UPDATED – Residents of Lagos state aired their views about the governance of Lagos state and their hopes that the state government will run a transparent government, especially with relation to its budget.
This was expressed during a tweet chat organised by the Lagos State Civil Society Partnership, LASCOP, which held on Wednesday, the 16th of March 2016. The hashtag #CitizensPriorities was used during the chat to encourage participants to reveal their expectations of the present government. This conversation is a phase in the series of engagement between LACSOP and the Lagos State Government initiated in 2007 towards an effective public finance accountability and transparency in the state.
Discussants observed that the approved 2016 budget was not accessible on the state’s website. This, they say, contradicts the claim by the Lagos state government that the budget is a ‘People’s budget.’
“How can it be said to be a ‘People’s budget’ when it is shrouded in secrecy & the people know NOTHING about its content?” @PaulUtho, one of the discussants, expressed in a tweet.
Another Twitter user, @SituationRoomNg, tweeted “The people are unaware of the contents of the Budget of Lagos. He should make it public”.
The 2016 Lagos state government is estimated at 662.588 billion, with 275.655 billion being the total recurrent expenditure while the capital expenditure is 386.933 billion.
Citizens, however, consider this presentation of the budget to be too broad and called for a more detailed analysis in order to ensure effective implementation and monitoring. Some advised the state government to improve citizens’ engagement by exploring the possibilities of a zero-based budgeting system whilst making the details available to all and sundry.
A lack of collaboration with the civil society during the process of budget drafting was also pointed out as an area where by the Akinwunmi Ambode led administration was lacking and needed to improve on.
On the way forward, participants called for a thorough budgeting system which will take into consideration the interest of the citizenry through public hearing and active engagement with civil society organisations.
The tweet chat which ran for over two hours, had impressive participation from residents of the state online, reaching over 26,000 accounts within Lagos and making an impression of over 370,000.
The Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP) is a forum of major civil society networks and coalitions working since 2007 with the Lagos State Government – the Executive as well as the Legislature, for the effective implementation of critical development.