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Nigeria

Citizen Participation in Budget Cycle (NG0001)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Nigeria National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning

Support Institution(s): Budget Office of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant-General of the, Federation, Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, National Assembly, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Orientation Agency, Ministry of Information. Public and Private Development Centre, BudgIT, Centre for Social Justice, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Open Alliance, Nigerian Union of Journalists, CIRDDOC, Citizens Wealth Platform, Manufacurers Association of Nigeria, Christian Aid, Action Aid, One Campaign, WANGONeT, Professional Women Accountants of Nigeria, ANAN, OXFAM, FEDMU, NESG, ICAN, NACIMA

Policy Areas

Audits and Controls, E-Government, Fiscal Transparency, Open Data, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies, Participation in Budget Processes, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Nigeria Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

This commitment will ensure that citizens participate and make inputs into the budget process starting with the pre-budget statement, executive budget proposal, budget debate through public hearings in the legislature, implementation, monitoring and reporting of the budget. Budget information should also be made accessible to all.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. To ensure more effective citizens’ participation across the entire budget cycle.

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“This commitment will ensure that citizens participate and make inputs into the budget process starting with the pre-budget statement, executive budget proposal, budget debate through public hearings in the legislature, implementation, monitoring and reporting of the budget. Budget information should also be made accessible to all.”

Milestones:

1.1. The Ministry of Budget and National Planning will hold two public fora to get citizens’ input into the pre-budget statements using the draft MTSS and MTEF document as tools/background documents in these forums.

1.2. Publish MDA budgets and quarterly and annual budget implementation reports on their websites in both human and machine-readable formats.

1.3. Conduct Needs Assessment with Reports accompanying budgets in selected sectors including Health, Education etc.

1.4. Annually publish a comprehensive citizen’s guide to the budget.

1.5. Adopt simple technology-based feedback mechanism for projects at community level for project monitoring by government and CSOs.

1.6. Conduct annual citizens’ satisfaction survey.

1.7. Publish timely, all key budget documents to facilitate citizens’ participation according to the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

1.8. Advocate for public hearings organized by the National Assembly on the budget.

1.9. Mobilize CSO and citizen participation in budget hearing.

Start Date: January 2017 End Date: June 2019

Action plan is available here:

Context and Objectives

The commitment sought to improve public participation in the budget design and implementation processes in Nigeria.

Prior to the commitment, Nigeria did not have an open budgeting system that accommodated public participation. [1] The International Budget Partnership’s 2017 Open Budget Survey found that Nigeria provides “few” opportunities for the public to engage in the budget process, with a score of 13 out of possible 100 points in public participation. This is a decline from 2015, when Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points and “weak” opportunities for public engagement. [2] In Nigeria, the state plays a dominant role in the national political economy. The allocation of resources through the national budget is controlled by the ruling classes who have little incentive to make the budgeting process more open or participatory. [3]

The budgeting process in Nigeria is split between the legislative and executive and involves planning, approval, implementation, and auditing. Most of these processes are not open, and active participation is not encouraged. [4] Most access to information and civic participation occurs at the approval stage through public hearings in the House of Representatives and Senate. At the planning stage, CSOs are not enabled or encouraged to communicate their needs and concerns to government in a way that contributes to the Medium-Term Revenue Framework, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), or the Draft Budget. [5] This phase tends to be entirely dominated by the executive. [6] There are no formal avenues for citizen participation during the implementation stage, when the Ministry of Finance releases budget allocations to MDAs. [7] The Accountant-General, Auditor-General, and the National Assembly dominate the auditing phase. [8]

Limited civic participation hinders access to information. Prior to the commitment, government contracts were not published, and the budgets and quarterly and annual implementation reports of MDAs were generally only available through requests made under freedom of information legislation. [9] The Budget Office of the Federation did publish some budget documents [10] as well as annual Citizen’s Guides to the Budget since 2009. [11] However, the office’s website didn’t consistently publish all key budget documents despite being required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007; missing documents often included the MTEF, the Annual Budget and its supporting documents, [12] estimates of revenue and expenditure of government-owned corporations and agencies, and the Annual Cash Plan.

The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of civic participation as it proposed a number of activities to increase civic engagement in the budget process, including holding public forums to get citizens’ input in pre-budget statements, conducting needs assessments in selected sectors, developing a technology-based feedback mechanism for projects at the community level, and advocating for public hearings organized by the National Assembly on the budget. According to Abayomi Akinbo (BudGiT), it was necessary to infuse people into every aspect of the budget, by getting their feedback at every stage and by incorporating deliberations in the budget process. [13]

The commitment is also relevant to the OGP value of access to information as it calls for additional budget-related documents to be made public, such as MDA budgets and quarterly and annual budget implementation reports, a citizen’s guide to the budget, and “all key budget documents” to facilitate public participation according to the Fiscal Responsibility Act. [14] This commitment addresses the OGP value of technology and innovation for transparency and accountability through Milestone 1.5 (technology-based feedback mechanism).

The commitment’s activities are mostly verifiable. For example, the two forums on pre-budget planning, the publication of MDA budgets online, the citizen’s guide to the budget, and the citizen satisfaction survey could all be verified independently. However, Milestone 1.9 was less clear in its call to “mobilize CSO and citizen participation in budget hearings.” Also, Milestone 1.7 did not provide a timeline for the publication of key budget documents.

