Gov. Peter Mbah Avows Inclusiveness And Transparency In Budgetary Process

Peter Mbah

… holds Citizen’s Engagement on the 2024 Budget.

In tune with the processes that accentuates transparency and inclusiveness in the budgetary process, the Enugu state government led by His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Barr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah has on Saturday, the 2nd of December, 2023 through the Ministry of Budget and Planning held Citizens’ Engagement on the 2024 Budget at Nike Lake Resort, Enugu.
Governor Mbah ably represented by the Hon. Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Barr. Chris-Roberts Ozongwu in an opening remark reiterated that his administration is open to transparent budget processes. In his words; “citizens’ engagement as an important part of budget process is integral to better decision making, better planning, better budgeting and better accountability”. He further stressed that the essence of the event is to get the voices of the citizens involved in governance.

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Also, in a welcome address, the Hon. Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Barr. Chris-Roberts Ozongwu commended Governor Peter Ndubuisi Mbah for his unswerving efforts towards transparent leadership, fiscal transparency and improved public services delivery in the State. Hon. Ozongwu re-emphasized, that the meeting is to encourage participatory budget process in which a recognizable percentage of the inputs made by citizens during the event will be reflected in the 2024 budget in reality of the Governor’s mantra, “business unusual”.
He further noted that the height of the event would be the presentation of Citizens’ Accountability Report (CAR) on the implementation of the 2022 Budget of Consolidation and Transition prepared from the 2022 Audited Financial Statements in collaboration with the Civil Society Organisations, and the moment the citizens come up with their inputs for the 2024 budget.

At the course of presenting the 2022 Citizens’ Accountability Report (CAR) by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Planning, Mrs. Clara Nwakaego Ezeh and the Co-Chairman, Open Government Partnership representing Civil Society Organisation, Barr. Cromwell Chibuzor; it was pointed out that the Audited Financial Statement of the State which was produced by the Accountant General of the State is summarized in the 2022 CAR in a format that every Citizen of Enugu can easily comprehend.

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Mrs Ezeh noted that the State within the fiscal year had an aggregate expenditure of N130.4Billion equivalent of 69.9% performance rate while the revenue aggregate performance stood at 76.7%. In the sectoral recurrent expenditure, Education had 23.7% of the total allocation and a performance rate of 97.8%. However, they reiterated amongst others, the State government’s decision to increase the total allocation of Education in the 2024 Budget to 30% and a huge sum to accommodate the completion of major State abandoned projects.

In an open remark, the Former Chairman Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Amb. Lawrence Agubuzu, OON,CFR and a representative of the CSOs, Mrs Oge Enwerem jointly applauded the State Government for the massive transformation visible even to the blind in the State. Mrs Enwerem hinted that some of the priority issues like: the State government carrying a sensitization against open defecation and water/ sanitation raised in the previous citizens’ engagement were all implemented.

Present at the event were President Generals of Town Unions; Traditional Rulers led by Igwe Amb. Agubuzu represented, Women Group led by Mrs. Vera Ezeugwu, Members of the followings: Christian Association of Nigeria Enugu State Chapter; National Youth Council of Enugu State Students, Nigerian Youth Parliament, National Association of Nigerian Students, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Enugu State Female Comrades, National Youth Assembly of Nigeria, Nkanu Youth Assembly, Agbaja Youth Assembly, Nsukka Youth Assembly; United Youth Forum, Representatives of Civil Society Organisations including: Heroine Foundation, Lead Network Africa, Connected Development, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities Enugu Chapter, Divine Era Development and Social Rights Initiatives; Members of the Press.
Others include top Government Officials as well as Permanent Secretaries.

Wrapping up the event, the Hon. Commissioner, Barr. Ozongwu and the Executive Secretary of Economic Planning Commission responded to some of the issues raise as it concerns recurrent and capital expenditures respectively. Barr. Ozongwu added that the citizens should expect the reality of his Excellency’s mantra “Business unusual” as he has vowed to ensure that 40% of the citizens’ nominated projects raised in the citizens’ engagement will be reflected in the 2024 Budget.

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