitment to continue to partner with and strengthen accountability platforms to improve governance processes and citizens participation in the budget cycle.
✓CSOs to mobilize CDC Champions to submit their community needs for the 2022 budget to the Planning & Budget Commission.
✓The Planning & Budget Commission will henceforth involve academia in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) technical working group during budget preparation.
✓CSOs and media will engage the Audited Financial Statements information in the Citizens’ Accountability Reporting template to effectively hold the government accountable.
✓The Planning & Budget Commission to partner with the CSOs to domesticate the Citizens’ Accountability Report template at the local government level.
✓Fiscal Responsibility Commission to continue to ensure all MDAs adhere to fiscal discipline and work closely with the CSOs and Media towards achieving that.
Yusuf Ishaku Goje Head of Leadership, Governance & Advocacy CALPED
Dr. Elisha Auta Menson Executive Director, BREDPAC
Ehis Agbon Producer/Presenter Ground Zero radio program/Invicta fm