Citizenry participation in designing anti-poverty budget

In decentralised nations, people are given a say on local spending in order to track all the financial expenditures and propose the best ways of management and fast development.

In decentralised nations, people are given a say on local spending in order to track all the financial expenditures and propose the best ways of management and fast development.

There is a need to eliminate the investment-recurrent expenditure distinctions and move to programme budgeting as well as allocating funds based on pro-poor objectives.

The budget should go beyond social services and infrastructure in the design of anti-poverty spending to include expenditure on governance (decentralisation, budget management, judiciary, security) ensuring that all spending is fully costed.

 Citizens are also required to contribute in form of kind or monetary terms. The contribution is quantified and given monetary value and recorded for better accountability.

Their participation in the budgeting process accredits them the right to contribute to the budget and be given a report there afterwards. Priorities are set according to the citizens’ rankings and are financed accordingly.

As required by law, budgets are prepared and approved for implementation of government programmes which should be responding to the needs of the citizens. For instance, the need for medicine, vaccines, roads, hospitals, schools, boreholes et cetera.

This is done through the “budget”, be it the national or the local one. Budgets are therefore critical to the development of any nation.

 From this perspective therefore, budget in terms of governance would be the second important document to the constitution and therefore, much attention should be focused on how it is prepared and executed.

Unlike in centralised governance, local governments are currently struggling with fiscal stress in justifying to both the communities and the government on how the money was used.

It appears therefore to be an opportune moment for citizens to play a role in helping elected leaders to determine the best solutions for the local government and the community under its jurisdiction.

Various experiences show that citizen participation during local government budgeting has enhanced accountability and budgeting process by answering questions related to the planning process. and how it should be implemented.

It further responds to such questions as: who should take part in its implementation, where it should be allocated or implemented from and when it should be implemented. By offering citizens access to financial information and activity plans, make them play a vital role in the fight against poverty. 

Budget execution should be understood and treated as one of several instruments of administrative control that will ensure democratic accountability and management flexibility.

Producing the budget document and appropriate financial reports requires a managerial approach to local budgeting, whereby the chief executive and governing body develop and execute a budget that realistically strives to achieve the municipality’s goals and mission. 

Donor fatigue in rich nations and increased confidence from developing countries have resulted in finding solutions to their own problems and thus finding appropriate working styles that would deliver serious economic, social and environmental solutions while at the same time making savings.

The practice of citizenry participation in the budgeting process would enable local governments to stand on their feet and become more financially sustainable.

With the limited resources, there is a high need for local governments to have proper planning for potential investments, which calls them to give priority among the investments they have on the list.

A certain proportion is committed to recurrent expenditures and another one committed to capital expenditures of the local government budget.

The means to determine how much is allocated to the two different budgets is based on the selected priorities in each core sector of the local government, and the will of the municipality and will of the citizens to determine how resources are allocated.

Each local government defines criteria jointly with citizens. In this case, the best known criteria usually includes population, local priorities like  housing, streets, education, health, sewage, degree of citizen participation, impact of a project on the community as a whole, and impact on disadvantaged or vulnerable groups.

Participatory budgeting aims to infuse the values of citizen involvement into the most basic and frequently the most formal procedure of governance-the distribution of resources through the budgeting process. Citizen involvement can foster accountability, transparency, and more effective distribution of resources.

 

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