UNICEF urges Zamfara gov’t to budget for child development

The United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF), on Wednesday urged stakeholders in Zamfara to develop new concept of budget process that would influence public finance investment for children.

UNICEF Social Policy Specialist, Sokoto field office, Mr Isah Ibrahim made the call during the closing of a two-day capacity building for members of Zamfara Assembly Committee on Appropriation, principal officers and policy makers.

The capacity building workshop which was held in Kaduna, was aimed at improving the use of domestic resources to provide important services for children.

He said the new budget process include the Medium Term Expenditure Plan (MTEP), as part of strategies to influence public finance investment for children.

According to the specialist, the workshop was in line with the UNICEF mandate of increasing state partners’ capacity to develop a realistic budget and encourage greater investment on child related interventions.

He added that the workshop would help in promoting equity, equality and social inclusion of children.

“The workshop will provide opportunity to increase critical actors’ awareness and the need to ensuring that scarce resources are used in the most efficient and effective way possible.

“Such resources should be used on impactful programmes that generate the highest positive social returns for the most vulnerable people, guarantees that services are delivered to everyone in need irrespective of geographical location”, he said.

Ibrahim also advocated for single functional code of all budgetary provisions related to children across ministries, departments and agencies in the state annual budget.

According to him, the single functional code would help in assessing and monitoring collective government allocation and expenditure for children of the state.

He stressed the need for the state partners to identify other funding opportunities to finance primary education and primary healthcare services.

Also speaking, Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Musa Bawa-Yankuzo, commended UNICEF for the workshop, saying it was useful to the legislative arm of government.

He said that it would assist them in budget appropriation and oversight functions.

In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Rabiu Garba-Gusau, said his ministry would ensure that citizens participate in the preparations of 2022 budget.

He also assured that the inputs generated from the public would be incorporated in the budget.

The commissioner thanked UNICEF for its continuous support to Zamfara government in the area of health, social protection, education, and child development. (NAN)