PERL Emphasizes Citizen Participation in Budgeting for Good Governance, Transparency, and Accountability
By Femi Mustapha
The Partnership to Engage, Reform, and Learn (PERL), in collaboration with various civil society organizations working across different sectors of the budget, underscores the critical role of citizen participation in budgeting. This involvement is instrumental in promoting good governance, transparency, and accountability in public spending.
During a one-day technical session held in Kaduna, Mr. Abel Adejor, Team Lead of PERL, a UK-supported governance program, highlighted the need for sustained advocacy on citizen’s budgets. This approach aims to foster a more participatory and inclusive budgeting process, ensuring that public funds are allocated in alignment with the needs and aspirations of the citizens. The session focused on building citizens’ capacity for budget analysis and advocacy in preparation for the 2024 budget draft.
The program was organized by the Kaduna Local Government Accountability Mechanism and the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment, and Development (CALPED), in collaboration with Budget Research and Development Policy Advocacy Center (BREDPAC), Institute of Budget and Policy, Africa, and Ihifix, with the support of PERL.
Mr. Seth Luke emphasized the session’s objectives, which included a better understanding of citizens’ participation in budget processes, with a focus on budget analysis and advocacy, as well as tracking implementation. The aims were to deepen civil society’s capacity for evidence-based budget advocacy, particularly in key sectors like health and education, and to facilitate the review of the Kaduna Citizens’ Feedback app to enhance its user-friendliness and empower citizens to influence budget implementation.
Mr. Ishaku Yusuf Goje of CALPED defined a budget as an estimation of revenue and expenses over a specified future period, subject to periodic evaluation. He stressed that budgets can be created for various entities, from individuals and families to governments and organizations.
Budget advocacy, according to Goje, involves civil society organizations and communities influencing the allocation and expenditure of government resources to address the needs of different population groups, including key populations, women, girls, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups.
Budget analysis, he explained, is the process of comparing actual income and expenditures to the budget to ensure it remains on track. Conducting a budget analysis provides an opportunity to correct overspending and update financial forecasts.
Goje highlighted the positive impact of citizens’ participation in the budgetary process on effective service delivery in the public sectors of developing countries. He emphasized that citizens, as the primary stakeholders, play a crucial role in shaping the state’s development.
Goje stressed the importance of transparency in government, especially for administrations seeking to engage with the public and improve people’s lives. He called on stakeholders, including civil society organizations, to be actively involved in budget analysis and advocacy.
A participant, Simeon Olatunde, emphasized that the budget is the lifeblood of the economy and noted that the workshop enhanced participants’ ability to engage constructively with the government and its agencies in the budget process.