The Kwara State Government on Friday held a stakeholders’ meeting with various civil society organisations on budget processes and implementation as part of the ongoing review of the 2020 appropriation law to cope with the global economic crisis.
“In line with the Open Government Partnership (OGP), this administration is fulfilling all conditions that are necessary for transparency and accountability, including the aspect of OGP relating to the civil society organisations (CSOs) in the areas of budget preparation as it affects the 2020 budget which is being revised,” Commissioner for Finance and Planning Florence Oyeyemi told reporters on the sideline of the meeting with the CSOs.
Oyeyemi added: “This is an avenue to discuss with civil society organisations to let them know what we are preparing and the figures we are proposing. This avails the CSOs the opportunity to make contributions for the government to better serve Kwarans.”
Those in attendance included Ajadi Ibrahim, Media Advocacy and Technology Centre; Mukaila Salaudeen, All Farmers Association of Nigeria; Bosede Anifowose, Small Scale Women Farmers in Nigeria; Pastor Ade Bodunde, Trios Human Development Foundation; Tosin Apiriola-Ajayi, Women Environment and Youth Development Initiative; and Opakunle Raphael, Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication.
Oyeyemi said the state is reviewing downward the approved 2020 budget following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the plummeting price of crude oil, which have both slowed global economic growth.
“We are revising the budget in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which is affecting global economy, including oil sector that is the main source of the federal allocation to the state. This has affected our projections and as a state we have to adjust accordingly,” she said.
“We will be focusing attention on healthcare, agriculture, water and sanitation, education and social protection sectors. We will continue with our plan on Innovation hub and Garment industry this year in order to create employment opportunities for our teeming youths.”
Speakers Bodunde and Apiriola-Ajayi commended the present administration for opening up its budgetary process, which they said was the first in the state.
“We used to be invited as observers during budgetary process in the past. I want to say this is the first time we are asked to make input into the budget rather than being mere observers. We appreciate that and we do hope that you will continue to be more transparent and accountable to rank high in Open Government Partnership,” Apiriola-Ajayi said.
The government had last year held a town hall meeting to generate input from citizens and civil society organisations as part of the 2020 budgetary process — the first of such in the recent history of the state.