WorldStage Newsonline– The Federal Government of Nigeria has indicated plans to launch a budget implementation monitoring portal.
Mr Alfred Okoh, Technical Adviser to the Director General, Ministry of Budget and National Planning said on Wednesday in Abuja, at a workshop organised by the Accountability Lab Nigeria and Open Society Foundations on communications, tax and budget monitoring, that the portal would engage citizens in budget in order to accommodate their contributions to budget implementation.
“The budget is function of revenue and expenditure and if you do not have enough money, then you have a deficit budget and Nigeria have been running a deficit budget for a long time,
“We are over depending on oil revenue and government is now looking on how to diversify its revenue.
“The Ministry of Finance is looking at an initiative called Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative, which focuses on how to improve on non oil collections and one of this is to expand the tax base of the country.
“We have a higher level of implementation of the budget because when more monies are collected, we have more revenue to fund the budget,” he said.
Okoh, however, said the county has potentials to bring in more money as revenue, adding that less than 10 per cent of the economy was on oil.
Mr Jude Oketta, Consultant for Azziki Brands, said that there was the need for citizens to engage in budget implementation to expand the scope of feedback.
He said that the budget ministry would leverage on the accessibility of Mobile technology to reach out to the citizens.
“The budget office is actually taking that step to see how we can leverage on technology and bring citizens closer to the people through more engagement.
“We are looking that at the end of May and first week of June to launch the app, to sensitise people on it, we are focusing on civil society and we hope to involve everybody on it,” she said.
Mr Odey Friday, the Country Director of Accountability Lab Nigeria, said it was very good to talk about fiscal governance in tax, while budget taxation was very important for the growth of any economy.
He said that stakeholders would discuss the need to employ multi-pronged approaches like Data collection, Research, Campaigns, Advocacies, and Lobbying at the meeting.
“But we are seeing how we can bring everybody to be on the same page when one fix A, another fix B and we are equal on C that is how we came about this.
“For civil societies, we have to be sure what everybody is working, we already have the open government partnership platform which brings government and civil societies together to talk about these issues.
The citizens’ budget monitoring portal would be inaugurated by first week of June for citizens to contribute and monitor budget implementations.