Cross section of citizens and civil society organizations from Montserrado, Nimba, and Grand Bassa Counties are pleading with the government to prioritize the improvement of basic social services. Speaking at FY2023 pre-budget consultation town hall meetings, participants highlighted several services under health, education, social development, transparency, and accountability, as well as security and the rule of law, calling for an increased budgetary appropriation for these sectors.
In the area of health, they said adequate medical supply, proper electricity, decentralization of mental health programs, and maternal health services for citizens must first be prioritized. The citizens also called for proper monitoring and supervision of drugs and medical supplies to curtail their diversion for personal gains. For social development, participants called for rehabilitation centers across the country for disadvantaged youths, as well as more safe homes for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
“Government needs to decentralize mental health centers in every county and revisit the old folks’ home for new programs and interventions’’ a participant spoke.
In the area of education, participants called on the government to prioritize the provision of instructional materials, refurbishment of most of the faculties, monitoring, and supervision, as well as ensuring that teachers have the requisite qualification, “It is very sad to see a high school graduate teaching”.
The town hall meetings, which were intended to solicit citizens’ and CSO representatives’ inputs on the formulation of the FY2023 National Budget, are part of efforts to institutionalize public participation in the National Budget process.
Recently, the Government established and launched the Fiscal Transparency Advisory Group (AG) which comprises an equal representation of Government and Civil Society Organizations.
The AG is intended to advise MFDP on the design and implementation of fiscal transparency and public participation programs.
Recommendations from the consultations are expected to be presented by CSOs to MFDP through a “Shadow Budget Paper”.
These initiatives are supported by the World Bank and Partners through Public Financial Management Reform for Institutional Strengthening Project (PFMRISP) through the Non-State Actors (NSA) Secretariat.
They are also supported by the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT).
Reported by: Augustine Octavius
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