Delta Government on Monday reiterated readiness to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in harnessing the abundant human and natural resources to transform the state into one of the most developed in the country.
The Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, disclosed this at the 2022 Citizens Budget Engagement Forum at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
He said that the state aimed to achieve the expectation through strategic implementation of projects and programmes in the state, adding that submissions from the summit would be incorporated into the budget for a proactive, efficient and more effectiveness in planning.
He explained that it was in continuation of the steps by the Okowa-led administration to make the state great that necessitated strategic consultative engagement process with relevant organizations and groups for the preparation of the budget.
According to Pere-Gbe, since the State Government signed up with the open government partnership domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, it remains committed to transparency in the execution of its budgets.
He said that the interaction would enable the government to be effective and efficient in governance, while serving as expenditure control and creating platform for information dissemination, among others.
The commissioner noted that the 2021 half year budget had suffered N40 billion revenue shortfall as a result of insufficient funds from the Federation Account.
He, however, reiterated the unalloyed commitment of the Okowa administration to always make the well-being of citizens the central focus of government activities.
On his part, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, thanked the stakeholders for the engagement and reaffirmed the State Government’s commitment to providing dividends of democracy and encourage citizens’ participation in governance.
Aniagwu noted that their contributions would significantly help the state government in deepening its budgeting processes, adding that their comments, remarks and observations would be channelled to the governor for evaluation and consideration.
He reminded participants at the ceremony that they have unique roles to play in monitoring government projects in their respective communities to ensure that government’s projects were executed in line with contractual agreement.
“We are committed to allowing our people enjoy the dividends of democracy by allowing them to participate in the governance process.
“Our definition of democracy is about the people and how they participate because there is nothing like governance without budgeting.
“This is imperative because anything and everything about governance depends on how you are going to dispense the little resources you have to address the challenges of the people.
“This time we don’t just want to give it to them; we want them to tell us what they need. You will recall last year the same thing was done and to a very large extent we were able to address a whole lot of issues in our different communities.
“We are happy with the participation today and we must appreciate the Ministry of Economic Planning for being able to bring in the array of persons to the discussion today,” he stated.
Senior Policy Adviser to the Governor, Professor Sylvester Monye, said that the Koka flyover bridge in Asaba had been awarded, adding that the contractor would soon mobilise to site.
Earlier, President of Value Rebirth and Empowerment Initiative, Pastor Edewor Ogedegbe, said that the citizens’ engagement would enhance transparency and accountability in the budget preparation process of the state.
He called on the various organisations and groups to come up with their priorities and contributions to achieve an all-inclusive budget that would develop the state and improve the living standard of the people.
Representatives of groups present at the event lauded the state government for the various infrastructure developments across the state and called for economic empowerment of citizens.
The forum was attended by Commissioner for Youths, Comrade Ifeanyi Egwunyenga, Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor, Dr Kingsley Emu, Special Adviser to the Governor on Rural and Community Development Dr Emmanuel Okoro.
Others included Director-General Bureau for Job Creation, Professor Eric Eboh, Director-General, Delta Investment and Development Agency (DIDA) Chief Lucky Omoru, traditional rulers, Presidents-General of communities, civil societies and artisans.