KWSG reacts to BudgIT report


…explains budget summary

By Matthew Denis

The Kwara State Government has reacted to BudgIT report published online, which alleged non-transparency in the state’s 2018 budget.

Speaking in a telephone chat with Pilot Business on Wednesday, the state Commissioner for Planning and Economic Development, Alh. Wasiu Odewale, explained that the state government only published budget content that people can relate with.

“I read it online that 15 states of the 36 states of the federation have publicised their 2018 budget. But I looked at the positive and negative aspects of it.

“The Federal Government as at today is yet to publish its 2018 budget as it has just been signed. We should know that budget is always in three forms. The summary for people to be able to analyse while those who want details have to go to the state.

He said the state government should rather be commended for publishing its budget as required by law.

“Other states of the federation are yet to publish theirs. Kwara State was among the first three states that signed the 2018 budget into Law therefore the accolades should be accorded to it for that achievement.

He added that Kwara is on the right course, adding that there is no basis for the allegation.

He said, ” Lagos is an experienced state when it comes to budgetary. So for Kwara to be following what Lagos is doing, means we are on the right path.

“Anybody who needs detailed information on the budget should clarify from the state government. We have given detailed information on road construction and the amount, education, and economy and that is what our people want to know as released online.

Recall that the BudgiT report stated that less than half of Nigeria’s 36 states have made their 2018 budget available online to the public.

Of the 15 states that have done so, only 13 states provided full details of the budget, a civic transparency group, BudgIT said on Tuesday.

The group, therefore, urged Nigerians to demand that their states make details of their budgets available.

Mr Abiola Afolabi, the organisation’s communications lead, listed states that have made the budgets public to include “Borno, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau and Yobe.”

Two of these, Lagos and Kwara, however, did not provide full details of their budgets.

The organisation said while Lagos and Kwara States provided a summary of their budgets on the government websites, the document provided lacked actionable details with which citizens could hold their elected officials accountable.

Afolabi said officials of his organisation observed these while conducting an online assessment on the availability of public finance documents in state government domains.

On Tuesday, BudgIT said it also observed the same in its review of Lagos, and Kwara’s finances.

“Our organisation would like to state explicitly that Lagos and Kwara States have a history of opacity over the years and are notorious for resisting attempts by citizens to pry into the affairs of the state.

“Shrouding public finance information in secrecy thereby encourages corruption and mediocre performance in the states.

“It is commendable that the states released full budget documents to the public, but it must be published within a reasonable timeframe,” he added.

“States with partially detailed budgets documents in public domains must provide details of capital projects being executed for the fiscal year,” Afolabi said.

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