The major thrust of this project is action research and knowledge based advocacy for mainstreaming pro poor and rights based approaches to budgeting.
The FRA is anchored on the need to give effect to the economic objectives contained in the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy (Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999). However, the economic objectives reflect some measure of governmental “social responsibility”. It is the commitment of this project to mainstream social responsibility into fiscal responsibility.
The project analysed the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 federal Appropriation Bills and made inputs into the 2008 federal Appropriation Bill. Civil Society Summits on the Budget are held to review budgetary provisions proposed by the executive before the legislature starts consideration of the budget and this is followed by recommendations and lobby at the legislature. CSJ championed the formation of Citizens Wealth Platform for promotion of public interest in budgeting.
The budget analysis has contributed to a great extent for the public opposition to questionable figures for frivolous expenses regularly inserted into the budget by the executive.
Other key activities of this project are the:
- Review of the SURE-P Framework and the publication of the study;
- Review of 2013 annual budget and its harmony with high level policy documents in Vision 2020, Transformation Agenda, MTEF, etc
- Review of the feasibility of 2013 annual budget for infrastructure.
Recommendations from these reviews have led to the submission of a Capital Budget Rollover and Continuity Bill in the House of Representatives. The bill seeks to roll over unutilized capital funds from a previous financial year in the next financial year. The project held an infrastructure dialogue in 2013 involving key stakeholders in the executive, legislature and the private sector and the outcome has become a rallying point for advocacy. The project has produced a documentary “Budgeting Against Development” which interrogates current budgeting templates and reaffirms the need for people centred budgeting.
The project has published the Capital Budget Pull-outs on a geopolitical zone basis for the years 2012 and 2013. The Pull-outs are used for capital budget tracking by CSOs at the state and zonal level. The pullouts are handy and easy to use by state level and local CSOs and CBOs. The result has been that more CSOs are engaged in project monitoring and turning in their reports to the secretariat of the CWP at CSJ. Also, studies have been undertaken on education and health provisions of the budget and their impact in the last five years. This is to inform evidence based advocacy.
As the lead group in the advocacy of the Stop Impunity Campaign, a Plan of Action to stop impunity in PFM has been designed, disseminated to stakeholders and the results are manifesting in increased demands for accountability and transparency in government.