At least 31 youths from various communities in council areas in Enugu State have been trained on budget monitoring, tracking and analysis to enhance good governance at the grassroots.
The 2-day training, which is being organised by the South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO) in partnership with Action-Aid Nigeria, has as its theme, “Budget Monitoring and Tracking, Budget Analysis, Simplified Development of Fact-Sheets and Policy Briefs”.
Addressing the gathering on Saturday, the Programme Manager on Good Governance in SSDO, Barr. Nkem Awachie, said that the training targeted youth participants from rural communities within the 17 council areas in the state. Awachie said the training is meant to build their knowledge and capacity about government budget processes, project implementation and evaluation at local and state levels as well as know how to hold the government accountable.
“With the skills that they have gotten from this training, they will be able to analyse government budgets and extract information on the projects that are meant to be implemented in their communities. They can then monitor those projects and advocate for their implementation or completion. We intend to include more communities in our training and programmes over time,” she said.
In his speech, the Programme Manager on Good Governance in Action-Aid, Mr Celestine Odo, said that the training would expose the youths on practical knowledge of how to get involved, engage and part-and-parcel of budget processes. According to Odo, challenges of the youths remained that they are not committed to know what is happening around their environment – community, LGA and state – and how to get like-minded people with developmental mindsets together.
He said that it was also an irony that they are the ones who complained more about the system not working as well as failure in the system that keeps their communities down from development and growth.
He said that youths had to get engaged from budget formulation stage, go through budget enactment stage, budget implementation and lastly the budget monitoring and evaluation to ensure they make vital input an impact.
“Apart from the Constitution of the country, the budget, whether Federal, State or Local Government, is the second most important document which has direct bearing with the lives of the people if handled well,” he said.
Odo noted that youths must come together, form progressive and developmental alliances with youths with like minds, push and press for the projects affecting them to be implemented even within scarce resources.
A facilitator at the training, Mr Collins Nebo, called on youths to work closely with civil societies in form of coalitions to further their developmental agenda in their various communities, council areas and state.
“It is time to work together and get things working in our favour in Enugu State. That your android phone should be put in a better option for mobilizing and engaging in developmental efforts,” Nebo said.
A participant at the training, Mr Uchenna Ayogu from Igbo-Eze North council area, said that the training had empowered him on how to get involved in the budget processes and tracking ongoing projects to its completion in his locality.
“I will assist my community and council area to see that we track all ongoing and abandoned projects and see how they can be resuscitated and completed for the overall benefit of our people,” Ayogu said.
Another participant, Mr Promise Edeh from Isi-Uzo council area, said that he learnt how to network with other youths and CSOs for positive budget involvement that makes an impact on the lives of the rural people.