A two-day training workshop on Fiscal Processes and Inclusive Budget for Selected CSOs in Rivers, Delta, Enugu and Lagos State, was organized by Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) with support from OXFAM in Nigeria on 14th and 15th November, 2016 at EEMJM Hotels and Suites, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. It was part of the Strategic Partnership Program (SPP) of Financing for Development, being implemented in Nigeria by Oxfam, through its partners. The training was aimed at building the capacity and knowledge of CSOs on fiscal processes and inclusive budget to enable them participate in budget monitoring and tracking processes.
Participants were drawn among NDEBUMOG’s stakeholders, partners, Civil Society Organizations from targeted States of Rivers, Delta, Enugu and Lagos State, as well as the media. A representative of Oxfam was also present at the workshop.
Following deliberations on issues of budgeting and fiscal processes in Nigeria, either; at the Federal, States and Local Government Areas, the participants were to observed as follows:
*That budgeting processes in Nigeria, still exclude citizens and CSOs, in spite of constitutional provisions for wide consultations and public hearings, which should be part of budget processes. Needs assessments are not carried out at the communities to determine their actual needs.
*We observe that budget processes and monitoring capacity is low among government agencies, resulting to inappropriate capturing of interests and needs of all categories of citizens, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable groups, who are hardly captured in Nigeria’s budget processes; resulting in continued perpetuation of the poverty circle.
*That measuring budget performance across the targeted states is difficult, leading to abandonment of projects, which is rampant and worrisome, due partly to, lack of continuity in government and non-consultation with relevant stakeholders;
*Budget is an Appropriation Act, when passed and signed, which makes it a public document. However, it is not easily accessible by the public. Therefore, budget document, should be published in the state governments’ website annually and consistently updated along with the releases and implementation plans.
*That the pattern of government expenditure over the years has concentrated wealth in the hands of few individuals, making the gap between the have and the have not very wide, which should be closed through inclusive budget at all levels.
*That although there are specialized ministries and departments for women affairs and social welfare, such ministry lacks the necessary backing to implement enormous social development needs of Nigeria; Consequently, issues of neglect and marginalization of women and other vulnerable groups have continued to rear their ugly heads;
* There are glaring evidence of lack of sincerity in budget planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and tracking at the Federal, as well as, States and LGA levels.
Civil Society frowns at the unresponsiveness of government to suggestions, recommendations and participation to achieve inclusive budget over the years.
From the foregoing, the participants hereby, recommend and resolve as follows:
*All MDAs should adopt the International Accounting Standard in budgeting;
*Agencies with monitoring roles should synergize with CSOs and communities in monitoring of projects implementation.
*Since budget document is a law, violation of the contents of the budget should attract serious sanctions. Budget performance should be 100 percent. Lawmakers should make laws to criminalise budget indiscipline to enhance transparency and accountability in governance.
*The National Assembly should accelerate and pass amendment for local government autonomy which shall strengthen accountability at LGA.
*CSOs should step up campaigns, partnerships and collaborations for gender mainstreaming of vulnerable groups within the fiscal space.
*Budget and fiscal frameworks at all levels should be in tandem with international best practices.
*It is necessary to enhance capacity of all stakeholders and the media that are involved in the budget and fiscal process for effective results.
*CSOs and communities should develop deeper interest in budget work and fiscal processes for collective communal good.
Participants congratulate NDEBUMOG and OXFAM for the opportunity to enhance their capacity on fiscal processes. They requested that the training should be regular, rather than a one-off event occasionally.
Centre for Environmental Human rights for Development
Affiong Linus John
Shadow Budget Women Group
Eze Faith Ogodukwu Christian
Center for Community Development (3C4D)
Rural Health and Women Development
(Shadow Budget Women Group)
Felicia Ita Effiong
Shadow Budget Women Group
Nigerian Network of Non-GovernmentalOrganisations