Integrity Watch Liberia’s Executive Director has urged civil society groups to step up their efforts to persuade the government to take gender equality into account while creating the nation’s budget. Herold Aidoo claimed that the majority of ordinary people would continue to wallow in abject poverty in the absence of a national budget that explicitly addresses the issues causing inequalities between the rich and the poor.
The decision was made by Mr. Aidoo when he gave the keynote address at a one-day national stakeholder round table discussion that was held in Monrovia and was sponsored by the Civil Society Organizations Budget Platform and Action Aid. He claims that all civil society organizations from various backgrounds make up the CSOs Budget Platform, which was created with the intention of collaborating with the Liberian government on issues relating to the national budget and fiscal transparency.
“After realizing that we were all working in the dark, we combined our efforts to ensure that we addressed the concerns of public involvement in creating the national budget, fiscal accountability, and usage monitoring. This stakeholder engagement was held against a backdrop of growing social inequality, and one way we can combat these disparities and the high prevalence of poverty is through the national budget.”
The executive director of Integrity Watch Liberia argued that, after the Liberian Constitution, the national budget is the most significant piece of legislation with the power to drastically alter people’s lives.
“The national budget ultimately defines whether or not our future will be better: It is the national budget that determines who receives what, and which resource goes from this to what. As a result, there have been several economic, social, and political difficulties due to the vast range of difficulties that Covid-19 brought with it. This consequently affected more poor people and drove more regular people deeply into destitute and hardship; but, we strongly believed that in the absence of a clear and defined national budget that is supported by a gender response budgeting, that makes specific efforts to address the inequalities within our society by channeling resources to specific gaps in education, health, infrastructure, and security, we will continue wallop in abject poverty.”
He asserts that the national budget is not gender-neutral because it may be utilized to address all of the problems that people are facing, to either reduce or increase the number of people living in poverty.
In order to determine how much of our national budget is allocated to addressing some of the major problems faced by the average person, we think it is necessary to have a debate with stakeholders and members of civil society.
Prince Gaye, the program officer for Action Aid Liberia, lauded the CSO Budget Platform’s efforts to collaborate with the Liberian government on responsive budgeting in the nation during his remarks. He claims that Action Aid Liberia has a significant interest in responsive budgeting since the national budget ought to consider the vulnerable population in addition to services in special locations.
“It is good that we have this kind of dialogue to see how the budget can solve the challenges in health, education, and agriculture where we find big gaps. We believe the national budget is the vision which the government uses to pursue development for the year.”
He pledged Action Aid’s complete support in working with CSOs to solve issues affecting gender inequity and poverty in the nation. Participants in the stakeholder round table discussion included CSO representatives, representatives from government agencies and ministries, and partners from the gender equality sector.
Reported by: Augustine Octavius