A One Day Town Hall Meeting on community needs assessment and shadow budget was organized by the Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) with support from Oxfam in Nigeria on Tuesday 30th of January, 2018 at Chadef Hotel, Asaba, Delta State. Participants were drawn from communities and development clusters around Asaba in Delta State. An inclusive budget advocacy visit to the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Rt (Hon) Sheriff Oborevwori was also embarked upon by a section of NDEBUMOG SPP II Asaba Town meeting stakeholders during this event.
The Town Hall Meeting is a communally centered platform used for the mobilization of community stakeholders, particularly, women, opinion molders, chiefs, youth leaders, aged-group leaders, leaders of communities’ association and development committees/clusters, faith-based groups, community development officers and planners within the Local Government Areas around the (THM) cluster to the gathering, among others. Among the event’s specific objectives were:
• Serve as a capacity stimulant for community dwellers, opinion molders, women and youth leaders to provide the basis for constructive engagement of government on pro-poor expenditure mechanics, which directly and indirectly affects the poor and vulnerable segments of society.
• Share knowledge about the budget circle and how communities can participate in public finance expenditure processes, including; on how they can participate in the budget making through their communally developed strategic/action plans and understanding of shadow budget, which they can use to attract development programs/projects to their clusters or as electoral accountability gauge that is essential for demand-side actors.
• Identify challenges and strategic actions that are needed to tilt fiscal structure of the government at all levels for the benefit of communities and seek ways to encourage and synergize with officials at the Federal, States and Local Government system for effective delivery of governmental and communal development blueprints for urban/rural dwellers.
• Use the (TH) meeting to improve leadership and lobbying skills, which will enable chairmen of CDCs, CDAs, CBAs, CBOs, WGs, PWDs, among others, to collaborate, mobilize and engage actors in government constructively in pro-poor legislative lobbying against shrinking civic space, and therefore, consolidate opportunities for the enhancement of Nigeria’s democracy.
Presentations and interaction during the meeting were focused on;
• Strategic influencing through Oxfam’s pathways of change: perspectives on strategic partnership and financing for development.
• Community needs assessment and action plans: the connectors with the budget cycle for effective development at the grassroots.
• Community development action plans through shadow budget: approaches and methods
• Taxation and budget within the context of development dynamics
Presentations Key Points Were focused on:
• Goals and motivation
• Actors and power analysis
• Strategy Design
• Projects planning & implementation
• Learning about fiscal architecture
• Needs assessment and why needs assessment
• The connection between needs assessment and budget
• How needs assessment affects women at the grassroots
• Relationship between livelihoods, human needs, and empowerment of women through basic economic literacy
• Strategic partnership program (SPP) and the connection with sustainable with sustainable development at the grassroots
Following robust deliberations, we the participants adopted the following action points and commit to implement and embark on actions below at community level as budget monitors;
1. Engage Local Government Chairmen, especially, the Chairman of Ethiope East LGA on Eku/Abraka Road, which is a death trap. The road was contracted about 2 years ago but not done till date.
2. The premises of Ethiope East LGA is in a state of disrepair and dilapidated and should be given the necessary intervention through repair.
3. Identify abandoned projects and contractors handling the projects
4. Embark on advocacy visit to the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning
5. Develop a shadow budget to help with effective monitoring to avoid wastages.
6. Engage relevant stakeholders in budget monitoring
7. Engage in participatory budget advocacy visit to the Delta State House of Assembly
• Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group
• Representative of Oxfam in Nigeria
• Representative of CISLAC
• Int’l Centre for Women Empowerment & Child Dev
• Aniocha North community delegates
• Oshimili South Community delegates
• Oshimili North Community delegates