Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and a group, Centre for Youth Initiative on Self Education (CEYISED) have called on all tiers of government in the country to get involved in budget processes, citizens to ensure that their actual needs are reflected in the government plans.
Descrbing the present budgeting process in the country as one with no impetus for development owing to the non-involvement of critical stakeholders, particularly citizens in its preparation, the two bodies also decried poor consultation especially of rural dwellers before projects for implementation in their domain are selected.
These views were expressed at a 2-day Capacity Building on “Budget Processes at the Grassroot Level” organized by the Centre for Youth Initiative on Self Education (CEYISED) in conjunction with the ICPC in Osogbo, Osun state.
In their presentations, Speaker of the Osun House of Assembly, Najeem Salaam and the Executive Director, CEYISED, Mohammed Sharaf’deen, said without the involvement of the citizens, who would play critical roles in budget cycle, such budget could not be said to have met the criteria of participatory budgeting processes.
Sharaf’deen said with proper consultation with communities, the government would have adequate information about the needs of the people and meet them through budget processes.
He noted that proper consultation of the leadership structure would solve majority of the problems attached to budgeting.
He said, “To identify community needs, it is compulsory to focus on the asset and strength of a community, as these are needed to develop such community. The denial of these can lead to underdevelopment and conflict at the grassroot.”
Also, Salaam, who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Public Account, Rasheed Afolabi, said the most effective budgeting process was the bottom-up approach which gave the people at the grassroot who will be the beneficiaries of such processes the opportunity to be involve actively in their affairs.
He said, “For a budget to be successful, all the stakeholders must be well involved and engaged. That is the best way to achieve success.”
Representative of the ICPC, Baba Alaro Shuaib, said if all stakeholders were involved in budgeting, it would guarantee transparency and make citizens to have confidence in the system.