COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY STRATEGIC SESSION ON TRACKING GOVERNMENT’S PUBLIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IN TIMES OF EMERGENCY (COVID-19) HELD ON THE 25TH APRIL 2020, VIA WHATSAPP PLATFOM
The Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED) and partners on the 25th April 2020 facilitated a Civil Society Strategic Session on Tracking Public Financial Management System in Times of Emergency via WhatsApp platform. The Session had the objectives of – reflecting and reviewing how the civil society and media engaged governance processes within Kaduna state since the outbreak of covid-19; and brainstorm with the view of articulating pragmatic strategies as well as building consensus on how best to leverage civic-tech and OGP platforms to demand for more transparency, accountability and inclusion in PFM in the state.
The strategic session, which had eighty three (83) participants, provided an avenue for expert panelists drawn from the academia (Dr. Elisha Auta, Executive Director, BREDPAC), Legislature (Hon. Nuhu Shadalafia, Member, Kaduna State House of Assembly), civil society (Dr. Saied Tafeeda, Founder, FollowTaxes), development partners (Leslie Dongh, ICT Advisor, PERL) and media (Ehis Agbon, Producer/Presenter, Invicta Fm) to share knowledge, experiences and ideas on the subject matter. This was followed by an interactive session that generated a number of observations and resolutions.
- There is substantial decline in social and economic activities of the people, businesses and government. This is as a result of the lockdown that is affecting physical movement of people, goods and services leading to job and income loss, hunger, poverty and insecurity.
- The socio-economic effect of the pandemic has brought challenges of revenue generation which will lead to high debt profile, contraction in public spending and inability of government to deliver services.
- The Kaduna State Government was commended for the rapid and decisive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 and cushion the socio-economic effect on the state. However, not unmindful of adjustments to processes and procedures as regards the State’s Public Finance Management system.
- The government recently roll-out the Governance Continuity Plan that enable it to run the activities of the State via e-governance. However, it is worrisome that while the process of budget review and public procurement is ongoing; there is no clear-cut framework for citizen’s engagement enabled by fiscal transparency and accountability mechanism in the spirit of Open Government Partnership (OGP).
- The State House of Assembly has been supporting the Executive in the fight against the pandemic largely through sensitization of the constituents, donations and tabling the concerns of their constituents on palliatives. However, they are unable to effectively carrying-out its oversight function due to the social distancing and stay at home order.
- The media has continued to play a critical role in the fight against Covid-19 by providing daily awareness creation and updates on preventive and palliative measures to citizens. However, as front-liners, the media have not been provided with Personal Protective Equipment, and the loss of revenue is threatening their continued reportage and agenda setting role.
- With the movement restrictions, the civil society actors have not done much in leveraging on innovation and technology to demand for fiscal transparency and accountability as the government responds to the socio-economic challenges posed by Covid-19.
- Organize a network of civil society, private sector and media on Covid-19 to support the efforts of government in cushioning the effects and ensure fiscal transparency and accountability in the Public Financial Management (PFM) System
- The civil society and media will leverage on the OGP to advocate for participation in the process of reviewing the 2020 budget and public procurement
- Facilitate a capacity strengthening session for civil society and media on leveraging on the innovation and technology in tracking the State’s PFM system.
- Advocate to the government to expand its social protection interventions (the distribution of relief materials to vulnerable groups) and provision of protective equipment across the State and introduce a stimulus package for businesses in the State
- Intensify advocacy to the government on the rising cases of domestic/sexual violence, harassment by some security agents and insecurity in parts of the state.
- Engage and follow-up with the Legislature on their plans to carried-out post Covid-19 pandemic oversight to assess adherence to due process, quality of service delivery, value for money and citizen’s satisfaction.
Yusuf Ishaku Goje
Head – Leadership, Governance & Advocacy
Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED)
Journalist and Broadcast Media Consultant
Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC)
Entreprenuer/Web Service Professional