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CSOs’ Forum Unveils Action Plan to Enhance Citizen Involvement in Bauchi’s 2024 Budget Proposal

A coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs), known as the CSOs' Public Financial Management (PFM) Forum, in partnership with the USAID funded State Accountability, Transparency, and Effectiveness (State2State) Activity Bauchi Field office, has devised an action plan to amplify citizen participation in the forthcoming 2024 budget of Bauchi State.

The formulation of the action plan occurred during the quarterly review of the CSOs' PFM Forum's activities on Thursday, July 13th, 2023. The review meeting took place at the State2State main office conference hall in Bauchi and was attended by key stakeholders from the CSOs and state actors.

Rabi Ekele, the team lead for USAID State2State, expressed gratitude to the participants for their involvement and stressed the significance of assessing the CSOs' performance in budget tracking. The primary objective of the meeting was to identify any shortcomings in their activities and propose effective solutions to enhance future engagement with state actors.

Ekele encouraged open discussions among the attendees, aiming to develop a comprehensive action plan that would guide both the CSOs and state actors in formulating a budget process that is responsive to the needs of citizens in Bauchi State.

Mallam Lawan Bako, a Director in the State Ministry of Budget and Planning, lauded the support provided by USAID State2State in organizing the quarterly review meeting. Bako acknowledged the collaborative efforts between state actors and CSOs, which have enhanced the state government's budget process by promoting meaningful citizen participation.

Jinjiri John, chairman of the Bauchi State Network of CSOs Coalition (BASNEC), presented the CSOs' report during the meeting, commending the State Government for demonstrating political will in involving citizens in the budget process. However, he emphasized the need for further efforts to improve budget releases.

Habila Salem, the USAID State2State Citizens Engagement and Capacity Building Specialist, outlined the objectives of the review meeting. Salem explained that the gathering aimed to evaluate the outcomes of CSOs' interventions, including advocacy initiatives undertaken during the review period. The meeting also sought to assess the progress made in aligning the implementation of the state budget with the needs and priorities of citizens.

Furthermore, the review meeting focused on planning the CSOs' interventions for the upcoming quarter and explored strategies to enhance citizen engagement and participation in the 2024 budget consultations.

In her closing remarks, Mrs. Maryam Garba, co-chair of the State Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative, emphasized the importance of teamwork in achieving the goals outlined in the action plan. Garba commended the State Government for fostering an enabling environment for CSO engagement, which promotes good governance. She also expressed appreciation to USAID State2State for their continuous technical support to CSOs in Bauchi State.

Following the quarterly review meeting, the CSOs' forum unveiled an action plan to strengthen their involvement in the preparation and implementation processes of the proposed 2024 budget in Bauchi State. This initiative aims to empower citizens in shaping the budget and ensure that it effectively addresses the needs and priorities of the people.