CSOs Demand Citizens’ Participation in Nat’l Budget

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A conglomeration of civil society organizations operating is demanding participation of Liberians at all levels of the preparation and execution of the National Budget.

Said decision was taken by civil society organizations that gathered at a local hotel in Monrovia yesterday to debate issues arising from the National Budget as projected by the National Legislature and approved by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

According to the CSOs, limited citizens’ participation in the formulation of the budget and inadequate knowledge about the nature, component, processes, and timing of budget formulation remain undermining factors that stall citizens’ participation in the budget process.

The CSOs also named “highly technical jargons and structure of the budget, coupled with inaccessibility of copies of the draft and final national budget,” as reasons behind the poor performance of governance of the state.

Realizing that Budget plays a cardinal role in the growth and development of a nation, thereby necessitating the need for open and inclusive participation in its formulation processes, CSOs want existing government institute proper mechanisms to remedy the situation.

According to a Communiqué issued after a meeting, the CSOs decided to stamp their authority in various towns and villages by informing the masses on the way forward of the Budget.

Reading the communiqué, the group noted that since the inception of the Sirleaf administration in 2006, there has been no information flowing from central government about development initiatives instituted by previous government.

The document called for an open process that determine who gets what and when, in the presidential palace.

The program was launched under the Theme: “Our Money, our Business: Mainstreaming Citizens Voice in the National Budget”, organized by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), in collaboration with the International Research and Exchanges (IREX) Board Liberia, and sponsored by USAID.  It discussed, amongst other things, key factors which present challenges against the achievement of the ultimate goal of the national budget – identifying and addressing the needs of the people.

According to IREDD executive director Harold Aidoo, Liberians need to know the status of their budget before it can be approved in an effort to highlight issues affecting their survival.

He noted that the forum was intended to create an open environment where stakeholders can interact with ordinary citizens about what is projected in the national envelope for community or county.

By bringing the budget to the people, IREDD said; “will ensure that development is guaranteed and that the people will know government’s shortcomings and other factors.”

The program brought together scores of government and civil society actors in the financial areas to provide lectures on matters affecting the Liberian society relative to the Budget preparation and execution process.

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