Nasarawa govt organises Town Hall meetings for citizens’ input into state budget

The Nasarawa State Government, on Tuesday, solicited the support of its citizens in budgeting, with a view to tackle the challenges facing various communities in the state.This, the government said, was also to improve the standard of living of the people across all communities in the state.Mr Haruna Ogbole, the State Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, made the call at a town hall consultation meeting on citizens’ budget participation in Keffi, Keffi Local Government Area of the state.The town hall meeting, which was organised for the Nasarawa West Senatorial district, had as its theme:

“Social Pact with the People : The Way Forward for Greater Development.”The commissioner said the meeting was to allow people make input into the budget process, in the interest of development, adding that it was also to promote direct involvement of communities in budget decisions.According to him, participatory budgeting was now being used by governments all over the world to give citizens a say on how local policies and programmes were shaped.“Citizens’ budgeting make governance more transparent and accessible to the common man. Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic deliberation and discussion, as well as decision making, by which the citizens decide how to allocate parts of the state’s budget.“

This systematic process allows the people to identify and prioritize public spending on projects and to make real decisions about how funds are utilised, “he said.Ogbole urged the participants to voice out the challenges facing their communities, without fear, in order to help the government in drafting it’s 2022 budget.He said that the Gov Abdullahi Sule’s administration was committed to addressing various challenges faced by communities, in order to improve their standard of living.Also speaking,  Mr Emmanuel Alidzi, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, outlined the objectives of the meeting and called on the people to continue to support government policies and programmes.“We are here to get your inputs, to discuss among ourselves on the issue of your needs in order to have a holistic budget.“You have to ask questions and be bold enough to tell the government the challenges facing your individual communities, so as to assist the state government in its budgeting,”

he said.Earlier, Mr Akolo Ataka, the Director of Budget in the ministry, said that the state government had planned for wider consultations, through gatherings of people based on senatorial zones, in order to collate their inputs on the budget.He said that the meeting would bring speedy development to communities across the state

.Mrs Hadiza Ibrahim, one of the participants at the meeting, appealed to the government to prioritize economic empowerment, Agricultural and infrastructural development, security, education, among others, in the state’s budget.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting had in attendance: Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Community-Based Organizations, Faith-Based Organizations, the media, youth organizations, Market women, farmers’ unions. (NAN)