Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said that the era when the preparation of the state budget was purely in the hands of Ministries, Departments and agencies was gone, adding that it is now the exclusive preserve of the people. Bello made the declaration during the stakeholders’ Town Hall Meeting in Lokoja.
The governor also gave the assurance that the government would henceforth, accord priority to stakeholders brainstorming on budget preparation.
Represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Asiwaju Idris, he expressed satisfaction that the state has over the years made progress in the budgeting process, adding that the stakeholders’ engagement on budget has helped the state in recording a success story and expressed appreciation to the people for always being part of the budget process.
“For the first time in the life of this administration, Kogi State came first in the North Central and one of the best in the budget accountability index. We must stay the course so that we can become better in the period ahead.
”Let me, therefore, commend you all for always interrogating our policies, and programmes and providing alternatives that speak to issues affecting our people.
”The fact that we gather here annually to hear from you as raw as you feel them demonstrates the commitment of the state to engender participatory governance in the state,” he said.
Bello noted that the world economy of which the state is part of, has in the last few years taken a tremendous hit from the effects of the lockdown era, Russia-Ukraine war, removal of fuel subsidy, insecurity and several other crises leading to worsening economy, rising inflation, unemployment and poverty.
He solicited collaboration that would lead to harvesting innovative ideas that would stimulate production, deepen participatory governance and make life more meaningful for the people.
Bello assured of better and greater years ahead for the state, adding that the incoming administration will continue to tap from the in-depth knowledge of the grassroots, experience and expertise.
In a presentation, ‘Promoting Budget Transparency and Effective Stakeholders Engagement in Kogi State: A Call To Action,’ Idris Ozovehe Muraina, chairperson, Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), described budget transparency and effective stakeholders engagement as two major pillars that serve as the cornerstone of good governance, accountability and sustainable development, pointing out that by fostering transparency and engagement, the culture of cultivating an environment of trust, inclusivity and collaboration lead to better outcomes for the people of the state.
Muraina equally advocated for budget transparency and its significance, mentioning accountability, public trust, and effective resource allocation as importance of budget transparency, adding that inclusivity and participation, collaboration and co-creation, ownership and sustainability as some importance of stakeholders’ engagement in the budgeting process.
He pointed out that the enactment of budget transparency laws, and strengthening institutional capacity is a call to action towards promoting budget transparency and effective stakeholder engagement in the state.