Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) has lamented what it describes as unrealistic and unnecessary items in Federal Government’s budget, saying it should be adjusted to address essential needs of the masses.
It also said the budget was bloated, making government to resort to borrowing.
This was stated in a communiqué issued after a one-day citizens awareness forum on Federal Government’s private sector policies, organised by NDEBUMOG in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, with the support of OXFAM.
The group added that private sector policies and social investment programmes geared towards poverty alleviation and job creation hardly impacts positively on lives of common masses, especially women.
“There is no proper needs assessment in conceptualisation, formulation, and execution of budget by the government. Budgetary processes are done to the exclusion of citizens, including women. Therefore, the need to make budgetary and fiscal processes was emphasised.
“Some social investment programmes and policies by the Federal Government are laudable. However, there is need for proper sensitisation of citizens and adequate monitoring in the implementation processes of these policies, particularly, empowerment programmes. This is to equip citizens, especially women, with information that will enable them to key into opportunities provided through these programmes.”
He observed that the needed growth in agricultural production and non-oil sectors could not be achieved because of insecurity, compounded by unemployment across the country.
For change to take place, he said women should be encouraged to participate in economic activities through policy incentives and legal framework, such as the Petroleum Industry Act.
“CSOs should also begin to embark on awareness programmes around government policies and programmes to enable citizens, especially, women key into the opportunities for economic growth.
“The 30 per cent campaign in the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act, being promoted by NDEBUMOG should be adopted by host communities, including Nigerians, generally.
“No country can develop with an aggravated level of insecurity such as in Nigeria. Therefore, the government needs to tackle the menace for national stability and economic growth,” he said.
The event exposed participants to government’s private sector policies and programmes, including, understanding how these policies can contribute to sustainable livelihood, economic opportunities to citizens, especially, women through extractive value chain.