By Philip Yatai
Saminaka (Kaduna State), Dec. 21, 2018 (NAN) Abubakar Buba, Chairman, Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Friday inaugurated the council’s Technical Working Group (TWG) to ensure that citizens of the area participate in the council’s budgeting process.
Inaugurating the TWG in Saminaka, during the council’s 2nd Budget Town Hall Meeting, Buba explained that the move was part of efforts to ensure fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability in the council.
Buba said that the TWG, made up of 16 members, eight each from government and civil society would be co-chaired by Malam Shuaibu Suleiman (government) and Mrs. Ladi Bonat (Civil society).
He said that the inauguration of the TWG marked the beginning of the domestication of the principle of Open Government Partnership (OGP) which provides platform for effective citizens engagement.
The chairman explained that the group would also ensure that budgets are implemented, and hold quarterly review forums to strengthen implementation to ensure quality service delivery.
He described the development as a historic milestone in the journey towards good governance in the LGA.
According to him, the step was a demonstration of the council’s commitment towards institutionalising the culture of citizen-centered and bottom-up approach to governance, with a view to deliver quality public service.
“We have keyed into the state’s OGP to open up governance by institutionalising and strengthening mechanism for effective citizens engagement, transparency, accountability and responsiveness.
“This is why we adopted the use of community development charter to get inputs from the people, which were collected during the First Budget Town hall Meeting on Aug. 27 and captured in our 2019 budget.
“We are here today to review the 2018 budget performance and validate the harmonized 2019 budget.”
In her speech, Bonat, the co-chair, Civil Society, commended the council chairman for his people-centered approach to governance through the adoption of various platforms for effective citizens engagement.
She promised to carry out the responsibility with humility and determination to ensure that people of the local government get the best from governance.
On his part, Suleiman, the co-chair, Government, equally promised to ensure that the people were given centre stage in major government decisions in the LGA.
Malam Jibril Abubakar, Director Budget, Planning, Research and Statistics in the LGA, said that the council has a total budget outlay of N2.9 billion for 2019, of which N1.5 billion, representing 49.3 per cent, was for capital projects.
The Emir of Saminaka, Alhaji Mohammed Sani commended the chairman for the effort, saying the people were lucky to have such a good leader that carry everyone along in steering the affairs of the council.
“We pray that God will continue to bless him with the wisdom needed to take the LGA to the next level,” Sani said.
Also, Mr. Yusuf Goje of Coalition of Association for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development said that the initiative would enable the people own the budget by deciding what should be captured through the CDC.
“What we want to see is full participation of the people throughout the budget circle in ensuring that government benefits the people and not for families and friends,” Goje said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other issues discussed at the meeting include welfare packages for students, traditional rulers, people with disabilities and widows.