BudgIT Seeks Transparency In Local Government Projects

BudgIT, a civic organization, on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, challenged stakeholders to ensure transparency and openness in the implementation of local government projects.
BudgIT said the call has become necessary, given the huge funds allotted yearly for capital projects, most of which are either undone or uncompleted, giving room for critical gaps in infrastructural development in the country.
The statement lamented that although Local Government Areas (LGAs), being the third tier of government were created with the ultimate goal of bringing governance closer to the people at the grassroots, most have not lived up to expectation in their operations due to interference by state governors.
“As at today, only nine states have signed the Local Government Autonomy Bill into law. Signing the bill into law in some states didn’t metamorphosed into financial autonomy for the councils, though as the governors still interfere with their finances. The local government chairmen are handpicked by state governors who in turn dictate their operations and also prevent them from getting their allocations directly from the federal government and this has resulted to a total collapse of local government administration in Nigeria,” BudgIT lamented.
The narrative, it continued, is slightly different in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where the Abuja Municipal Area Council under the leadership of Abdullahi Adamu Candido, raised the bar of transparency and accountability in Local Government Administration.
ABAC, the statement continued, is the first to release the council’s 2018 budget in the Federal Capital Territory, followed by Kwali and Abaji area councils, adding that LGCs in the FCT enjoy some level of autonomy due to the structure of FCT administration.
It is also worthy of note that the DEAN initiative which is dedicated to transparency and accountability in local government administration in Nigeria also deserves some credit for ensuring these area councils release their budget to the public.
Tracka extended its tracking activities to Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) with the aim of making the budget available to the citizens at the grassroots, track the implementation of the council’s 2018 budget, and also build the capacity of the citizens on public finance especially budget matters, thus enabling them own the projects and actively track implementation of capital projects in their community. Tracka is also working with community-based organisations and religious and traditional leaders in various communities in Abuja Municipal Area Council.
BudgIT added that Tracka, its mechanism that enhances feedbacks on public projects in communities, “has also identified and built the capacity of our community champions to make citizens continuously demand for service delivery from their representatives.
“The Tracka team has visited 35 communities to track the implementation of a total of 42 capital projects captured in the council’s 2018 budget .Out of the 42 capital projects tracked, 22 projects have been completed,14 projects are ongoing, and the implementation of 6 projects are yet to commence as at the time of this report.”