Deputy Speaker Kalu Attests To Credibility Of Citizens’ Participation Initiative

 

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Benjamin Kalu, says the House of Representatives’ commitment to transparency, accountability, and, most importantly, the active participation of citizens in the legislative process is credible.

He was speaking at the Citizens Town-hall On The 2024 Appropriation Bill, held in Abuja.

He encouraged Nigerians to actively participate in the process, ensuring that their voices are heard and considered.

“The budget plays a crucial role in guiding our nation’s journey by determining priorities and allocating resources. Therefore, it is essential that the budgeting process is transparent, inclusive, and reflects the needs and aspirations of our citizens.”

This town hall provides a unique opportunity for all citizens to understand the details of the 2024 budget, engage in meaningful dialogue with their elected representatives, and provide valuable feedback,” Hon Kalu said.

Valuable feedback

He noted that the town hall provides a unique opportunity for all citizens to understand the details of the 2024 budget, engage in meaningful dialogue with their elected representatives, and provide valuable feedback. I encourage each of you to actively participate in this process, ensuring that your voices are heard and considered.

“The year 2024 presents us with unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, both globally and domestically. Factors such as the war in Ukraine, global inflationary pressures, and disruptions in the supply chain have placed immense strain on economies worldwide, including ours.However, despite these challenges, the government remains committed to crafting a budget that addresses the pressing needs of the Nigerian people. The focus will be on strategic investments in defense and security, health, job creation, poverty reduction, infrastructure development, and education, among other key sectors,” he said.

He said that the government exemplifies a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility, with a projected budget deficit of 9.18 trillion naira, equivalent to 3.88 percent of the GDP, saying that the figure stands significantly below the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023, demonstrating prudent financial management.

“I have full confidence that the House of Representatives, with its dedication to the welfare of the citizens, will scrutinize and ensure that the 2024 budget is a responsible and effective utilization of public resources. To my fellow citizens, I urge you to actively engage in this budgetary process. Your insights and perspectives are invaluable in shaping a budget that truly serves the interests of the Nigerian populace,” he noted.

Interest of stakeholders

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Abubakar Kabir Bichi, said that in exercising its powers of coordinating the Appropriations process, the Committee will always maintain an open door policy to accommodate the interest of stakeholders in making the process more credible, peoples oriented and veritable instrument towards good governance.

” The Committee is determined to promote this laudable campaign which explains why this engagement is organized to provide you with the opportunity of participation, making inputs and telling the rest of Nigerians the new dimension of budget process which is open for public scrutiny and value addition from stakeholders”. Hon Bichi said.

In his goodwill message, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr. Sani Magaji Tambawal, said that the Town-hall marks the second attempt by the National Assembly to embark on what could be described as a consultative meeting on the national budget.

” The aim is to encourage inclusive participation and transparency and to prioritise the people’s opinions on government policies and programs,” he stated.

Government policies

He stressed that when critical stakeholders are not consulted before the national budget and appropriations process is concluded, it is inevitable that government policies, programs, and projects will be replicated.

Participants at the Townhall meeting suggested divergent ways to make the 2024 budget to work for Nigerians.

The event was sponsored by Policy and Legal Advocacy Center and other civil society organisations.

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