In line with the commitment and continuous effort of the Ministry of Planning and Budget (MoPB) to strengthen its capacity towards efficient and effective service delivery, the Ministry on Thursday December 20, 2018 hosted The African Centre for Innovative Research and Development (AFRI-CIRD), to deliver a one-day capacity building entitled ‘Citizen Budget Development’. The training which had in attendance the Permanent Secretary, Directors, Deputy Directors and Principal Officers of the Ministry, aimed to expose member staff of the Ministry to understanding what a citizen’s budget is, and how to develop one. The training session which was facilitated by Mr. Mohammed Bello – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) AFRI-CIRD, was structured along opening prayers, self- introduction by both the trainers and trainees, welcome remarks by the Permanent Secretary, Training Background by the Trainer, Slides Presentation, Question, Answer & Contribution Segment, closing remarks and Closing prayers.
Following the opening prayer which was delivered by the Director – Admin & General Services, self-introduction
ensued1with everyone mentioning their names and the respective roles/positions in the ministry. This was followed by a welcome address by the permanent Secretary. In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary welcomed AFRI-CIRD’s team while commending the thoughtfulness of the Centre for such a rare innovative initiative. In his view, the Centre has taken a giant step at recognizing the very essence of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), particularly at a time when little is being done by organizations to extend such gestures to public institutions. Stressing further, the Permanent Secretary reiterated that, at the time when AFRI-CIRD’s letter to offer the training came through, the Ministry no doubt was overloaded with numerous activities, but then the Ministry had to find a way of quickly communicating that to AFRI-CIRD, particularly to appreciate AFRI-CIRD’s effort and as well register the Ministry’s commitment and rescheduling for the training. In his view, this was a welcome development, and an opportunity which the Ministry saw as never to let go without taking advantage of such. Concluding his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary urged the member staff of the Ministry in attendance to please pay attention and ensure that this great opportunity is adequately maximized.
Introducing the training session, the lead facilitator and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – AFRI-CIRD (Mohammed Bello) stated that it was imperative to give a highlight on AFRI-CIRD’s desire in offering the training, particularly to the Ministry of Planning and Budget. He stated that AFRI-CIRD has been in partnership with Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) based in Enugu in the implementation of DFID Sub – National Budget Transparency Survey (SNBTS) project. The 2018/19 project is the fourth (4th) in series. The project, he reiterated is part of the global initiative by International Budget Partner (IBP) that advances transparency in the budget and procurement processes. The project he stressed is being implemented across the 36 states of the Federation. In specifics, the project he said aims to evaluate the public availability of key budget documents, public participation in the budget process, and the public availability of the procurement information. The generated data he further stated is used to derive the ‘State Budget Transparency Index’ of Nigeria States. The index compares the performance in all the 36 Nigerian States, identifies best practices, and recommends how state budgeting and procurement systems can be more open and participatory.
According to Mohammed Bello, the survey conducted in 2015, and more recently the 2018/19 survey, showed that Kano State performance has been below average (26). In his view, several factors are responsible for the low scores for Kano; however, the non-production of a ‘Citizen’s Budget’ is also a major factor. Citizens Budget according to him is a key budget document that every state should produce as a mark of best practice, and particularly to demonstrate how inclusive and easy access to budget information is for the citizens. Accordingly, it is against this backdrop that AFRI-CIRD through its ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)’ basket, evolved with this capacity building for the ministry on how to develop a succinct citizen’s budget. It is the belief of AFRI-CIRD that if the ministry’s capacity is built, and can produce a citizen’s budget subsequently, Kano’s ranking on the ‘State Budget Transparency Index’ will improve, and such will also depict the readiness level of the state through the ministry in making the budget making process and availability an all-inclusive one that represents the best practice. Mr. Mohammed while concluding his introduction to the training reiterated that the training will employ a participatory approach whereby everyone should feel very free to contribute, especially that, such is perhaps a prerequisite to achieving the overall goal of the training.
The training which lasted for three (3) hours was quite an extensive one. It indeed captures the basics and fundamentals in the design of a citizen’s budget. The topics presented during the training include;
• What is a Citizen’s Budget?
• Why is Citizen’s Budget important?
• Who is responsible for producing a Citizen’s Budget?
• Key features of a Citizen’s Budget
• What is not a Citizen’s Budget?
• Scope of a Citizen’s Budget
• Steps in producing a Citizen’s Budget
• Challenges of producing a Citizen’s Budget
The training witnessed enthusiastic participation from member staff of the Ministry in attendance. Several contributions were made, including the Permanent Secretary. At the end of the sessions, a lot of questions were raised by the participants, and such were equally addressed by the facilitator.
In his closing remark, the Permanent Secretary expressed profound gratitude to AFRI-CIRD. In his view, considering the importance of such a training, the Ministry is willing to organize such training involving the entire member staff of the Ministry, and subsequently to the entire state. The Ministry he stated will write to its development partners, while seeking for their support to ensure a resounding training session. The Ministry will therefore appreciate if AFRI-CIRD will have the time in the nearest future to facilitate such trainings. In response, the facilitator pledged AFRI-CIRD’s commitment to support the Ministry. Mr. Mohammed further reiterates AFRI-CIRD’s readiness to honor any future engagement from the Ministry, particularly technical support, and finally on behalf of the training team expressed AFRI-CIRD’s appreciation for having such a technical team of the Ministry attend the training.
Pictures from the training