Osun Among States Hiding 2018 Budget Details From Public
Osun State has continued to hide its 2018 budget from the public.
Several requests for information on the budget by media organisations and civic groups are routinely ignored by the state government.
On Tuesday, civic transparency group, BudgIT said it has also observed the same in its review of the budgets of the 36 states.
The Osun State House of Assembly had, in April, passed the 2018 appropriation bill of N179.2 billion.
The budget has N92.6 billion as capital expenditure, which represents 51.1 per cent and N86.6 billion as recurrent expenditure, representing 48.9 per cent.
Since the passage, the state government has failed to make the detailed approved budget available to the public.
BudgIT has further listed the state among the 21 Nigerian states hiding their 2018 budgets from the public domain.
With this revelation, less than half of Nigeria’s 36 states have made their 2018 budget available online to the public.
Abiola Afolabi, the organisation’s communications lead, listed the states that have made the budgets public to include “Borno, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ondo, Plateau and Yobe.”
Two of these, Lagos and Kwara, however, did not provide full details of their budgets.
The organisation said while Lagos and Kwara States provided a summary of their budgets on the government websites, the document provided lacked actionable details with which citizens could hold their elected officials accountable.
“Our organisation would like to state explicitly that Lagos and Kwara States have a history of capacity over the years and are notorious for resisting attempts by citizens to pry into the affairs of the state.
“Shrouding public finance information in secrecy thereby encourages corruption and mediocre performance in the states.
He said transparency in the states continued the downward swing as governments persisted in denying citizens access to relevant information.
“It is commendable that the states released full budget documents to the public, but it must be published within a reasonable timeframe,” he added.
He said the proposed budget details presented to the State House of Assembly should be made available to the public to enable people engage their legislators during the budget debate.
Afolabi explained that any state keen on the participation of citizens in governance should publish full details of the proposal within 48 hours of submission to the legislature.
He also called on Nigerians to keep an eye on the funds and follow the money.
“Across the world, transparency has been noted to foster citizens’ trust in government and increasing investor confidence.
“States with partially detailed budget documents in public domains must provide details of capital projects being executed for the fiscal year,” Afolabi said.