Grassroots Advocacy Project (GRAP): Linking National and Subnational Budgets to Community Needs

The practice of making annual budgets for the government without citizens’ input, poor implementation of public projects, poor accountability and transparency practices, inadequate oversight by the legislature and the inability to bridge the gap between citizens and the government kept youth, children, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and women in poverty, hunger, and economic disadvantages; which justifies Nigeria’s ranking as a country where as many as 4 in 10 citizens live below the national poverty line by the World Bank.

Written by Daisi M. Omokungbe

In 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) said that over 133 million Nigerians were living in poverty — having persons with disabilities (PWDs) as the worst hit demographic. In the quest to understand why many Nigerians are living in poverty, there was a discovery of the obvious problems which hamper the effective delivery of the dividends of democracy. The practice of making annual budgets for the government without citizens’ input, poor implementation of public projects, poor accountability and transparency practices, inadequate oversight by the legislature and the inability to bridge the gap between citizens and the government kept youth, children, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and women in poverty, hunger, and economic disadvantages; which justifies Nigeria’s ranking as a country where as many as 4 in 10 citizens live below the national poverty line by the World Bank. These issues steadily lead to the award and execution of projects that remain incomplete, failed, and most times, don’t meet citizens’ needs and community aspirations at the grassroots, in critical sectors such as agriculture, education, health, infrastructures, and environment, etc. Governments over the years had only involved the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) after the budget had been developed — an approach that had consistently produced only “the budget of the elites, by the elites and for the elites”. This has sacrificedinclusion and the opportunity for the citizens to decide what they want in the budget for each fiscal year and nominate projects that help the country to drive the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the local and underserved communities, especially eradicating inequalities, hunger and poverty.

Source: Photo by Omotayo Tajudeen

In 2016, Nigeria joined OGP Nigeria at the very beginning of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, ensuring new commitments were made by the government in the following specific areas, such as low citizens’ participation in the budget cycle, ineffective management of public resources, poor public services ratings and low budget performance among others. One of the main objectives of OGP is to ensure the conduct of the annual needs assessment survey and mandated that the reports of such surveys are expected to accompany the budgets in selected sectors including health, education, etc. annually.

The practice of making annual budgets without citizens’ comprehensive input has created a gap that has led to the award and execution of failed projects that don’t meet citizens’ needs at the grassroots, many more abandoned and some not executed at all. Evidence from the works of FollowTheProjects since 2019 by PROMAD Foundation and as well as Tracka by BudgIT since 2014, amongst others has shown that Nigeria must embrace urgent reforms that will create opportunities for citizens to fully participate in the making of the annual budget and nominate projects based on the needs of their communities…read more.

Learn more about GRAP https://www.grap.org.ng 

Learn more about us https://www.promadfoundation.org

Email: grap@promadfoundation.org 

Also read The State of Civic Tech Initiatives on the African Continent and The Rise of the Civic in African Governance

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