A huge step has been taken towards the institutionalization of open and participatory budget process in Imo State after CCIDESOR and its open budget cluster paid advocacy visits to the Imo State Head of Service, The Clerk, and the Chief Whip of the House of Assembly.
The CCIDESOR led team, on the 21st of November, 2017 met with the Head of Service to discuss issues surrounding the State's development and the concept of adopting a transparent and participatory budget system by ensuring that MDAs capture the actual prioritized needs of communities in the budget. Speaking to the Head of Service, the Program Director of CCIDESOR, Barr. Chidi Igwe hinted that CSOs are willing to partner MDAs to ensure that Imo State keys into the open budget system. He mentioned the need for the budget office to develop means of integrating citizens input in the budget process, making the budget document accessible and available on the State website.
In his remark, Mr. Callistus Ekenze conceded that the visit gives him the understanding that CSOs are now thinking appropriately and willing to work with the government. While reiterating his support for the cause, he posited that the concept of open budget is not alien to him. He promised that during the Assembly's presentations, there will be room for citizens input.
Subsequent meetings were held with Hon Marcel Odunze and Barr. Chris Duru, the Chairman House Committee on Budget and Appropriation and the Clerk of the House respectively, who both noted that the needs of citizens being captured in the budget would undoubtedly bring development in the State. They assured that all efforts are on top gear to ensure that the budget process becomes more open and participatory, which will in turn drive good governance, transparency and accountability.
The Open Budget advocacy visits were done with support from United States Agency for International Development -USAID and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta -PIND under the Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement project - SACE.