The members of the Imo State House of Assembly have pledged their support for the adoption of open budget system in Imo State and vowed to do what they can to ensure its institutionalization in the State.
This was their position at the First Imo Stakeholders Open Budget Forum that was held in Owerri on September 15, 2017. The forum, a USAID sponsored project under the Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engaement-SACE program, was organized by Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights in partnership with its Citizens Accouintability Assemblies-CAA and in collaboration with Imo State Planning and Economic Development Commission. Speaking at the forum, the Chairman House committee on appropriation, Hon Marcel Odunze and member representing Ohaji/Egbema State constituency, Hon. Emma Orie noted that the forum is a welcome concept and one that should be sustained, adding that they will begin the process of making the budget open saying that citizens input in the budget even makes their job easier. In line with this, the Imo State Head of Service, Mr. Callistus Iwunze expressed his gratitude to CCIDESOR for coming up with the great idea which allows for an open deliberation between citizens and the government to discuss how best to promote good governance and sustainable development in the State. The Executive Director of CCIDESOR, i his earlier address noted that the essence of the open budget forum was to bring together NGOs, Stakeholders, Government Officials and the Budget Office to discuss the issue of making the budget process open, accessible and citizens' participatory with the sense of promoting development in the State, stressing that the State belongs to everybody and therefore its development should be the concern for everybody. He called on all to embrace the issue of making the budget open, saying that no society can develop with an opaque budget system. The budget played host to several major stakeholders in the State, most notably, Members of the House of Assembly, Imo State Head of Service, The Director of Budget, Directors from other Ministries, CSOs and lay citizens.