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Nigeria: 2024 Budget Should Represent Aspiration of Nigerians – NGO

USAID Nigeria State2State Activity, yesterday stressed that consultations before the formulation of any budget was designed to guarantee conflict management and peace building, even development, prevent mismatch of development projects and programmes and create community ownership of government projects.

This was part of the lecture delivered by State2State during the Ebonyi State 2024 Budget Consultations workshop at State2State Field Office, Abakalikii, Ebonyi State.

Giving a background of the meeting, the State Team Lead, USAID Nigeria State2tate Activity, Dr. Sam Onyia, stated that the purpose of the workshop was to ensure that the 2024 budget represented the aspirations, needs and priorities of Ebonyians through their inputs, views and engagements during public consultation.

He said: ” Our aim is to support the state to ensure that the 2024 budget represents the aspirations, needs and priorities of the citizens of Ebonyi State. The State Development Plan (SDP), the 2024-2026 medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) and the 2024-2026 medium-term sector strategies (MTSS) of the priority sectors of Education, Health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene ((WASH) should guide the 2024 budget.

“We need to be focused. Ebonyi State was supported by USAID to develop these documents and they should be effectively deployed to enable us get to where we want to get to.”

In her presentation titled “Guiding Principles for Public Budget Consultation and Requirements of the Budget Manual/Calendar” the State2State Local Government Manager, , Mrs. Victoria Eze who described budget as “a central policy document of government, showing how it will prioritize and achieve its annual and multi-annual objective” listed the importance of budget consultation to include “need to comply with policy or legislative requirements, ensure resource allocation is in line with government policy objectives priorities, serve as a reference point for performance review, even as it is a contract between citizens and the State, showing how resources are generated and allocated”

According to her, “Budget consultation can be defined as the steps taken by government to ensure that key stakeholders in the budget process are given opportunity to make input; seeking the opinions of interested and affected groups. It’s an effective engagement with the people; everybody’s interest is represented.

“Things to consider during budget consultation include spending some time explaining what your current or projected spending actually looks like, make inquiries into communities’ spending priorities for the coming financial year and explain the impact of increased spending in real terms.”

The participants, who were drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of government, representative of persons with disabilities, Civil society organizations, CSOs and the private sector, further stressed the need for an all-inclusive participation of the general public on issues revolving around the 2024 budget, involvement of the CSOs and other critical segments during budget consultations.

They advised government not to allow the annual Citizens’ Engagement in Budget consultation to be a jamboree but a realistic venture, that will aid the incorporation of citizen’s views into the formulation of the 2024 budget.

Also, the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion GESI, Specialist, State2State,

Ejiro Okotie further stressed the need for the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the budget process, so as to guarantee social justice and equity in the society.

According to her, “We want to see that the budget is very responsive to the needs of Citizens of Ebonyi State”

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