By Monday Ajogun
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has said that the nation’s budgeting process should be more accountable and transparent.
The governor stated this in Benin on Monday, while addressing participants during the opening of a-four-day training organised by the state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning in collaboration with Open Government Partnership.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the programme is: “Train the trainer workshop on participatory budgeting and citizens budget’’.
He said that one of the major crises in the country was budgeting process but noted that citizens’ budget in his administration was non-negotiable.
“As an entity, whether Federal Government, State or Local Government, you know that you can only earn N100 a year from all your assumptions.
“By the time you are preparing the budget, you include that you are giving the agencies envelopes
“ At the end, you will end up putting up a budget of N200, you are only going to receive N100 and you know that is where fraud begins.
“By the time you take that document to the house of legislature, the various representatives who have things they want to put in for themselves just to accommodate their desires will add N50 to it,’’ he said.
The governor said that the budget would be N250 even if the government had calculated that N100 would be for recurrent expenditures, to pay for the running of government, N50 for capital and recurrent expenditure.
“You have to pay salaries before you do anything, now you have a budget of N250, you’ve increased your recurrent expenditure in that proportional sum, what happens year-in year-out is the bulk of the money in your budget goes to first line charge.
“There is little or nothing left on things that affect the people, building schools, roads, hospitals and infrastructure for the people”, he said.
Obaseki noted that at the political level, his administration was doing what it could to change the policy and make political players realise that they were called to serve the people.
Earlier, the resource person, Mr David Agu, analysed the importance of citizens’ output to budgeting.
He noted that it was meant to promote budgeting for strategic objectives of national and state policies as well as for sustainable development goals.
Agu said that citizen’s output had become a huge resource for policy making and implementation, including the budget.
He added that popular participation, accountability, transparency, simplification, accessibility and citizens’ feedback would lead to a budget that would likely improve service delivery and develop good governance.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs Otse Momoh-Omorogbe, said that the event would help chart a new way in budgeting process in the state. (NAN)