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The budget is perhaps the most important instrument for the development of any modern state apart from the constitution. It can be argued that it is only through the instrumentality of the budget that government can allocate resources to deliver services to the people especially the poor and excluded. But in Nigeria, there are a lot of blockages to effective budgeting. First and foremost, the budgetary process is not participatory. Citizens and communities do not participate in formulating policies and agreeing on projects that go into the budget. Meanwhile, it has been documented that wherever participatory budget is implemented, it has expanded citizenship, empowered excluded groups, redefined rights, deepened democracy and stimulated civil society.

By Otive Igbuzor, PhD

Secondly, the budgetary process is not open. Corruption in any country starts from the budgetary process. In very corrupt countries, the budget is done in secret. Releases are done without the knowledge of citizens. Procurement information is not made available to citizens and corruption is guarded and protected. This is why civil society organisations in Nigeria have been advocating for an open budget system. A budget is regarded as open if citizens have access to the key budget documents; have high level of involvement in the budgetary process and have access to procurement information. As a matter of fact, democracy will be meaningless if the citizens do not participate in how government raise and spend money. This is why the tool (Open Budget Survey Tracker) developed by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) is a very useful instrument. It surveys the availability of eight key budget documents to members of the public: pre-budget statement, executive budget proposal, enacted budget, citizens

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