The Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon John Gaul Lebo, has pledged the preparedness of the state Assembly to partner with the Budget Transparency & Accountability Initiative – Nigeria (BTAN) and other related bodies in the fiscal scrutiny of the state’s budgets.
Lebo made the pledge recently in his office when he received the members of BTAN, a non- governmental organisation, who had paid him a courtesy call.
The Speaker who stressed the need for transparency in the state’s budgeting and its imperative on good governance, said partnering with BTAN and other bodies would help to strengthen the budgeting process while checking excesses associated with the fiscal act.
He maintained that BTAN and other NGOs were necessary watchdogs that would help scrutinize the budgetary system of the state, adding that the House, considering the critical roles played by organisations like BTAN and others in ensuring fiscal responsibility in governance, decided to charge the House Committees on Finance & Appropriation as well as Due Process, MDGs, International Donor Support & Inter-government/Public Affairs to liaise effectively with relevant stakeholders in the budget process.
Lebo also spoke of his plans to parley the Civil Society Organisations with the view to creating a regular interface between the CSOs and the relevant Committees of the House, while asserting that the House Committees on Finance & Appropriation as well as Due Process, MDGs, International Donor Support & Inter-government/Public Affairs would give due attention to BTAN and other CSOs.
Speaking earlier, the leader of the BTAN delegation, Engr. David M. Alobi had informed the Speaker of the mission of BTAN which he said was to engender accountable budgeting at all levels and sectors through monitoring, analysis and advocacy.
Engr. Alobi who added that the organisation since 2003 had been working on public finance management and tracking in the state to bring about accountability and probity in the budgeting process, also said that BTAN would seek the partnership of the House of Assembly in ensuring that the people got value for their money entrusted to the state government.
Also speaking, the Board of Trustees Chairman of BTAN, Mr. William Itorok observed that the role of BTAN in ensuring transparency in budgeting should not be misconstrued for witch-hunting as the organisation’s aims were to make government accountable and financially responsible for the enhancement of good governance.