Samuel Luka, Bauchi
With a view to ensure proper budget implementation of Agricultural sector, Actionaid Nigeria has trained stakeholders in Agriculture in Bauchi state on Budget Analysis Skills and Policy Influencing for effective engagement with the government.
The stakeholders are the members of Bauchi state Budget Committee working on the Agricultural Budget, including Civil Society Organisations, Government Officials, Media, Expert farmers among others.
The ActionAid Nigeria Food and Agriculture Programme Coordinator, Mr Azubike Nwokoye stated at the review meeting in Bauchi, recently that the meeting would enhance the capacity of the committee members on budget analysis.
He explained that the objective of the training was for the members of the budget committee in the state to brainstorm on the agricultural budget to ensure that Bauchi state has food security, especially through the agricultural budget process.
According to him, with such knowledge and analysis, the committee would know the way and manner their demands would be taken seriously by the government.
Azuike explained that budget analysis is a systematic step, which individuals and communities can use to examine, x-ray and critically breakdown the budget.
“Review and understand different aspects and stages of the budget process in comparison to the norms of good budget and its implications on their lives and environment”, the programme Coordinator said.
“With 133 million Nigerians below the poverty line, the agricultural sector holds the potential to increase the nation’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) into billions and reduce the level of unemployment and under-employment in the country”, he added.
He said as a committee working on the agricultural budget, it is important for the stakeholders to understand community problems, needs and aspirations.
Azuike further stated that as a committee you need to know how to source for and get budgetary information for example budget documents and speeches.
“Your ability to understand and perform some basic calculations as well as acquire knowledge and interest in political & governance issues especially in policies that affect the community will give you an edge in your advocacy and engagement,” he said.
“We must also understand Government driven Priorities pursued by present administrations. There is the need to understand Policy driven priorities as well as Institutionalized priorities which are pursued government after government”, Azuike explained.
He said there are also Legal priorities entrenched in the Constitution and other laws and People driven priorities, People’s aspirations and demands from the government.
“All these issues must be taken into consideration in our further engagements with the government” he said
One of the participants, Mr Ali Yakubu, commended ActionAid for the training on Budget Analysis, assuring that they will use all the knowledge acquired to effectively engage government on budget releases and implementations.