COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE POLICY DIALOGUE ON ANAMBRA STATE BUDGET AND PROCUREMENT PROCESS ORGANISIED BY VOICE TO THE PEOPLE (V2P) PROJECT AT EAST END HOTEL, AWKA ON 18TH NOVEMBER, 2014
The Voice to the People (V2P) Project organized a Policy Dialogue on Anambra State Budget and Procurement Process in Awka, Anambra State on 18th November, 2014. The V2P partners include Christian Aid, Centre LSD, Development in Practice (DiP), Civil Rights Concern (CRC) and JDPC, Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka. The dialogue was attended by State government officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Economic Planning, Due Process Unit, Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBED), Governor’s office; development unions, civil society organisations, civil society networks, journalists, Student union and researchers.
The dialogue observed as follows:
1. Governments exist to ensure the security and welfare of citizens and deal with the problems of citizens.
2. Anambra state’s high population density coupled with a high rate of urbanisation is leading to overcrowding, with resultant pollution, congestion, housing shortages, unemployment; and inadequate solid-waste management, infrastructure, lack of access to safe drinking water, education, health and basic agricultural facilities.
3. One way to improve the social, economic and political well-being and better quality services across Anambra State is to enable communities to hold duty bearers to account, leading to improved responsiveness and service delivery, supported by evidence based learning and advocacy.
4. Budget is a key government tool for the implementation of social, political and economic policies and priorities.
5. Legislators are not performing oversight functions effectively.
6. The enactment of the Anambra State Public Procurement Law 2011 is highly commendable and considered as a right step in the right direction.
7. The teacher to student ratio in private schools in the state is unacceptably high (1: 143) compared to the public sector of 1: 24.
8. The ratio of health workers to the population is also very high.
The Policy dialogue commends the Willie Obiano administration for:
• Increasing allocation to the social sector from 12 percent in 2013 to 21 percent in 2014.
• Allocating two million naira for dental care in Anambra State for the first time in over ten years.
• Responding to the community charters produced in the 48 Voice to the People (V2P) communities in the state.
• For continuing with the Anambra State Budget Forum for citizens to make input into the budgetary process.
The Policy dialogue call on the Anambra State government to:
1. Increase allocation to social and economic sectors in the 2015 budget.
2. Reduce allocation to administrative cost (cost of governance) in the 2015 budget.
3. Make provision for mental health and obstetrics care.
4. Ensure that the true budget priorities align with the budget speech.
5. Focus on areas that have been neglected over the past ten years: water supply, sewage, sports facilities, power, community development, HIV/AIDs, mental health, dental health, agricultural extension services, improved technology in crops, forestry, soil conservation, livestock and fisheries and teacher training.
6. Set up the Procurement Reform Implementation Committee (PRIC) to carry on with the reform and establish the State Public Procurement Council and State Bureau on Procurement to do the work as prescribed by the Anambra State Public Procurement Law 2011.
7. Develop a procurement implementation strategic framework to guide the implementation of the Procurement law in the state.
8. Build the capacity of the bureaucracy on good procurement practices and procedures including the related institutional issues.
9. Involve citizens and CSOs in the budgetary process from needs assessment even before the budget forum.
10. Ensure that the recommendations of the communities and CSOs during the September, 2014 Budget Forum are reflected in the 2015 budget.
11. Regulate private schools in the state especially in terms of student: teacher ratios.
The Policy dialogue call on the Anambra State House of Assembly to:
a. Build the capacity of legislators and legislative aides for a better scrutiny of the State budget.
b. Ensure that approved budget reflects the priorities of government and the people.
c. Institute elaborate oversight on the implementation of the budget.
d. Ensure that the executive implements the Anambra State Public Procurement Law 2011 which it passed into law over three years ago.
The Policy dialogue call on citizens and civil society organisations in Anambra State to:
• Speak on issues concerning procurement and the budget so that government can make the decisions that will improve their well-being.
• Monitor the implementation of laws and projects that will affect their security and welfare.
• Ensure that they collect their Permanent Voters Card and vote for candidates of their choice in the forthcoming national elections in 2015.
The policy dialogue commended the Willie Obiano administration for the steps that the administration has taken especially in terms of security and increased allocation to the social sector.
The participants called on the Anambra State government to deal with the challenges of procurement and transparent and participatory budgeting that has lingered on in Anambra State for over ten years.
The participants commended the Department for International Development (DfID), Christian Aid, JDPC and other partners for initiating the Voice to the People (V2P) project in Anambra State and called on the partners to scale up the project in the coming years.
Dr. Otive Igbuzor Mrs. Eucharia Anekwe
Centre LSD, Asaba JDPC, Awka
Ms. Tochi Ibe Mr. Louis Ajih
Development in Practice (DiP) JDPC, Nnewi
Mr. Tim Onugha Mr. Adokwe Ekene, Due Process Unit,
CSOMPAN, Awka Ministry of Economic Planning, Awka
Mr. Uche Madubuko Mr. Chris Obileri
JDPC, Onitsha Purity FM, Radio Nigeria, Awka