… holds Citizen’s Engagement on the 2023 Budget.
The Enugu state government under the leadership of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi, CON has on Wednesday 30th of November, 2022 demonstrated his ardent belief in inclusive and responsive governance as it holds Citizens’ Engagement on the 2023 Budget through the Ministry of Budget and Planning at Nike Lake Resort, Enugu.
In an opening remark, His Excellency, the Citizens’ friendly Governor, who was ably represented by the Hon. Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Mrs. Adaonah Kene-Uyanwunne revealed that in adherence to the core value agenda of his administration; Governor Ugwuanyi has upheld a responsive-responsible governance which encourages accountability and transparency to the people; hence the core essence of Citizens’ Engagement is to get the people involved in governance.
Gov. Ugwuanyi stated that Citizens’ Engagement can be likened to “Nzuko Umunna” because it is a gathering where all participants can freely interact and also vent their anger as the case may be without fear. He noted that although this year’s Citizens’ Engagement is significant because it is the last fiscal year budget that will be executed by his administration; the Citizens’ should be rest assured that their priority needs will be incorporated into the budget. He further thanked the people whose faces he noted have remained consistent over the years in all the previous Citizens’ Engagement adding that it is a proof that they have embraced governance.
Also, in a welcome address, the Hon. Commissioner for Budget and Planning, David O. Ugwunta, Ph.D., AIF, HCIB commended His Excellency Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi CON, for remaining committed to fiscal transparency and inclusive-responsive governance since inception of his administration. He recalled that even before the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme which came up with certain Disbursement Link Indicators (DLIs) in 2018 Citizens Engagement inclusive; this administration had since 2015 offered citizens who are the beneficiaries of all government policies and programmes the opportunity to interact and make inputs in the designing of the State Government programmes and policies. The SFTAS programme has a duration of 4 years with December, 2022 as the programme end date while the Performance for Result (PforR) covered the fiscal performance of States for four years (2018 – 2021). Thus, the 2022 Citizens’ Engagement on year 2023 Budget is the 1st engagement after the end of the SFTAS PforR. As such, the Governor has ensured the sustainability of the reforms introduced by SFTAS.
Dr. Ugwunta further noted that the essence of the event was in two folds (1) to present the Citizens’ Accountability Report (CAR) on the implementation of the 2021 Budget of Recovery and Continued Growth prepared from the 2021 Audited Financial Statements in collaboration with the Civil Society Organisations, and (2) to create room as usual for the Citizens to make elaborate input in the 2023 budget. He however emphasized that the 2023 budget is a transition budget as such, Citizens are to make inputs prioritizing ongoing projects in their communities and localities for the purpose of completing them before the consideration of new projects.
During the presentation of the 2021 Citizens Accountability Report (CAR) done by a Deputy Director and Head of Budget Department, Ministry of Budget and Planning, Mrs. Clara N. Ezeh and the Co-Chairman, Open Government Partnership representing Civil Society Organisation, Barr. Cromwell Chibuzor; it was noted that the audited financial statement of Enugu state which was produced by the Accountant General of the State is summarized in the 2021 CAR in a format that every Enugu Citizen can comprehend. They noted that from the report, the State Government within the financial year had aggregate expenditure of N112.5 billion. Some of the Citizens’ nominated projects implemented in 2021 include: the reconstruction and rehabilitation of public buildings including schools and hospitals across the State; construction of flyover bridge at T-Junction, Nike Lake Road, Enugu East Local Government; completion of Nike Lake–Harmony Junction; rehabilitation of Ngwo/ 9th Mile Water Scheme and Network reticulation; rehabilitation of Urban and Rural roads among others.
Present at the event were President Generals of Town Unions; Traditional Rulers led by Igwe Amb. Agubuzo represented by Igwe Abel Ezeudo, Ada Di Iche 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, CODE, A-CODE, Divine Era Development and Social Rights Initiatives; Members of the Press. Others include top Government Officials as well as Permanent Secretaries.