The Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Rev. David Ugolor has called on Civil Society Organizations CSO and Journalists to keep close watch on how government spends public funds follow up and report on projects being executed in their areas.
Speaking during his welcome address at a two –day workshop for CSO’s and Journalists on budget monitoring in Benin City yesterday, Rev Ugolor said where CSO’s are docile, a lot of things will go wrong.
According to him, “the CSO’s and the citizens in general have the right to participate in the different stages of the budgeting process. At the planning stage, the CSO’s can assist to organize community stakeholders to make presentation to government on their needs, during consideration at the state House of Assembly, CSO’s can participate in public hearing and budget defense.
“When the budget is being implemented and during M&E, CSO’s and citizens in general have a big role to play in monitoring the budget implementation and providing feedback to government.”
While pointing out that across the world, the works of CSO’s on budget issues have been well documented as lessons for us in Edo State,, Rev Ugolor recalled that Edo state government joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2018, thereby making history as the first state in the South South to Join the OGP in Nigeria.
In his words, “the state Action Plan (SAP) has been developed and is currently before the government for the governor’s signature. In the document, concrete commitments have been proposed for implementation across five thematic areas, namely: fiscal transparency, anti-corruption, service delivery and inclusion, access to information and citizen engagement.”
“The fiscal transparency commitments reflect budget transparency issues that Edo State government will jointly implement with non state actors. We appreciate the support from the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (ROLAC) team, European Union and British Council for funding ANEEJ,” he added.