ABOUT THE BOOK
The Niger Delta area in Nigeria was, for centuries, before the 1950s, a zone of peace and an environment of easy, leisurely life, as well as merry living. It was a region with an abundance of livelihood opportunities for its inhabitants. Today, however, it is described, in some quarters, as a “boiling point”. It has become the epicenter of conflicts, corruption and other crimes. It is the hub of all sorts of illegal trafficking—in crude oil, in arms and ammunition, in drugs, and even in human beings. It is, in short, the hotbed of insecurity and instability. The previously friendly natural environment of the region has been polluted,
degraded, destroyed and, therefore, become hostile to human, animal and plant habitation, existence or survival. Livelihood opportunities in the region are now few and far between. And human life in the region is nasty and short.
Yet, paradoxically, the Niger Delta is, in fact, naturally, a locale of abundance. It is rich in natural resources: luxuriant mangrove forests, a variety of fishes, arable land, and immense amount of hydrocarbon deposits. Its peoples, owing to the region’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, were among the earliest beneficiaries of western education in Nigeria and many of them are highly educated. The earliest Nigerian training colleges and secondary schools were established in the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta is also financially wealthy: in terms of resource revenue derived from it and used to swell the national coffers and also in respect of public revenue flowing into it from the national treasury. The Niger Delta is by far much better off than most other regions of Nigeria. To cap it all up, there is no dearth of development and financial plans in the region. From the famous 15- Year Niger Delta Development Master Plan, constructed with the support of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), through the Annual Budgets of the Ministry of the Niger Delta, the Annual Budgets of the State Governments in the region, and the Annual Budgets of the Local Governments in the region, one would expect to see a spectacular rate of development in the region. But is that the reality in contemporary Niger Delta?
This important question is what the book, THE BUDGET TRUTH, sets out to answer. Emanating from the productive mills of the research industry of the Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG), the book is a priceless mine of empirical data and insightful analysis. Its sixteen chapters contain invaluable knowledge on methods of impact analysis, proportions of capital projects, in the region, completed, uncompleted, on-going and with unascertained status, and recommendations on how to solve the problems thrown up by the study on effective budgeting and budget implementation.
The report encapsulated into this book is divided into 16 chapters. The first chapter captures the background of the Niger Delta Question, which brought to bear, the quest for the development of the region, and the realities for fiscal accountability, which are quite essential for the region, since trillions of Naira in allocations have so far not transformed the region. Other chapters are interesting for any reader. On 19 July 2014, the UN General Assembly's Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) forwarded a proposal for the SDGs to the Assembly. The proposal contained 17 goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues. These included ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests. On 4th of December 2014, the UN General Assembly accepted the Secretary-General's Synthesis Report which stated that the agenda for the post-2015 SDG process would be based on the OWG proposals. This Book shows the connection between budget monitoring, vis a vis budget tracking, with sustainable development. Within the SDGs, these facts are well amplified repeatedly in aspects of inclusiveness, a fact, further reinforced along the targets. Inclusiveness is one of the most lacking credentials of Africa’s democracies, including Nigeria. Participatory budget is part of inclusive governance with certain precepts, which includes but is not limited to: access to information, transparency, accountability, fiscal justice and inclusion, gender equity and several elements of social accountability, which have all been gulped down by corruption. The SDGs and the role of the civil society towards attainment of it by 2030 form the opening chapter for this Book.
The issues of transparency, accountability, anti-corruption, along with addressing fiscal injustices in the region, must be tackled before this development can become a reality, hence, the existence of the Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group, as a regional organization, which exists to bridge the gaps.
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