If implemented, this commitment will moderately impact open budgeting in Nigeria by bolstering access to information and civic participation in all four phases of the budget cycle. Public support for citizen input on pre-budget statements and needs assessments may promote civic participation during the planning phase. Mobilizing CSO and citizen participation in budget hearings, advocating for more public hearings on the budget in the National Assembly, and continuing to publish annual citizen guides to the budget may sustain and improve access to information and civic participation during the approval stage. Timely publication of all key budget documents, quarterly and annual publication of the budget implementation reports of MDAs, and a mechanism for monitoring projects at a community level could significantly improve very low levels of access to information and civic participation during the implementation phase. An annual citizens’ satisfaction survey would supplement auditing by the Accountant General and Auditor Generals.

Next steps

This commitment can make the budgetary process more accessible and participatory and therefore, transparent and accountable. [15] Based on the findings of this commitment’s design, future commitments in this area could include:

  • Reviewing the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 to strengthen existing provisions [16] that accommodate access to information and public consultation during the four phases of the budget cycle;
  • Measuring civic participation during the budget phases and identifying causes for any low participation rates;
  • Establishing specific guidelines on national public and CSO participation in budget hearings, particularly, specific guidelines on how citizen feedback will be incorporated into the budget;
  • Ensuring that information sources are accessible through different communication channels (leaflets, TV, radio) to accommodate Nigerians who cannot easily access online sources;
  • Including more details in some commitments, for example, deadlines for MDAs to publish their quarterly budget implementation reports and annual reports, or the specific sectors in which needs assessments will be conducted;
  • Government establishment of specific guidelines on national public participation, highlighting how citizen feedback will be incorporated into the budget; and
  • Ensuring that the civic participation spaces exist not just on paper but function in practice, possibly through some form of enforcement from central government.
[1] Emekah C. Iloh et al., “Open budget systems and participatory budgeting in Africa: A comparative analysis of Nigeria and Ghana 2012, 2015” Asian Journal of Social Sciences 17 no. 4 (2018): 45.
[2] International Budget Partnership, “Nigeria” (accessed Nov. 2019), https://www.internationalbudget.org/budget-work-by-country/findgroup/group-data/?country=ng.
[3] Iloh et al., 51.
[4] Iloh et al., 53.
[5] CISLAC, Legislative and Budget Processes in Nigeria (2007).
[6] Iloh et al., 53.
[7] Iloh et al., 54.
[8] Iloh et al., 55.
[9] Alfred Okoh, (Budget Office), interview by IRM researcher, 13 Nov. 2018.
[10] Budget Office of the Federation, “Budget Document” (accessed Nov. 2019), https://budgetoffice.gov.ng/index.php/resources/internal-resources/budget-documents.
[11] Budget Office of the Federation, “Citizens Guide to the Budget”(accessed Nov. 2019), https://budgetoffice.gov.ng/index.php/resources/internal-resources/citizens-guide-to-the-budget.
[12] Federal Republic of Nigeria, Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 Act no. 31 (International Budget Partnership, accessed Nov. 2009) §19.
[13] Yomi Akinbo, (BudgiT/Open Alliance), interview by IRM researcher, 15 Nov. 2018.
[14] Federal Republic of Nigeria, Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.
[15] Dr. Anne Nzegwu (Deputy Director, National Budget and Planning Office), interview by IRM researcher, 7 Mar. 2019.
[16] See, for example, §13(2) of the act allowing public consultation on the MTEF.

Commitments

  1. Participatory Budgeting

    NG0015, 2019, Audits and Controls

  2. Implement Open Contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard

    NG0016, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  3. Transparent Tax Revenue Reporting

    NG0017, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  4. Open Contracting and Licensing in Extractives

    NG0018, 2019, E-Government

  5. Implement EITI Standard

    NG0019, 2019, Audits and Controls

  6. Establish Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NG0020, 2019, Beneficial Ownership

  7. Strengthen Asset Recovery Legislation

    NG0021, 2019, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  8. Implement National Anti-Corruption Strategy

    NG0022, 2019, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  9. Improve Compliance with Freedom of Information Act with Focus on Records Management

    NG0023, 2019, Capacity Building

  10. Improved Compliance with Mandatory Publication Provisions Requirement (FOIA)

    NG0024, 2019, Capacity Building

  11. Implement Permanent Dialogue Mechanism

    NG0025, 2019, Gender

  12. Aggregate Citizens' Feedback on Programs

    NG0026, 2019, E-Government

  13. Freedom of Association, Assembly, and Expression

    NG0027, 2019, Civic Space

  14. Enhance Participation of the Vulnerable

    NG0028, 2019, Capacity Building

  15. Implement New Computer Program in 6 Government Ministries to Improve Service Delivery

    NG0029, 2019, Capacity Building

  16. Legal Instrument to Strengthen SERVICOM

    NG0030, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Citizen Participation in Budget Cycle

    NG0001, 2017, Audits and Controls

  18. Open Contracting

    NG0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  19. Extractive Sector Transparency

    NG0003, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  20. Tax Reporting Standards

    NG0004, 2017, Fiscal Transparency

  21. World Bank Doing Business Index

    NG0005, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  22. Beneficial Ownership Register

    NG0006, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  23. Anti-Corruption Informationi Sharing

    NG0007, 2017, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  24. Asset Recovery Legislation

    NG0008, 2017, Capacity Building

  25. Anti-Corruption Activity Coordination

    NG0009, 2017, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  26. FOIA Compliance for Annual Reporting

    NG0010, 2017, Capacity Building

  27. FOIA Compliance for Disclosure

    NG0011, 2017, E-Government

  28. Permanent Dialogue Mechanism

    NG0012, 2017, Fiscal Transparency

  29. Joint Governmnet-Civil Society Legislation Review

    NG0013, 2017, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies

  30. Technology-Based Citizens' Feedback

    NG0014, 2017, E-Government

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