By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
The government of Oyo State, on Thursday, launched the inclusive budget initiative where views are being collated from residents and indigenes of the three senatorial districts ahead of the 2020 budget.
The initiative, which Governor Seyi Makinde said would enhance the open governance agenda of his government, will encompass a hybrid of bottom-up and top-bottom approaches to development, the Governor stated.
The initiative was launched through the Town Hall Meetings being put together by the Oyo State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, headed by Barrister Adeniyi Farinto.
Governor Makinde stated that the programme would help produce an all-inclusive budget following the extensive consultations.
According to him, the stakeholders’ meeting was organised by the Government “in its bid to prepare a budget that would be most suited to the people’s needs and the overall development of the State.”
He said: “Over the years, there has been a debate over which is the best approach to governance: A top-bottom approach, which relies on leadership setting the goals and then breaking it down for implementation or the bottom-top approach where the citizens play a role in determining what the goals should be. We have opted for a hybrid of both.
“Before we came into office on May 29, on our campaign trail, we listened to you and so were able to come up with what I have often referred to as a four-point agenda that will reposition Oyo State for greater stability in economic growth powered by Agriculture, Security, Education and Healthcare.
“We remain focused on those areas as we are convinced that these will serve as a fulcrum of prosperity for the people of Oyo State. However, we still need your inputs.”
The Governor further disclosed that his government was also preparing a 20-year State Strategic Development Plan in addition to hearing the ideas of how the 2020 budget should be handled, saying the contributions of the stakeholders at the event would go a long way in making the plans more people-centered.
“When we reviewed the 2019 budget downwards, it was not out of the need to spite to anyone. It was because we discovered that we have not been living within our means.
“Borrowing money is not necessarily a bad thing. If it is for capital projects that will yield returns, it is acceptable. Borrowing money to pay salaries is not advisable.
“So, as we discuss ways to spend what we have, we should also remember that we have to use what we have to generate more funds and increase our Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR).
“It is my hope that this engagement will improve the performance of the budget and sustain the developmental objectives of this administration.
“I want to further assure you that your feedback and views will be given due consideration,” the Governor stated.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Adeniyi Farinto, said the programme was a further attestation to the all-inclusive nature of governance under the present administration in Oyo State and its resolve to move the people from poverty to prosperity.
Farinto posited that a stakeholders’ meeting of such nature was a genuine platform where all opinions would not only be explored but would be critically examined for the growth and development of any State.
He stressed that having a people-oriented budget had always been the priority of the Makinde administration, noting that government that was run with the understanding and inputs of the people was a practical expression of transparency and good governance.
The commissioner charged community leaders and other representatives present at the event to come up with strategic programmes and articulate initiatives as well as suggestions that would take the State to her pacesetting mode.
He asserted that the stakeholders’ contributions were critical in the initiation, formulation, and execution of people-oriented budgets, assuring that the people’s inputs would count in the development of programmes and projects in the State.
Economic Adviser to Governor Makinde, Dr. Adetunji Babatunde, who also delivered an address, justified the decision to opt for open governance, adding the government would easily get the priorities right.
According to him, a government that adopts the inclusive budgeting the approach would not be building roads where the people’s priority was a hospital or a police station