By Suzan Edeh
Members of the Budget Committee working on the Agricultural Budget in Bauchi State have been trained on Budget Analysis Skills and Policy Influencing in order to effectively engage the government in a more informed manner, so that their demands are taken seriously.
Speaking on the objective of the training at a review meeting that held at the Command Guest House in Bauchi, the ActionAid Nigeria Food and Agriculture Programme Coordinator, Azubike Nwokoye stated that the objective of the training was for the members of the budget committee in the state to brainstorm on the agricultural budget in order to ensure that Bauchi state have food security, especially through the agricultural budget process.
He said that budget analysis is a systematic step, which individuals and communities can use to examine, x-ray, critically breakdown, 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.
According to him, 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.
“As a committee working on the agricultural budget, it is important for you to understand community problems, needs and aspirations. 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 engagements.”
“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.There are also Legal priorities entrenched in the Constitution and other laws and People driven priorities, Peoples aspirations and demands from the government. All these issues must be taken into consideration in our further engagements with the government,” he said.
Two members of the committee, Halima Apollos and Ali Yakubu who spoke shortly after the review meeting, commended ActionAid for the training on Budget Analysis, assuring that they will use all the information acquired at the training to effectively engage government for increase in releases for the agricultural Budget.