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Abbas challenges MDAs on citizens’ participation in budget process



The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, has challenged government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to facilitate greater citizens’ participation in the budget process.

Abbas said this at a one-day citizens’ town hall meeting on the 2024 appropriation bill in Abuja on Monday.

Abbas said the House had taken the lead in facilitating greater citizens’ participation in the budget process.

‘’I challenge all MDAs to do the same.”

He said the House would review the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007 to strengthen its provisions to improve access to information and public consultation during the budget cycle.

“Specifically, we will amend the FRA to require and define public participation explicitly.”

He said the participation of Civil Society Organisations(CSOs)and development partners in the town hall meeting underscored the essence of democracy.

He added that it also underscored the power of the people to engage actively in governance and decision-making processes.

He urged them to closely examine the 2024 budget as presented to the National Assembly by President Bola Tinubu “As representatives of the people, it is our duty to ensure that the annual appropriation reflects the needs and aspirations of every Nigerian citizen.

“We are acutely aware that so many Nigerians are grappling with the challenges of soaring inflation,’’ he said.

He said the President and the NASS were committed to addressing these hardships, adding that the top priority of the 2024 appropriation bill was national security.

“Others include local job creation and poverty reduction, stressing that as a result, he labeled it the Budget of Renewed Hope.”

He called on Nigerians to support the aspirations of the budget and suggest ways through which NASS could strengthen the proposals to deliver better economic growth and development.

He urged the CSOs to contribute their quota on national development.

“Your contributions must go beyond mere criticisms to constructive and evidence-based suggestions,’’ he said.

He urged them to suggest how to improve on the budget process and make it more responsive to the needs of all Nigerians.

He said the town hall represented a major step in changing the narrative, adding that the participants were firmly committed to strengthening public engagement and seeking inputs into the budget process.

He said greater citizens’ engagement required action not just by the legislature but by also the executive.

Femi Ogunshola

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