Report of the Subnational Budget Transparency Survey 2020, which was released by the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) Nigeria, disclosed that State Governments have significantly improved budget transparency and participation as well as improved the robustness of their respective procurement process.
According to the agency, 42 per cent of the states provided some information on their budget and procurement processes though with limited spaces for public participation. Twelve states significantly increased their scores by 20 points or higher while 18 states had improved their scores by at least one point.
The report, however, noted that, “These improvements were mainly due to the timely online publication of budget documents and the enactment of procurement laws meant to better guide the procurement process”.
Since 2018, only a few states regressed, with Delta and Lagos states’ scores decreasing by 21 and 22 points respectively. The report added that these states did not publish budget documents online and disclosed spaces for public participation.
At the launch of the report in Abuja, the Executive Director, CIRDDOC, Mrs. Ral Nwankwo Obioha, said, transparency remained an important first step to holding governments accountable on how they use the people’s resources.
All citizens should access information on how much is allocated to different types of spending, what revenues are collected, and how international donor assistance and other public resources are used.
Obioha said: “It is against this background that CIRDDOC developed the States Budget Transparency Survey (SNBTS) project with the objectives to compare the degree of budget transparency across states; promote international best practices with regards to budgeting and budget process in the states; and to inspire and encourage the spirit of competitiveness amidst states towards promoting budget transparency and government accountability”.
CIRDDOC noted that Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Kaduna, and Ondo states provided significant budget information, spaces for public participation throughout the budget process, and information on procurement.
While the majority of states, provided minimal to some information on the budget, few spaces for public participation, and limited information on the procurement process, only Oyo and Zamfara states provided almost no budget information, had non-existent spaces for public consultation, and opaque procurement processes.
The report stated that “Budgets are very technical by nature. Budget debates are often relegated to economists and other experts, limiting the broader public’s input on the sources of public resources, how these resources are spent, and who benefits from public expenditure.”
It added: “Budget debates, however, shouldn’t be limited to experts. All citizens have the right to participate in the budget process and to know where public resources come from, how they are spent, and how expenditure is linked to achieving development goals.”
It further stated that all 36 states were evaluated to see how much budget information is provided, spaces and mechanisms for public participation throughout the budget process, and how robust and transparent the procurement process is in the states.
On public availability of key budget documents, the report pointed out that an overwhelming majority of states improved their 2020 scores on the topic.