The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on Thursday advised Nigerians to always monitor budget implementation.
ICPC Education Department Chief Superintendent, Mr Shuaib BabaAlaro, gave the advice in Ile-Ife at a workshop on capacity building to empower people at the grassroots to monitor budget implementation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was jointly organised by ICPC and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
According to him, citizens need to identify specific projects and activities which government plans to carry out in a year with a view to ensuring that these projects and activities are actually carried out to specifications.
BabaAlaro said that proper monitoring of government’s budget by citizens would make the government at all levels to perform better.
He said monitoring budget implementation would require government to provide data and the platform by which the people could demand accountability from government.
BabaAlaro said that tracking government’s budget would enhance transparency and build public confidence in the budgeting process.
He said that the speeches of the president, governors and local government chairmen and budget documents must be kept handy for citizens to monitor government’s budget.
Mr Mohammed Sarafadden, the Executive Director of Centre for Youth Initiative on Self Education (CEYISED), urged participants to have the names of contractors handling projects to which budgetary allocations had been made.
Sarafadeen said that knowledge of the project location, date of commencement, progress report on project and date of completion were also necessary.
He urged Nigerians to write reports on budget implementation containing their recommendations and send to government and the media for proper evaluation.
Sarafadeen said that they should also carry out advocacy on how and where government could meet the needs of the community, state and nation at large.
A facilitator, Mr Olaitan Olumide, said that for good governance to be achieved, government and civil society must be partners.
Olumide, who works with the office of Justice Development and Peace Commission, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, called on the three tiers of government to ensure transparency and accountability in governance.
He said office holders should serve within a reasonable time frame and their decisions and actions must be guided by rules and regulations.
He appealed to the elected officials to make the best use of resources at their disposal and produce results that would meet the needs of the society.
Olumide urged Nigerians to visit their elected representatives regularly in addition to correspondence and town hall meetings for the officials to feel their pulse.
Mr Kamarudeen Adeyemi, a participants from Ife North, told NAN that the workshop had sensitised him to his rights and responsibilities as a citizen.
Adeyemi, however, said that the calibre of politicians to be elected must be people of character and integrity who were ready to uphold the principles of probity and accountability.
NAN reports that over 150 participants that attended the training included youth leaders, market women leaders, traditional rulers, Osun budget officers and public servants among others.