Sunday, 20 November 2016

V2P Tasks Obiano on participatory budget planning and execution


 
By Okechukwu Onuegbu

Voice to the People (V2P), a conglomeration of state and national level civil society organisations led by Christian Aid Nigeria, Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), Development in Practice (DiP), Civil Rights Concern, and Justice, Development and Peace Caritas (JDPC) Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi, has said that the government non engagement of the citizens in budget planning and execution amounts to poverty and corruption.

This, according toV2P, “is because non participatory budgeting lead to poor service delivery, massive leakage of scarce public resources into unnecessary projects, lack of budget transparency and accountability, and also, undermines the efforts to reduce poverty, improve governance, and consolidate democracy.”

Speaking at a public sensitisation programme entitled “Presentation and Dissemination of Williemetre and Infographics,” Onyeka Ebenebe, the Project Officer of JDPC, Awka, further emphasised that to have a good governance, citizens must ask questions on how public fund is spent and why funds are not allocated to certain areas of interest.

“Since government is collective responsibility, the citizens must participate in the budgeting and implementation processes through active budget tracking and project monitoring. V2P is a good governance project supporting communities in Kaduna State and the Southeast region of Nigeria to take ownership of their own development, and is funded by UK aid from the UK government.

“This is why the V2P partners have supported citizen-state engagements in participatory budgeting and other processes. A key tool in this process has been the charters of demand developed by communities in an inclusive and participatory way to prioritise development needs,” he added.

Considering the Anambra State budget implementation in selected critical sectors in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Ebenebe lamented that it was because of not carrying every stakeholders along that made the state to implement only 35% of her budget on health sector, 64%, 15%, 10%; 15%, 64%, 10%, 1% on Agriculture sector; 99%, 97%, 11%, 23% on utility sector; and 19%, 27%, 12%, 12% on Education sector.

He therefore, urged the state government to create opportunity for community leaders, civil society organisations, and others to contribute their quarter on its future budgeting to ensuring that electoral promises made by the incumbency, among other needful were interred, carefully executed and monitored.

His words, “On the 2014-2016 Anambra budget breakdown, the state internally generated revenue (IGR) were N30.92bn in 2014, N53.99bn in 2015 and N27.4bn in 2016, while the allocations from federation account allocation committee (FAAC) stood at N56.6bn in 2014, N48.04bn in 2015, and N28.5bn in 2016; and the recurrent and capital expenditures were N42.21bn and N103.19bn in 2014, N53.52bn and N110.98bn in 2015, and N48.6bn and N52.6bn in 2016.

“The budgeted capital project for 2014 to 2016 were as follow; Road, N35.6bn, N53.6bn, and N30.2bn; Reform of government and governance, N32.9bn, N26.0bn, N11.1bn; Enhancing skills and knowledge, N7.2bn, N7.2bn, and N3.0bn; Improvement to human health, N5.0bn, N5.1bn, and N2.5bn; Economic empowerment through agriculture, N5.2bn, N4.6bn, and N4.0bn; and growing the private sector, N5.0bn, N4.5bn and N387.9m.

“Other capital projects in 2014 include N300m for Anambra State Identity Management Project, N1.2bn for Quarters for Justice-Magistrate &others, N1bn rehabilitation of the greater Onitsha water supply, N2.1bn ongoing Awka water supply scheme rehabilitation and distribution, N1.65bn rehabilitation and re-equipment of general hospitals, N600m land acquisition compensation for government project.

“Those mapped out for 2015 were N1.9bn for community agriculture land development project, Anambra State rice project (N600m), N332.9m for contribution to bank of industry, N1bn for reconstruction of general hospital at Umueri, N417m for development of industrial layout across the state (Onitsha), and N500m for fishery development programme for youth empowerment through fish farming. How do we know that these were the need of people? How would people find out if they have been well executed if they were not involved from onset?”

In their various contributions, some of the stakeholders, including Nwanukwara Ncheta of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD;  Emmanuel Okolo of Ihiala Local Government Area; and Oliver Okolie of Civil Society Network, pledged their readiness to partner with the government to nip their needs to the bud.

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