Secretary to the Niger State Government, Alh. Ahmed Ibrahim Matane

By our correpondent

With the new innovation of budget participatory system, the people of the state
have been assured of inclusion of their needs on vital projects that would positively impact on their lives in the 2020 budget planning.

The Secretary to the State Government, Alh. Ahmed Ibrahim Matane stated this while declaring open the “Zonal Stakeholder Consultative Meeting on 2020 Budget Preparation” held at Federal College of Education, kontagora recently.

The purpose of the meeting according to him, which was the first of its kind was to have interaction with citizens of the state and bring the budget process and government planning process to them to allow them participate in the 2020 budget process and planning to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance, saying “usually, when you are estimating to do whatever it is for, to do budget for the people in terms of their future planning, their aspirations, I think we need to come to the people and that is exactly what we were trying to do in kontagora today by the special grace of God.

“This is the first of its kind where you bring the budget process and planning to the people so that they can make input, and these people were diverse, you know, we have civil society organizations, we have NGOs, the representatives of local governments and the general public so, by right they were citizens of the state, so bringing budget process to them was to show that we want a participatory budget system where people make input.

“It is not just sitting in the office to make budget planning for them, so I am happy that this government is committed to the process of open government partnership, accountability and of course good governance” Matane added.

In his presentation, the permanent secretary, Niger State Planning Commission, Alh. Usman Musa Dalau affirmed that the forum was organized to discuss vital issues concerning the budget preparation saying, it was a great opportunity given to the communities of every zone in the state to make their contributions on the process on how the resources of the state would be prudently spent on things that would have positive impact on their lives, adding that “running a democratic government was a collective responsibility” Dalau added.

In her contributions, the Director of Budget, Hajiya Aisha T. Usman stated that the programme was meant to ginger members of the public to contribute on how to succeed on the budget preparation, noting the importance of tax payment. She then highlighted some of the critical projects expected to be prioritized including; health, education, agriculture, security as well as women and youth empowerment programmes.

The co-ordinator of Open Government Partnership, the organizers of the programme, Sa’idu Jibrin, said open government partnership was an international stateholders initiative which focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizens’ participation and government responsiveness to the citizens through technologies and innovations, adding that “the OGP was trying to make the state governments more open to the citizens.”

Some of the participants from kontagora, Rijau, Mariga, Borgu and Mashegu local government areas complained on the state of hospitals, roads, schools, water, security situation among others in their localities and suggested that, priority attentions should be given to these burning issues.

The occasion was attended by some of the council chairmen, other dignitaries and members of all local governments of zone ‘c’