Makeni, 2 June/SLENA: The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) in collaboration with the Non- State Actor Secretariat of the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Unit has launched the first Citizens’ Budget in Makeni on the theme: ‘Building Citizen’s Interest and Understanding to Enhance Participation in the National Budget’.
In his welcome remarks at the City Hall in Makeni, Chairman of the occasion, Foday Sulaiman Dumbuya, head of Radio Konlenten, thanked the Ministry of Finance and the Non- State- Actors Secretariat for launching the citizen’s budget which explains how Government raises and spends revenue generated, hoping that participants at the launching will return to their respective places and pass on the information.
He urged participant to support the Non- State Actors Secretariat in their drive to include the citizens in the budget process as well as serve as monitors.
Interim Coordinator, Non- State Actor, Sidi Bah, expressed delight for the production of the first Citizen’s Budget in Sierra Leone which seeks to promote peoples’ interest and understanding of the national budget and encourage their participation in the process. While thanking Ministry of Finance officials including the Director of Budget Bureau for pushing the process forward, Mr. Bah disclosed that the Citizens’ Budget was first launched in Freetown on May 10th 2012 by the Deputy Minister of Finance1 and subsequently replicated it in the south and Eastern provinces.
He admonished the participants not to leave the budget on its own but to monitor how monies allocated by government for projects are spent, noting that civil society has a role to serve as watch dog to the process while at the same time building partnership with government which he said must be based on principles.
On his part, the Director of Budget Bureau (MOFED), Matthew Dingie, said the objective of producing the Citizen’s Budget is for the layman to understand better what the budget process is all about.
“To achieve this objective, the ministry has to engage the non-state-actors and trained them which has now enabled them to properly understand the mystery behind the budget,” he explained.
Mr. Dingie said during the past five to ten years MOFED had improved on its Public Financial Management Programme, noting that issues relating to public financial management, whether in the form of internal audit, procurement, national account or human resource depended on the national budget.
Also speaking at the launching was Senior Deputy Financial Secretary, Alhaji Bannie Yillah Seisay who stated that as tax payers, citizens have the right to know how the government spends their money but said the citizens always fail to monitor how or where these monies are spent, noting that the Citizen’s Budget will only succeed when the citizen’s treat it with all the seriousness it deserves by properly understanding the process.
Delivering the keynote address and officially launching the Citizen’s Budget in Bombali District, Resident Minister, North, Allie Kamara, reiterated the right of the citizens to ask questions regarding allocation of revenue for developments purposes and how the funds are utilized.
He assured the ministry and the secretariat of the support and cooperation of the people of Bombali for the success of the programme.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.