…launches two Fiscal campaigns
By Ekemini Simon
Policy Alert, a civil society organisation (CSO) working to improve fiscal governance and ecological justice in the Niger Delta, has berated Rivers State government over its failure to publish its 2022 approved budget and full year budget implementation report (BIR) for 2021.
The organisation says Rivers State must make a deliberate effort to publish its 2022 approved budget and 2021 spending through its full year budget implementation report despite failure to meet the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability program-for-results (SFTAS) deadline of January 31.
Policy Alert stated this during a press briefing by the organisation held on Monday in Uyo.
According to the Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Officer of the organisation, Nneka Luke-Ndumere, during the organisation’s analysis of the 2022 approved budgets and full year budget implementation reports of the nine Niger Delta States, they noticed that Rivers State was caught wanting on the issue of transparency of budgets and other fiscal documents.
While commenting Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Bayelsa, Ondo, Abia, Imo and Delta States for publishing both their 2022 approved budgets and 2021 full-year budget implementation report, Policy Alert said they are disturbed to note that these two important financial documents are yet to be published by Rivers State government.
The organisation called on River State to emulate the other eight states of Niger Delta that have made their documents public explaining that greater financial openness ensures that citizens and accountability institutions can follow government programmes and actions and have access to vital information needed to hold government at all levels accountable.
Policy Alert added ” When these documents are published, citizens are enlightened on what plans the government has for them and how it intends to execute these plans. It will also help the citizens to understand how their resources were managed during the previous fiscal year and as a result, reinforce their trust in the government.
“We must note that this has been an unfortunate trend with Rivers State. The state ranked the least among the South-South States in the Subnational Budget Transparency Index 2020.
“It has also tailed behind other Niger Delta states in all the annual performance assessments for the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability program-for-results (SFTAS) implemented by the federal government and the World Bank. The government of Rivers State must make a deliberate effort to change the narrative positively”.
The organisation announced its launch of two new campaigns, tagged #OurBudgetOurMoney and #PublishRiversBudget.
Policy Alert called on members of the public and other Civil Society Organisations to collaborate, support and join them in demanding accountability and transparency from Rivers state government.