Plateau citizens have been called to tailor their budgetary inputs towards supporting the policies of the Government to be in tune with the state development strategy which aims at improving internally generated revenue (IGR).
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Lamba Peter Bot, made this known while addressing those present at a Town hall meeting on citizens’ engagement in the budgeting process for the central zone held at plateau state polytechnic, Jos campus held today 30th June, 2022.
Mr Lamba Peter Bot, while acknowledging that the special interface between Government and citizens in the budget preparation process was of utmost importance, as it will help strengthen transparency, accountability and sustainability of government programs as well as gain government confidence in implementation.
He said that In spite of the limited resources, the government is still responsive to its statutory responsibilities to the citizens of Plateau state.
“The citizens are the focal point of government budgeting policy and programs hence the need for their involvement at the preparatory stage. Their valuable input is key in the process because they are part and parcel of the budget. The 2023 citizen budget has to comply with a recent guideline that puts emphasis on what is known as local governance.”
“It will interest you to note that, the ministry of budget and economic planning was directed to drop the approved budget estimate of 147.5 billion Naira in the 2021 fiscal year to 101 billion Naira in 2022 which finally stood at 106.5 billionaira after legislative consideration. The desire of the government is to prepare a modest and realistic budget that will add value to the state not mere reflection of figures. I, therefore, want to appeal for understanding of the citizens in that regard.”
He said that “the 2023 budgeting process will soon commence following the same process in which a budget draft document is expected to be transmitted to the legislature in good time. The projects and programs to be encapsulated in the proposals are expected to be in line with the three-pillar policy trust of our charismatic governor, RT. Hon. Barr. Simon Bako Lalong our rescue team leader, are i. Peace, Security, and good governance, ii. Physical Infrastructure Development and iii. Sustainable Economic Re-Birth.
“Indeed, to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in governance, His Excellency, RT. Hon. Barr. Simon Bako Lalong has demonstrated continued work on all the projects inherited from the past administration since inception with most of them now completed and very few un-going.
He has also initiated new projects that are very critical and have a direct bearing on the lives of citizens cutting across the 17 local government areas of the state. Similarly, his desire and zeal for the welfare of citizens can be seen in the prompt payment of salaries and pensions.
Let me use this opportunity to remind citizens that, the recent emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that affected our economy is still with us but gradually winding up. However, more needs to be done” Mr Bot further stated
Also Speaking, A co-chair at the town hall and rep of the CivilSociety Organization, O.J Afwanks, said that the Open Government Partnership was a commendable development, having civil societies partner with the Government towards a participatory Budgeting process.
He said the move creates an opportunity for a people-oriented budget that highlights the needs of citizens, where the civil society goes to the local government to conduct needs assessments and help the communities to develop their own community plans.
Local Government Area representatives from Plateau Northern Zone made their budgetary submissions while Citizens who spoke at the town hall called for the budgeting to also capture things that promote the state in terms of tourism, economic development and return of peace.