Budget Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), says it has tracked 16, 213 constituency projects in 583 out of 774 local government areas in the country. The Foundation’s Budget Developer, Mr Henry Omokhaye, made the disclosure in Lokoja at a 2-Day Training Workshop organised by Stallion Times, an Non-Governmental Organisation Supported by McAuthour Foundation, on Thursday. The budget expert, who spoke on the topic: “Budget Monitoring: Understanding the Concept and Tracking Constituency Projects,” underscored the importance of budget tracking by citizens including the media.
Omokhaye said that the tracking was carried out in 11, 017 communities in 33 states of the country with 9, 056 successful Town Hall meetings with community members on the constituency projects. “In Nigeria tracking constituency projects became imperative in view of its importance, which include entrenching accountability, fair and equitable distribution of resources and directing policies and priorities of government. The concept of Constituency Projects, as introduced by Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime in 1999, was aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of projects to improve rural development even though not back by law. But for you to know whether these constituency projects in the Appropriation Act are being executed or not you need to engage the process,” he said. He said for the fact he Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in 2019 established CPTG Initiative with representatives from budget office, Accountant-General, CSOs and the Media to monitor projects, the citizens have the right to do same.
According to him, the first step is to identify the constituency project, visit the location, engage the community both online and offline and assist the members to write to their representative in the National Assembly. He said that the monitoring tools included cameras, Global Positioning System (GPS) device, office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) MDAs capital budget performance report, appropriation act and questionnaires. The developer warned that non inclusion of citizens in budget tracking and reporting could lead to poor execution or abandonment of the few implemented constituency projects. (NAN)