December 9, 2022

Jos East Stakeholders Laud Gov. Lalong Citizens Budget Process Initiative

Stakeholders in Jos East local government area of Plateau State have lauded the new initiative by the Lalong administration to engage the state citizens in the annual budget planning of the state.

The stakeholders spoke at a town hall meeting tagged, “Citizens Consultative Forum on Budget Process” where the stakeholders were expected to identify projects of priority in their various localities that should be captured in the 2023 state budget.

The stakeholders town hall meeting with the theme “Local Governance and Budget Process” was organized by the state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Jos East Local Government Area and Shalom Foundation.

In an opening address, the Chairman of the council, Mr. Yakubu Izang Ezekiel noted that the initiative will meet the yearnings of the citizens and will bring about the needed development if implemented.

He said engaging the citizens in an important state policy like budgeting is a best global practice and he is optimistic that the process will take Plateau State to the globe.

The Executive Director of Shalom Youth Development Initiative Mr. Hezekiah Panye presenting the identified project proposal to the Council Chairman, Mr. Yakubu Izang Ezekiel

The Chairman applauded the governor Lalong lead administration for initiating the process, noting that it will end the era where few people will sit and design budget for the entire state.

“When the input of the people at the community is received, it give a true reflection of their wishes…, our prayer for the government is they have the resources to implement the policy to build confidence on the citizens” he said.

He called for peaceful coexistence among people of the locality and state at large to enable government implement the policy.

The Director of Budget Planning, Research and Statistics in the locality, Mr. John Ali explained that before now, budget is written by technical team of the budget department without involving the citizens which mostly has projects that have no direct bearing to the citizens. He was optimistic that involving the citizens right from the grassroot will go a long way in helping the government to present budget that will reflect the will of the people.

Earlier, the Executive Director of Shalom Youth Development Initiative SYDI, Mr. Hezekiah Panye who facilitated the meeting, explained to the stakeholders the purpose of the meeting and what is expected of them. According to him, this is the first time the government is involving her citizens in the budget process and encouraged them on the need to follow the implementation through their representative in the state Assembly.

All the 19 state electoral Wards were represented at the meeting where they were groupped according to their wards to indicate and draft project of priority that they want the government to do in their wards to be captured in the next year budget.

Other stakeholders who spoke at the meeting include the Supervisory Councilor of Budget, leader of the council legislative arm, representative of traditional rulers, CAN and JNI where they all welcome the development and thanked the government for involving them in the process.

The meeting had in attendance, Deputy Chairman and Secretary of the local government, 19 Councillors from the 19 State Wards, Afizere Cultural and Community Development Association, Women and Youths groups among other.