My attention has been drawn to the concerns raised by ISOKO PRESSURE AND GOOD GOVERNANCE GROUP on the 2018 budget.
While it is encouraging for citizens’ involvement and engagement in the budgeting process it is also advisable for us to have a better understanding of a budgeting process.
The erroneous 1% claim which is actually 2.8% is only in capital expenditure that is so spelt out for specific interventions. There are omnibus subheads in ministries of works, Health, Environment, Agriculture, Job Creation, Basic and Higher Education, Water Resources, Commerce, Micro Credit. More importantly, there are key provisions of N1.5bn and N1.3bn for social security and community development which are also for capital expenditure (whose computation by the group was distorted) in the same budget for all the 25 LGAs.
Isoko nation is one of the few local governments that have the benefit of drawing from two key budgets of Delta State and DESOPADEC. DESOPADEC has a budgetary provision of N28bn as capital expenditure for which the Isoko nation is a legitimate beneficiary.The authors most probably were unaware or uninformed, whether erroneously or deliberately, on all of these provisions. In light of this, the conclusion of this group cannot bear the burden of explanation of negligence.
In budgeting, it is impossible to identify all the issues and areas of intervention in one year and that accounts for the use of omnibus. We now have a responsibility to do an enlightenment programme for genuine citizens to educate them on budgets and budgeting process.
I would like to commend the representatives of the Isoko nation for their understanding of governance and how it works and also enjoin them to embark on advocacy in this area irrespective of such politically motivated write-ups.
We must separate serious issues of the economy from politics for obvious reasons.
Dr. Kingsley Emu
HC Budget and Planning