FGN/OGP Canvass for Participatory Budgeting Process in the States
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Secretariat has canvassed for an effective participatory budgeting process that brings in the voices of the unheard and underserved and considers equality of voices in decision making processes for inclusive governance.
The National Coordinator Open Government Partnership (OGP) Secretariat, Dr. (Mrs) Gloria .K. Ahmed made this call Tuesday in Lagos during the Civil Society Peer Learning Workshop organized by the OGP under the auspices of the N1.5bn World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results of the Federal Government.
The OGP Secretariat is one of the implementing partners of the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results, charged with the mandate of providing technical assistance to states to enable them achieve results in Citizens Budget, and building the capacity of civil society organizations in order to ensure the sustainability of the SFTAS Reforms beyond the programme’s timeline (2018 – 2022). Citizens’ budget is one of the Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) under the SFTAS Programme in which States are expected to achieve two Disbursement Linked Results (DLRs) namely: online publication of approved Citizens’ budget with Budget accountability report of Citizens’ participation in the budget process.
Dr. Ahmed who explained that the purpose of the engagement was to share experiences, lessons learnt and the practical ways forward to institutionalizing the achievements in all states also commended the civil society actors for successfully collaborating with the government and providing their expertise to the development of Citizens Budget and Citizens Accountability Report just as she urged participants to share the knowledge gained and the advocacy strategies that have been adopted and conveyed to improve service delivery.
“It is our hope that through this event even as the timeline of the programme comes to an end, lessons learned from these CSOs are disseminated to other civil society organizations in order to push for greater transparency and accountability at the subnational level”.
“I encourage you to be open to learn and adopt these advocacy strategies that have yielded results and see how you can contextualize them to suit your respective state realities and dynamics. In the coming year, we will be working more with you and we hope that you are as proactive as we know you to be in taking issues forward, applying good initiatives and above all, liaising with the Nigeria OGP Secretariat”.
The OGP National Coordinator told participants that the Secretariat has achieved remarkable success in delivering technical knowledge and developing tools for States Technical officers and Non-State Actors on Citizens Budget, Citizens Accountability Report, Participatory Budgeting among others. “We have also expanded support to states in adopting the OGP and developing actionable commitments”.
She stressed that since the SFTAS programme is ending in December 2022, there is the need for all stakeholders to think through sustainable measures for the outputs and objectives of each of the DLIs. “For us at the Secretariat, we have developed useful and easy to use tools for each state to adopt in reporting financial information to the citizens. Beyond this, our goal is to ensure that each state adopts a more participatory budgeting process that brings in the voices of the unheard and underserved and considers equality of voices in decision-making phases”.
In his remarks earlier, Mr Stephen Okon, the National Programme Coordinator, States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Results, Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning, who was represented by Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, the SFTAS Communications Specialist said the CSO engagement was part of the strategies for mainstreaming and sustaining the ideals of the SFTAS Programme at the State level.
Mr Okon told participants that the Ministry will continue to engage the CSOs to ensure programme sustainability post SFTAS through the provision of adequate and appropriate capacity building programmes in the different Disbursement Linked Indicators by the Implementing Agencies and Partners.