• KWIRS’ new leadership gets Gov’s vote of confidence
Stakeholders in Kwara State have gathered to express their views and expectations to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq over the state’s budget.
At a town hall meeting organized at the instance of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq which held at the banquet hall ilorin on Tuesday participants from all walks of life across the state expressed their desires for the budget process in the present administration as part of a larger strategy to deepen participatory democracy and ensure good governance.
Stakeholders from the various sector spoke about their needs and how these can be met in a way that enhances development in the state and as a boost to commerce and industry.
The participants praised the governor’s initiative as a deviation from the usual experience of budgeting by the government without reference to the needs of the people a situation being experienced since the past sixteen years of the immediate past administrations.
One of the participants,Bola Olojoku, head of the Mekunu Forum Agenda, commended the government for the initiative which he said was the first in the recent time in Kwara, urging the government to ensure that citizens are aware of who wins what contract for effective follow up at the grassroots.
Also, Ayobola Olupinla, Chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalists in Kwara, appreciated the gesture of the governor in giving women opportunity to participate in his cabinet while she also urged the government to do more by involving more women in his administration.
Earlier, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in his opening remarks said that democracy is all about the people and would be meaningless when the people are shut out of the processes of governance and which in fact revolves around them and their wellbeing.
He added that this is the reason he decided to call the meeting to allow the people to make inputs into the budget process,”
adding that at a town hall meeting of this kind tagged “Citizens’ engagement in budget process” in Ilorin in which citizens suggested things they want to be reflected in the budget.
The first of its kind in the state, AbdulRazaq said the platform would be widened next year to allow for wider participation of the citizens and promised to ensure that people’s aspirations are reflected in the budget outcome and implementations.
He also said the process would be fast-tracked to meet the January-December budget cycle, promising heavy investment in social infrastructure, agriculture and human capital development.
“While budgeting has always been an annual ritual where the government outlines its priority areas for the next fiscal year, this is the first time in our state that we are seeking the direct inputs of the citizenry to budget. It is the first time citizens are to say what they think the government should prioritise in the next financial year,” he said.
“This kind of citizen participation is an ingredient of participatory democracy and good governance as defined by various global bodies, including the World Bank. We note that the lack of such direct engagement of the citizens in budget preparation in the past was frowned at during a recent assessment of Kwara’s compliance with global best standards and our administration promised to address it immediately.”
AbdulRazaq, meanwhile, has passed a vote of confidence in the current leadership of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) which he absolved of any involvement in the recent allegations of fund mismanagement.
He said there’s an on ongoing house cleaning to ensure that such a thing never happens again, insisting that public funds is a trust that must be guided jealously.
“(The whole investigation) has nothing to do with the current management of the KWIRS. The KWIRS is waxing stronger, reorganising and moving forward. I have confidence in the leadership of the KWIRS to move Kwara to the next level. EFCC will do its jobs. We’ll allow them to do their jobs and we will all be better for it,” he said.
The event was attended by dozens of civil society organisations, Faith-based organisations, community-based organisations and civil servants who all lauded AbdulRazaq for the town hall meeting.