ICPC, UNDP call for greater participation at grassroots level

Chukwumerije Aja, Enugu

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) and the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) in collaboration with a non governmental organization, African Centre for Rural Development and Environment, (ACERDEN) have organized a 2-day capacity building training for grassroots on Budget processes in Nigeria.

The capacity building training programme, held in Enugu, South-eastern Nigeria, drew participants from all walks of life.

Addressing participants at the workshop, Professor Daniel Ugwu, Chief Executive Officer of ACERDEN assured that at the end of the training, participants would become more aware of their roles in their different communities in terms of budget preparation, presentation, and execution.

According to Prof. Ugwu, “there is a link between budget, service delivery, and corruption. Budget padding is evil, be it corrective accounting or others.”

Prof. Ugwu highlighted common problems in the budget process to include poor planning, weak financial management system, corruption, inadequate funding, diversion of funds, weak budget oversight, and the role of the grassroots people in the budget process.

He also noted that some government agencies and departments both at federal, states, and local council areas monitored projects but asked if it was participatory.

“Do they involve stakeholders? Do they engage the CBOs and NGOs in the exercise?” Prof. Ugwu asked, urging organisations that are community based to be more interested in the budget processes at all levels.

According to him, “you must demand to know how much is received from the federation account, how much revenue was generated, what projects or civilities are contained in the local government budgets, where they could be located and at what cost.”

He stated that the involvement of CBOs and NGOs in the monitoring activities is very fundamental because it creates or gives room for local council development while also recognizing their leadership role and responsibility in the partnership arrangement with government.