The 2-day partners’ budget reflection meeting for stakeholders working around budget in Kaduna State, facilitated by Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) with support from Ukaid between Tuesday 10 – Wednesday 11 has ended.
This is even as participants at the meeting, which included KADRA, SUBEB, Kaduna State House of Assembly, KADMAM, CS and media, promised to engage 2021 budget preparations better through strategic work plan.
The meeting, which was centered among other things, on trend analysis of budget in key service delivery sectors between 2016-2020, afford the participants the opportunity to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the budget performances of years under review with a view to use the identified lapses to better the next budget.
A discussant, Yusuf Goje noted that, the meeting became necessary as an interface where critical stakeholders, on behalf of the citizens, met to see how the state can do better on its budget performance.
“The first thing is that, the meeting gave the CS, who represents citizens, the opportunity to look back and see what are the lessons learnt from previous budgets to see where we can do better.
“We are also looking at how to engage 2020 budget better in preparation for the 2021 budget. It was learnt from the focus group that, the early we start, the better for us in terms of budget performance.
“The whole essence is for the citizens to know better how their money is being spent by those they have given their mandate to represent them.
“The meeting was coming at the right time since the 2021 budget collation and all that will start second half of the year”, he noted.
Also speaking, Co-chair, both for Open Government Partnership (OGP), Citizens Arm, and Kaduna State Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM), Mustapha Jumare, related the meeting with what he was good at doing, improved accountability and transparency.
Hear him, “this meeting is very important to issues of accountability and transparency. We have used the two days to look at the budget trend between 2016-2020 which we will build on as we approach 2021.
“This is important to Kaduna citizens as we now know the grey areas and what we need to do address the identified grey areas in the interest of the Kaduna citizens”, he said.
Representative of Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria, Kaduna State chapter, Zainab Umar, expressed optimism that, improved budget would mean improved healthcare delivery to reproductive age women and under five children in the State.
According to her, “it is important aspect of Kaduna State women and their children. Budget is important, if there is transparent and all encompassing budget, it will help women at grassroots to have access to health services.
“For these two days, accountability mechanism has proven to be very important because it open our eyes to see that our vulnerable groups like pregnant women and children can go to our clinic and get needed drugs.”
A senior lecturer in the Department of Economy, Kaduna State University, Dr Auta Elisha said, “CS will be involved in the budget processes – formulation, implementation, oversight and then the auditing which is the final stage to see where the money is going.
“Where the problem lies is delay in having audited account and accountant general report which is the actual report.
“Sometimes, we see the audited account of the previous years almost a year after. That is making it difficult to see the lapses in good time in such a way that can help to guide against reoccurrence and see better performance of the proceeding year.”
The meeting was attended by the representatives of Kaduna State Road Agency (KADRA), SUBEB, Kaduna State House of Assembly, KADMAM, CS and media including Gobroadsheet.com among others.