Okowa Is Determined To Ensure That Citizens’ Voices Are Heard In The Making of The Delta State Budget For 2022.
As part of the Delta State Government’s open budget policy, the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Civic Engagement and Civil Society, which is occupied by activist Rex Ekiugbo Anighoro, hosted Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Barry Pere Gbe to a citizens’ engagement and in-depth discussion on Sunday, September 5th.
The virtual event, which drew a large number of Deltans from both home and abroad, was an opportunity to bring the government closer to the people and record citizens’ desires, particularly their input and expectations for the fiscal year 2022 budget.
As the host, activist Anighoro laid a solid foundation for the discussions. He said that the Citizen’s Budgeting Process, which was spearheaded by Dr Barry Pere Gbe, the Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning, was a novel governance practice in Nigeria, and that the Governor Okowa-led Delta State Government should be applauded for it.
Dr Barry Pere Gbe gave a brief overview of the Delta State Government’s budgetary intentions for the year 2022, implying that the focus would be on medium-term planning rather than short-term or annual budgeting.
The commissioner’s brief address was followed by two hours of intense and highly interactive deliberations. Citizens spoke up and expressed their concerns about the needs of their respective communities. Civil society organisations did not miss out on the opportunity to lobby for government intervention in areas such as providing safe spaces for victims of gender-based violence, subsidising sun-screen for albinos in Delta State to help protect them from skin cancer, creating a budget line for the office of civic engagement and civil society, and driving ICT in Del.
Other citizens advocated for more private sector involvement in intervention projects, stating that the government cannot do it alone, and urging the Delta State Corporate Social Responsibility bill to be passed into law as soon as possible, as it will help the private sector live up to its corporate social responsibilities in Delta State. Other prayers called for the end of state-sponsored annual pilgrimages and the redirection of those funds to better causes. Several speakers at the event praised the initiative, praised the Honourable Commissioner for his transparency, and urged Activist Anighoro to extend a similar invitation to other Commissioners and MDAs for robust engagement.
Dr Barry Pere Gbe, Delta State Commissioner for Economic Planning, thanked everyone who took the time to attend and participate in the meeting, which he said will result in the creation of a people’s budget that truly reflects their aspirations.
Activist Rex Ekiugbo Anighoro, the Governor of Delta State’s Senior Special Assistant on Civic Engagement and Civil Society, thanked the Honourable Commissioner for taking the time to engage with the electorate. He also advised Deltans to increase their engagement with their elected and appointed government representatives to expedite the inclusion of their requests in the budget, noting that, as Dr Barry Pere Gbe pointed out, the legislature and MDAs will also have key inputs in the budget, so citizens must ensure that their representatives in government are truly representing them.
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