By Henry Uche
The reason for a needs-based budgeting across the three levels of government was the discourse over the weekend, organised by Yiaga Africa as part of implementing the Spotlight Initiative project of the European Union and the United Nations.
With the theme: Enhancing Gender-Responsive Budgeting (Women & Girl child in focus), the forum made up of CSOs, NGOs, representatives from MDAs at both federal and state levels, experts observed with dismay that not only had a meagre/not well tailored budget being appropriated in the past for people with disabilities and other challenges, but monitoring, implementation, accountability, and performance evaluation have been neglected- leaving the supposed beneficiaries to wallow in undue pains. For people to really receive in real term what is appropriate to them when due, CSOs and NGOs, activists, human Rights defenders, and other interested individuals were charged to follow the budget from the point of entry to the letters, using the Freedom of Information Act.
The forum advised concerned persons in the Nigerian project not to be hasty to attack Federal Government but should beam their searchlight on the state and local government and demand accountability and note that gender-responsive budgeting was not targeted at women and girl child only, but boys and people living with disabilities.
“We need to get involved in the budgeting value chain by tracking, monitoring and doing performance evaluation. Most MDAs do not make the contents of their websites clear for public use and in some cases, printed words were left blurred while some projects had no code numbers and some not specific.”
MDAs were urged to be specific and very clear when preparing budgets and ensure that every budget is well tailored to meet needs, while their websites are updated pronto to avoid the devastating effect of using wrong figures and letters.
They also called on state governors to domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, in line with their peculiarities and ensure strict implementation. “There is need for coordinated coalition against gender-based Violence. We deserve a society free of violence. The essence of gender-responsive budgeting does not translate to, asking for equal budget for both men and women, rather it is geared towards ensuring that both men and women who have been denied due Rights/privileges owing to certain negative conditions, should be defended.