As a follow up to the budget review by the various accountability mechanisms in Kaduna state penultimate week the Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn (PERL) has invited the Civil Society groups working around several Accountability Mechanisms to a Two-day Meeting to Harmonization and Strategy on the review of the 2022 Draft Budget.
PERL State Lead Facilitator, Mr Adejor Abel, said that the objective was to facilitate sectoral analysis of the 2022 draft budget by the various accountability mechanisms,
Adding that the meeting was also to harmonize the sectoral budget analysis and strategies for budget advocacy to inform and influence the draft budget during the State Assembly Public Hearing.
The accountability mechanism includes KADMAM (Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism), LGAM (Local Government Accountability Mechanism), KADSPAC (Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition), and Kaduna Tax Justice, Budget Research and Development Advocacy, Joint National Association of Persons with Disability, Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria and the academia.
Also speaking, Joshua James, Co-Chair (Citizens), Open Budget, Open Government Partnership (OGP) pointed out that Kaduna state has made a commitment to open the budget processes for citizens to engage.
James described the public hearing as a window of opportunity for citizens to engage and influence the budget since the usual budget town hall meeting could not be held for unexplained reasons.
He said that the Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission, Mr Muhammad Abdullahi, had apologised during a meeting with citizens’ representatives of the OGP for failure to hold the budget townhall meeting.
The co-chair added that the commissioner had confirmed that the State Assembly was working towards holding the public hearing to enable citizens to engage and influence the budget.
Speaking on participatory budgeting, Mr Yusuf Goje of Local Government Accountability Mechanism, described the budget as a “legal instrument’’ for citizens to demand for the primary purpose of government – security and welfare.
According to him, participatory budgeting means that the budget belongs to the people as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution.
He pointed out that the government as representative of the people was bound to open the budget process for citizens to engage and ensure their priorities were captured.
“Demanding for participation and accountability is a right backed by the 1999 constitution and not a privilege as it appears.
“We applaud the government for taken steps to open the budget process for citizens to engage but we want the state to do more in responding to citizens priorities in the budget,’’ he said.
Gov. Nasir El-Rufai had on 12 October, submitted a proposed budget of N233 billion for 2022 fiscal year to the State Assembly for consideration.