By Samuel Luka, Bauchi
A Non-governmental organization known as Better Life Restoration Initiative (BERI) has commended Governor Bala Mohammed for allocating over N600 million for people living with special needs in the 2022 budget.
The Programme Manager of the organization, Mr Ogadinma Nkem Ogbonna gave the commendation while presenting the Braille copy of the Bauchi state 2022 budget summary to the Executive Secretary, Bauchi state Agency for People Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) at her office.
He noted that the project which is been supported by USAID’s State to State activity paid attention to specific areas such as health, education as well as Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the water resources sector.
Ogbonna who noted that the state to state project focuses on issues of accountability, transparency and effectiveness in governance as well as making sure that government is able to respond to key priority areas of her people in the area of basic education, primary healthcare and water sanitation and hygiene.
He pointed out that the initiative also aims at ensuring mitigation in conflict as well as facilitating reconciliation and other issues relating to public finance management.
The Programme Manager who said they are working in Misau, Katagum and Itas-Gadau local government areas of Bauchi state, they are working on a project that is solely based on promoting participatory budget and access to Fiscal information.
“What we did today is creating that access to that fiscal information for the visually impaired. So, we were able to get key summarized budget extract of the state in three key sectors, education, health and we looked at water sanitation and hygiene WASH in the water resources”, he explained.
He said that the budgetary allocation of the aforementioned key ministries were summed up and translated into Braille before bringing in all the visually impaired stakeholders and other people living with special needs to present the document to the Agency.
“You saw how the budget that was written in braille format was read, may be for the first time in history of this state, everything was so eloquent and clear as if they were there when the budget were passed or enacted, this is a milestone”, Mr Ogbonna said.
Ogbonna who said that the budget was also translated into Hausa language, expressed delight that the visually impaired persons have been given a kind of sense of belonging by reading it to the admiration of everybody.
He appealed to Governor Bala Mohammed to out of his magnanimity, further increase the budget allocation for the people with special needs in the 2023 budget to enable more of them to benefit.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of the Agency, Brisca Joram while commending the NGO for doing a good job, said that before the coming of the present administration, the agency was in shambles, with nothing going on.
She however, pointed out that when governor Bala Mohammed assumed governance in the state, life was injected into the agency which has been functional since then.