By Patience Ogbodo, Correspondent, Bauchi
A Bauchi State-based non-governmental organization, Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has said that persistent delayed commencement of budget implementation in the state leads to recurring late presentation, passage, and its assent.
Addressing a press conference in Bauchi weekend, CITAD Director, Ya’u Zakariyya Ya’u said because constitutionally and conventionally the budget year starts from January 1 – December 31, all processes of consideration of the state appropriation bill including its assent by the governor should be completed within the stipulated period.
Yau said that it is in line with it’s commitment to consultative processes in the development and governance that its partner, Bauchi Coalition for Improvement of Public Expenditure Management (BACIPEM) undertook series of community needs assessment in various communities across local governments in Bauchi state.
He explained that the forum has helped communities to identify and articulate their development priorities which it distilled and published in its Community Development Charter.
The Director gave key areas of common concern and interest for the communities as education, rural infrastructure, poverty alleviation programmes and women issues as encapsulated in the charter.
He then called for the amendment of some provisions in both the public Procurement Law and Fiscal Responsibility Law of the state to make them fit for effective implementation.
He also spelt out the coalition demands to the Bauchi State government which include quick presentation of the 2013 appropriation bill to the State House of Assembly to ensure early consideration and passage of the budget to avoid delay in implementation.
The organization wants the state government consolidate and sustain the consultative process with citizens and their groups on development and governance issues in the state, and reflect key priorities of communities as in the Community Development Charter. He also wants the Bauchi state government to develop partnership with civil society groups for effective monitoring and implementation of the budget.
He stressed the need for the state government to conduct local government elections in the state to ensure citizens elect their representatives.
He said, “Bauchi State House of Assembly should support proposal for constitution amendment to grant local government autonomy, and equally support for granting the Houses of Assembly financial autonomy.”