POLICY ALERT DEMANDS RIVERS STATE 2022 BUDGET PUBLIC

POLICY ALERT DEMANDS RIVERS STATE 2022 BUDGET PUBLIC
…COMMENDS ORS NIGER-DELTA STATES ON IMPROVED FISCAL POLICIES

Enwono-Abasi Elisha

Policy Alert has called on Rivers State Government to publish its 2022 approved budget and Budget Implementation Report (BIR) for 2021 to enhance fiscal transparency and budget tracking for the interest of the people.

The Civil Society Organisation (CSO), working to improve economic and ecological justice in the Niger Delta region, stated this on Monday, during a media chat on the reason River State Government should join its league of Niger Delta states to improve on budgeting and fiscal transparency.

In a press statement on behalf of Policy Alert, the Head of Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Officer, Nneka Luke-Ndumere said,

“We must note that this has been an unfortunate trend with Rivers State. The state ranked the least among the South-South States in the Subnational Budget Transparency Index 2020. It has also tailed behind other Niger Delta states in all the annual performance assessments for the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability program-for-results (SFTAS) implemented by the federal government and the World Bank.”

The Organisation also called on the Government of Rivers State to make deliberate effort to reverse the narrative. Policy Alert worries that despite the boost of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Rivers State, no willful efforts have been made to enhance transparency in the disbursement of such funds.

“It is a paradox that while Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has been leading the charge for subnational fiscal autonomy, the state under his watch has failed to put in place the necessary transparency and accountability safeguards to reduce the vulnerability of its public finance system to corruption and other governance risks.”

Policy Alerts commended the Governments of other Niger Delta States; Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Bayelsa, Ondo, Abia, Imo and Delta States for publishing both their 2022 approved budgets and 2021 full-year Budget Implementation Report (BIR). The CSO noted that it is only Rivers State amongst the Niger Delta States which has not published the two financial documents.

The Programme Officer, Energy Extractive and Climate Justice, Mr. Mfon Gabriel said Rivers State has not leveraged on the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Project which the Federal Government of Nigeria is in collaboration with the World Bank to give grants to 36 States to improve their public finance.

He said Policy Alert alongside other Organisations on fiscal policies have made concerted effort to reach out to relevant MDAs in Rivers State on the issue but they have not responded yet.

Policy Alert has relaunched its campaign on #OurBudgetOurMoney and introduced a new one #PublishedRiversBudget.

The Organisation enjoined Rivers State to emulate the other eight states of Niger Delta that have made their documents public for the good of the citizens. They said, it will engender understanding on how the people’s resources were managed in previous fiscal year and how it will be managed in the new fiscal year to reinforce trust in the governance.

 

 

 

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