Council Workers Demand Communities’ Involvement in Budgeting…

March 11, 2017 10:46 am0 commentsViews: 9

Buhari-2016 BudgetWorkers in the 17 councils of Enugu state have demanded for the federal and state governments’ intervention to ensure that communities take part in the budget making processes at the third tier government. 

Speaking at a Dialogue/Capacity Building meeting organised by the Voice to the People project (V2P), recently at Uzowani LGA in the state, the workers insisted that allowing communities to make contributions in the budget making would not only effectively ensure easy implementation of such budget but also assuage whatever misgivings the people might have against government. 

The V2P is a Good Governance Project of the Christian Aid: Engaged Citizens Pillar (ECP), in collaboration with the Women Aid Collective (WACOL) an NGO with headquarters in Enugu. The project is being implemented in the five South East states and Kaduna state.

The V2P project is being carried out under four major outputs including; output1; Building Active Citizens: Communities are supported to engage with local Authorities, Output 2; Enhance Voice: Voice and representation of women and other socially excluded groups are enhanced, Output3, Fostering Institutionalised State-Citizen action LGA Foster Good relationship between government and Citizens and Output4: Adaptive learning for partners.

The benefitting communities are Obeja and Etiti-Akanu in Ugwunagbo LGA, and Ihite Lokpa and Umuaku in Umunneochi, all in Abia State. Other communities are Eziama and Amala in Ngor Okpala LGA, and Alike and Avutu in Obowo LGA all in Imo State. V2P project is also implemented in two communities of Akpugo-Ezedike, and Nkplogu, Uzouwani Local Government Area in Enugu State.

Selection of the communities for the pilot project, was based on the outcome of a research carried out by a consulting firm. According the baseline study these communities are the most marginalised in the various areas, in terms of development.

One of the participants who spoke at the event, Mr. Johnson Odoh said good governance was about inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and participation, adding that this would ensure that beneficiary of government services were allowed to decide their priority needs, demand them through appropriate communication channels.

According to him, although the Visit Every Community (VEC) document  prepared by the last administration was still a working document used in the preparation of the budget, there was still need for the communities to be invited over to make input in the 2018 budget.

“Some of those issues identified during the VEC process would have been overtaken by events, or may not necessary be a reflection of the community needs, that is why it has become imperative for communities to be present to make more it more effective.

Odoh, opined that this system which is a bottom-up approach produced result in the past, and should be reintroduced to ensure that community needs are prioritised in the budget.

On his part, another participant, Mr. Uche Omeh, a senior officer in the area said “the 2017 budget is already presented, our hope is that the system would apply in 2018 budget,’’. According to him, most projects are abandoned or neglected in communities, because the communities don’t feel the sense of ownership.

“When communities choose their priority projects themselves, they would protect it through the implementation period’’.

Mr. Chukwuma Igwe, another council worker stated that the present system of budgeting should be scrapped because it is not result oriented, and it has created a lot of projects, not useful to communities, stressing, “previous system of chain of communication from the people to the Revenue officer to the treasurer to the Chairman, should be continued’’.

He further noted that lack of peace in virtually all the communities in the state, is a fundamental hindrance to the development and implementation of projects in these communities. “ if you come to visit these communities, you will see they all have camps, and most often the President General (PG), and the Traditional paramount rulers are in battle of supremacy, this affects community progress,’’ he stated.

He however called on the Government; Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) to take necessary actions to engender peace in the communities across the state by playing neutrality in the chieftaincy matters.

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