Group commend Rivers Govt on proactive disclosure of budget document

By Chimezie Godfrey

The Open Budget Cluster has commended the Rivers government for disclosure of the ’s budget in website.

This was made known in a statement signed by the Program of the Organization, Green Isaac and made available to Newsdiaryonline on Tuesday.

Isaac noted that this is the first the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike will make budget open, adding that it shows that the is ready to allow citizens engagement the .

He equally stressed that what the Rivers government has done is first step in embracing the culture of openness and .

He said,”The open budget cluster commends the efforts of the proactive disclosure of the States budgets documents in website. It’s the first this administration will make its annual budget public.

“It shows the state is ready to allow citizens engagement the state government.

“This is the first step in embracing the culture of openness and transparent governance.

“Open Budget cluster uses this opportunity to commend the Government for heading to the various advocacy, engagements, calls for in running the state budgetary processes. This is a step in the right direction.”

The Program recalled that for several years, the budget of Rivers State government has been shrouded in secrecy and opaqueness and has generated a lot of controversies amongst development and public analyst, opinion leaders, academia, financial experts, Civil Society Organizations and other Stakeholders as to why such an important and vital document that contains governments expenditures, forecast and fiscal policies should be kept away from the public knowledge for so long.

He therefore called state government to also make other fiscal and financial documents available and accessible to the public.

“In the spirit of this new found openness and disclosure, we state government to also make other fiscal and financial documents (which are by the way of public documents) available, accessible to the public.

“The process leading to the formation and formulation of the budget should also be made inclusive and participatory.

“It is believed that to uphold and promote democracy and good governance, government must be open, transparent and accountable as well as participatory and inclusive.

“We therefore, Rivers state government not to relapse after taking this giant step but to continue to embrace open and inclusive governance in order to entrench democratic values in the state.

“This we believe is one way the government can rebuild trust and gain the confidence of the people,” he stressed.