PROMAD Foundation, a civic tech organisation, bridging the gaps between government and citizens through participatory budgeting to shape development, has called on the Federal Government to engage citizens and communities in budgeting for the infrastructure support fund (ISF).
This is contained in a statement signed by its founder and executive director Daisi Omokungbe, released on Monday in Abuja.
Recall that last week, the Federal Government announced the establishment of the ISF for 36 states for intervention and investments in critical areas at the subnational levels.
According to Dele Alake, special adviser to the president on special duties, communications and strategies, the ISF would enable the subnational governments to “intervene and invest in critical areas” so as to improve “economic competitiveness, create jobs and deliver economic prosperity”.
He listed the areas to include transportation, farm-to-market road improvements; agriculture, encompassing livestock and ranching solutions; health, with a focus on basic healthcare; education, especially basic education; power and water resources”.
PROMAD said the decision of the Federal Government and the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to save some percentage of the revenue generated in June following the removal of fuel subsidy for the newly created infrastructure support fund is a welcome development.
“It is a welcome development that the Federal Government and the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has agreed to put in some savings from June revenue following the removal of fuel subsidy for appropriation for the 36 states through the infrastructure support fund”, the organisation said.
“We welcome this development because the critical areas mentioned by the government are important to lifting more Nigerians out of poverty”.
The organisation noted the fact that over 133 million citizens are living in poverty; there are 20 million out-of-school children; 75 per cent of Nigerian children lack numeracy and literacy skills; 80 per cent of our primary healthcare centres (PHCs) lack personnel, equipment, power and drugs; and 70 per cent of the population lacks access to clean and safe water for home-use & sanitation amongst other development challenges that require citizens’ engagement and needs assessment to thoroughly capture these issues for appropriation.
Omokungbe said PROMAD is calling on FG and the state governments to design and publish citizen engagement, monitoring and evaluation frameworks for the ISF.
He noted that Tinubu told Nigerians during his inauguration address of the readiness of his administration to from the on-set engage and consult Nigerians.
Omokungbe added that engagement, consultation and peoples’ participation are part of the pillars of democracy that the Tinubu administration and state governments must embrace for budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
“As an organisation deploying technology for community needs assessment for gender-responsive and participatory budgeting (GRPB), we are hopeful that FG would initiate budgeting reform as promised during Tinubu’s inauguration in May.
“We would do our best to contribute substantially in deploying civic and gov tech solutions to ensure Nigeria’s annual budget benefits the majority of citizens in the areas of agriculture, education, health, infrastructure and water resources.
“Only a budget that is gotten from a participatory process can guarantee the nomination and execution of citizen-oriented projects for the provision of social services, job creation and stable and progressive economy”, Omokungbe said.
Daisi M. Omokungbe
Founder & Executive Director