Analysis: As Group Sensitizes Enugu Citizens On Government Budgeting, Implementation ProcessFeatured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Saturday, October 10th, 2015
By IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu
Over the years, the non- challant attitude,and lack of interest of Nigerian Citizens in monitoring government budget processes and implementation ,had remained a source of serious worry and concern to many bodies that promotes good governance in the country, including Non governmental organzations, (NGOs) and Civil society groups.
It is a common phenomenon that majority of Nigerians including the elites, lack the knowledge about how annual budgets are implemented at various levels of governments, be it local, State, and federal.
It is against this backdrop that an Enugu based NGO, South Saharan Social Development Organization, (SSDO), with bias on the promotion of good governance, had took it upon itself to educate and sensitize the people of South- east region on the need to frequently ask questions on how governments utilises the tax payers money, as proposed in the yearly budgets.
The organzaton, which also focuses on equipping the youths with social, economic and educational skills needed to survive, and compete favourably in the vastly changing and urbanizing sub- Sahara Africa, had in the recent past put together several workshops and seminars in the five south east states, with a view to inculcating on the people the culture of holding government accountable on issues bothering on budgets.
Determined to ensure that the people of South- East Nigeria, are truly abreast and conversant with the budgeting processes and implementation in their respective states of Anambra, Abia, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi, SSDO, had embarked on an Igbo language informative and interactive radio programme, entitled “Ego Anyi”, meaning (Our Money).
The radio Programme, which is participatory, always hinges on budgeting, as well as citizen’s rights. It started in 2014.
Speaking recently during a one day post radio programme/Town hall meeting in Enugu,Country Director of SSDO, Mrs. Grace Nwobodo, explained that the radio discussion, is aim at educating citizens of South East States on budget processes, provide opportunity for state government officials in carrying out their responsibility in budget preparation and implementation.
The programme, funded by the United State (US) based Ford Foundation, Nwobodo said, is equally designed to afford government the opportunity to explain issues relating to governance and budget, as well as provide platform for non-governmental and community based organizations working in the area of good governance and empowerment issues to showcase their programme to the larger radio audience in the States.
“This Post-radio programme Town Hall Meeting is organized to wrap-up the second grant year of the ‘Ego Anyi’ radio programme, discus its impact in the state and the issues of budget implementation, and chart a way forward.
“SSDO is poised to assist Government and its Agencies especially the new administration, in achieving development and meeting the needs of citizens in the state through a proper implementation of the budget” the Country Director added.
According to the Country Director, the organisation is fully committed towards strengthening democracy by empowering citizens to become more instrusive in the budgeting process.
She stated that since its inception in 2001 SSDO, has become a viable platform for many young women and men to learn about and explore their femininity and masculinity in a non-destructive, mutually reinforcing and respectful manner that empowers them to exploit their full citizenship.
“This post -radio programme/ town Hall meeting is also aimed at letting the citizens of Enugu state know that it is their right to ask questions on how the state budget is implement”
“As a critical instrument of governance, there is the need for the citizens to always ask question on its processes and implementation.
The Chairman, House Committee on public Accounts in the Enugu State House of Assembly, Chinedu Nwamba, who spoke on the topic “Legislative support in budget implementation” had educated participants on how state budgets are debated upon by the lawmakers before its final passage.
In a paper entitled “Budget Process, And Implementation in Enugu State” a renowned budget Analyst, Mrs. Sonia Ebere Okonkwo, had stressed the need for government to always set its priorities rights during budget preparations.
Mrs Okonkwo, frowned at what she described as misplacement of priorities during budget preparation, which according to her, had remained a major setback in the development of the State.
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