Home Anti Corruption OGP Kaduna: Reflection on the Implementation of Commitment 1 – Open Budget

OGP Kaduna: Reflection on the Implementation of Commitment 1 – Open Budget

by Isiyaku Ahmed
0 comment

By Yusuf Ishaku Goje

It is no longer news that Kaduna State has signed into the Open Government Partnership (OGP). What is news is how well are the commitments being implemented. With the second State Action Plan (SAP, 2021-2023) gradually winding down, it is only appropriate to take a step back to reflect and review.

The first commitment of focus here will be that of an Open Budget. This will be subsequently followed by Open Contracting, Citizens Engagement, Social Inclusion, and Service Delivery. The reflection will dwell on what has worked well, what has not, and lessons for adaptation.

The integration of the Community Development Charter (CDC) in the budget formulation and implementation process, with twelve milestones, is the focus of the commitment to an Open Budget. A review of the milestones (description of outputs) shows commendable progress, with two in full compliance. The other milestones have either been partially or outrightly not delivered.

The biggest win in this area of focus is the approval of the CDC protocol by the State Executive Council.  Looking at the action plan, this seems to have fully complied with the second milestone. The pilot automation of the CDC process has also provided leverage to increase more effective citizens’ participation in the budget formulation, the submission of local governments moved from six in 2022 to twenty-one (www.citizensdemand.org) in 2023.

In addition, the Planning Budget & Commission has consistently held Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) stakeholders consultations in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Law, two Executive Budget town-hall meetings, with one not held. Also, the State House of Assembly has consistently held Appropriation Public Hearings within the same period.

Interestingly, the above milestone in the SAP was partially delivered, as budget town-hall meetings in the three Senatorial zones were not held. Nonetheless, commendably, citizens post mortem showed citizens’ influence in the 2022 approved budget. We look forward to 2023, even though no evidence to show if the 2022 nominated projects have been implemented.

Equally, there is no available evidence to show that the milestone on pre-budget meetings with non-state actors by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) was fully or partially delivered. Similarly, the same goes for the milestone on Budget Committee legislative defense conducted with citizens’ participation and inputs received.

It is laudable that the State government has remained consistent in publishing quarterly/annual MDAs budget and performance reports in human and machine-readable formats. However, these reports only provide performance in terms of releases (with ongoing debates on low cash-backing of releases in some sectors).

Disturbing, the expected annual Sector Implementation Plan (SIP) performance review report has not been made public (in line with the Kaduna State Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation Policy). This is what will give meaning to the annual budget performance (releases) reports. Worthy of mention is that more attention has been paid to budget outputs to the neglect of evaluating outcomes.

More so, other milestones without evidence of being delivered are the implementation report on projects/programs implemented by CDC; and citizens’ awareness of the revenue and expenditure position of the State through a bi-annual town-hall meeting. Also, the two milestones on the audit process have not been evidently delivered, despite progress in civil society engagements with the institutions in charge.

In all of these, there are lessons to be learned such as the urgent need to back the CDC process and budget town-hall meetings with a legal framework. This is in order to minimize government discretion. It is also key to provide timely support to the independent monitoring committee to track progress and identify and close gaps. Also, with just above two months to the expiration of the plan, some of the milestones can be met, particularly publishing the report on the CDC’s influence in the 2023 budget.

The civil society partners need to really reflect and review the current approach to look beyond celebrating activities and outputs to more emphasis on outcomes.

Also, deliberate steps should be taken to come up with a comprehensive operational framework that will deliberately expand the civic space through the Technical Working Groups as well as enhance effective communication and consultation for effective engagement in the co-creation and implementation process.

Goje is an active citizen with an interest in OGP Kaduna. He can be reached via greatnessygoje@gmail.com

You may also like

Leave a Comment