The Meeting of Professional like minds in Budget and Economic Development sectors of the nation commenced with the 2nd Stanza of the National Anthem recited as the Opening prayer at about 6pm with the Executive Governor of Enugu State; Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi ably represented by the Deputy Governor; Lolo Cecelia Ezeilo, The Hon. Minister of state for Budget and Planning; Prince Clement Agba (joined virtually), The Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Mrs., The Honorable Commissioner for Budget and Planning Enugu State; David O. Ugwunta (Host Commissioner), The Hon. Commissioner For Budget and Planning Ondo State; Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan( CoP Chairman), The Hon. Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development Enugu State; Mrs. Adaonah Kene-Uyanwune, The Hon. Commissioner for Agriculture; Enugu State; Dr. Matthew Idu,The Hon. Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning Anambra State; Hon. Mark Okoye and a host of others in attendance.
The Context Setting and Overview of the Community of Practice Meeting for the day was anchored by Dr. Mrs Gloria Ahmed; the Ag. Director, Special Duties Budget and National Planning.
She stated that the Community of Practice meeting was initiated in the year 2016 for Peer Learning and Sharing of Ideas amongst the states. It is a place where people with common ideas come together to share ideas, challenges and experiences. The Forum had its first meeting on September 21st, 2016 where the following agreements were reached:
- The need for CoP to hold Quarterly on the eve of the National Economic Council (NEC) Meeting
- Identification of area and topics of interest for members to deliberate on at subsequent meetings of the CoP;
- Creation of a WhatsApp group to be managed by the NEC Secretariat for continuous communication among members beyond the Quarterly meetings.
According to her, some key Outstanding Reforms across the States have been made so far based on lessons learnt from the CoP meetings. Some of the achievements include:
- Ten (10) Physical and three (3) virtual meetings have held focusing on key areas of interest such as Planning,, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluation, Agriculture, Use of dada for improved economic planning & IGR and Citizen engagement in the planning and budgeting process;
- Inter-State Learning visits to consolidate learning in areas of interest; Kaduna visited Lagos on IGR, Osun visited Onda State on M&E processes which have been adopted in the state;
- Improved planning and budgeting processes in the states e.g. Kwara and Kogi adopted Medium Term Planning using MTEF and MTSS;
- Inclusive planning and budgeting process in states; and
- Harnessing of citizens input into the budget and commitment to timely citizen participation in the budget process.
In addition, the coming on board of the CoP has brought about a good story in National Economic Planning hence the support they enjoy today from the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the support from the Foreign Common Wealth and Development Office as a result of which the CoP have continued to enjoy a ‘safe heaven’ where colleagues comfortably share concerns and find answers. Members have also willingly shared experiences on their success initiatives which has further enabled synergy in collaboration and planning between the Federal and State Governments.