By Oluchi Chibuzor
A technology-driven civic organisation, BudgIT, has revealed that about 33 states in Nigeria lack portals that enable members of the public to monitor and scrutinise their annual budget performance.
This was revealed during a virtual workshop on ‘Advocacy and Budget and Project Monitoring’, organised by the organisation recently.
In his paper presentation on ‘Advocacy for Fund Disbursement and Improved Service Delivery,’ Mr. Tolulope Agunloye of BudgIT said only Kaduna and Edo States have portals where their budget performance could be monitored by members of the public, while Lagos State operates partial opening of its budget to the public.
Agunloye, who explained that accessibility to such fiscal documents would promote transparency in governance, noted that before an organisation or an individual could advocate transparency in budgets, there must be objectives, which include planning and clear specific that must be achievable.
He said: “For budgets to work, we need revenues. Without revenues, implementation of budgets would be very low. Most of the states in Nigeria except Kaduna, Edo and Lagos have portals for citizens to assess their budgets. In fact, Lagos has partial openings.
“If you want the 36 states in Nigeria to open their budgets, you have to have realistic objectives, and the people will key into it gradually. With this, we will have good governance at all levels.
“However, the current leaderships in the National Assembly have refused to open their budgets to the public, while the eighth Assembly led by Dr. Bukola Saraki did partial opening for us.”
On his part, the Programme Officer, BudgIT Foundation, Mr. Henry Omokhaye, in his paper titled: ‘Budget Monitoring/Tracking for Improved Service Delivery’, was of the opinion that budget implementation starts from electioneering process, emphasising that the quality of a leader determined the direction of budget performance.
The group revealed that it was tracking budget implementation in 32 states of the federation, except in Jigawa, Zamfara, Yobe and Borno States, as 16,000 projects had been tracked by the group in the last few years, while it had held 9,000 town hall meetings.