Despite repeated claims about transparency and open government by the Bala Mohammed administration, Bauchi State ranked the lowest in the northeast in terms of budget transparency according to a survey.
A survey conducted by Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), seen by WikkiTimes, Bauchi is ranked the 6th and last position in budget transparency.
The state governor Bala Mohammed in several public fora says his government remains open and transparent in its business of governance.
Contrary to the claims, the report says Bauchi is the least transparent state, below insurgent ravaged Yobe State.
CIRDDOC’s Bauchi State Researcher, Yusuf Abashi, was quoted as saying that the citizens’ input was not captured in the 2020 budget formulation, noting that the state came last because a lot of things were not made open for the public.
“In the North East, we have a long way to go presently. Yes, there is a level of involvement but it is too insignificant, the people are the most important contributors to the budget. Until the responsibility is implemented we will be far behind. Budget should be from the people upward and not from up to bottom.
“Bauchi ranked low because they are tied to secrecy and they are not opening up. They cover everything in secrecy,” Abasi said.
CIRDDOC Zonal Coordinator, Dudu Manuga who was speaking during the North East states 2020 budget transparency survey launch, organised with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative, said the findings was based visibility of states budget records online.
The six states making up North-East were ranked Yobe, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Borno and Bauchi respectively, NEPTUNE PRIME reports.
Manuga was quoted as saying that although “a number of states have functional websites, she stressed that many still do not have the requisite details of some aspect of budget online.”
She said many states have failed to publish mid-year review which is a six-month report on the budget, adding that Auditor Generals of all the states failed to engage the citizens of each of the states.
“The issue of transparency has tremendously improved unlike when we started in 2015 because now every day has a website and they put up their documents on those websites. Not, all the documents that we are looking for are there and when they are there (online) they are there in good time because there is a timeline.
“So that when citizens want to do something or intervene but unfortunately, not all are always online in good time. Some states don’t do citizens’ budget where it is broken down using infographics, or the use of languages that citizens can understand some states don’t do this. Some states do not do call circular they feel it is not important.”
The Coordinator also warned against the movement of funds from Ministries, Departments and Agencies that have been appropriated without recourse to the assembly.
Also speaking, Zainab Saleh, Director Budget, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning said the survey gave researchers the opportunity to know how citizens were carried along in the budget process, adding that the network of civil society organisations operating in the state-aided the performance.