…As Kogi top in fiscal Transparency award
Kogi State has won the 1st position in North Central in fiscal transparency and Accountability award.
The awards was conferred on the state on Tuesday in Lokoja during the Launching and Dissemination of the 2022 North Central State Budget Transparency Survey Report carried out by the Social Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC).
Presenting the report and the award, the national Coordinator, State and National Budget Transparency Survey for the agency, Mr. Tijani Abdulkareem said the objective of the budget Transparency and Accountability Program is to promote focus and attention of Nigerian States towards the improvement of their budget performance in providing good governance to the citizenry.
“Good governornce start from budgeting. This reports and award is aimed at strengthening fiscal transparency to help build trust in government, facilitating accountability in public resource management and ensuring sustainability in the participating states.
Tijani said reports were collated across the six states of the North Central zone between 2021 and 2022, while the states were judged based on three parameter of Public participation, availability of their budget and over sight functions of the state legislators.
“The survey was set up as a model to improved budget Transparency amongst North Central states and pointer toward a better fiscal outcome. As in previous surveys, the SNBTS 2022 survey report, employed a questionnaire approach like the International Budget Partnership, and Open Budget Survey questionnaires which evaluate the availability of budget information (Transparency); Civic engagement opportunities in the budget process and methods; the strength of the legislature as well as the level of transparency of the North Central states’ procurement process.
“It is evident from the 2022 SNBTS on the public availability of budget document and transparency that there are positive changes, most of the North Central states now publish their budget documents in 2022 compared to 2020. Nevertheless, in terms of state by state performance, none of the states provided extensive budget information to the public in 2022. Only Kogi state can be said to be significantly transparent and provide adequate amount of budget information to the public, as they score more than 60%.
The report however chided the states legislators for failing in their oversight functions, “on Civic participation in the budget process of 2022 survey reveals clear evidence of a poor level of engagement or interaction between the legislature and the public in term of the depth of scope of the public hearings.
“Consequently, on the issues of Audit the 2022 survey reveals that not much effort was made by the states Auditors General to involve the public in the Audit phases of the budget process.”
The state commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, Asiru Idris said the award underscore the premium the state governor, Yahaya Bello placed on providing good governance
Asiru said “The success of the state in the areas of fiscal transparency and accountability can be linked to the self-discipline, as well as the institution of a transparent and accountable governance system by Governor Yahaya Bello from the inception of his administration.
“Kogi state is blessed with a Governor who provides leadership from all fronts, a professional to the core that has surrounded himself only with persons that have the capacity to deliver.
” The governor believes that governance is about the people and what ever you do must be open and transparent to the people.
“The philosophy of the Governor of the State, is making every single kobo available work for the entity of the State, hence he has instituted self-discipline, as well as transparent and accountable governance system from day one of his administration.”
The report stated that this is the second time in a row that Kogi state will top the chart in fiscal Transparency and accountability in the north Central, having won the award in 2021.
It will be recalled that Kogi came top along 5 others states of the federation in the 2022 SNBTS report, published by a non-governmental organisation, Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) in June.