May 31, 2012, 3:36 PM
He said the benefit of releasing an accurate ‘Citizens Budget’ does not only help the people, it also enables a better understanding of the government budget.
“Citizens are obligated to know the constraints that the government faces in its budget formulation and implementation,” he said.
PS Jallow made these remarks while delivering a statement at the launching of the first ‘Citizens’ Budget’ estimate for 2014, held at the Atlantic Hotel in Banjul on Wednesday.
He said the current citizens budget targets all civil society organisations and regional governments.
“This document will be made available online and will be accessible on the Ministry of Finance website,” he announced.
Jallow thanked the UNDP for sponsoring the production of the ‘Citizens Budget’ and EMANIC Consulting for the valuable contribution they have made towards the production of “this very important document.”
He said a citizens budget is designed to reach and be understood by a large segment of the population.
“Our annual national budget is typically the key instrument by which our government translates its policy into action,” he said.
Therefore, he added, it was important that they are proactive in helping the general public to make sense of the budget.
The annual budget is long and complex and is accompanied by a number of technical details, he said, adding that even for technical experts’ understanding the budget could be difficult and time consuming.
“This calls for government to produce a citizens budget,” he said, adding that the benefit of releasing an accurate citizens budget does not only serve to help the people, but also to enable a better understanding of the government budget.
Citizens are obligated to know the constraints that government faces in its budget formulation and implementation, PS Jallow said.
Whether in terms of revenue or expenditure, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs took the responsibility to produce the citizens budget to demonstrate their commitment to relate their policy in a manner understandable and acceptable to the general public.
The current citizens’ budget targets all civil society organizations and regional government authorities, he said.
“We, therefore, urge the councils and the non-state actors to further disseminate the information using different communication strategies that target individual or communities even with a low literacy rate,” he told the councils.
Multiple channels of communication can help to improve people’s understanding of government policy and action, he added.
“This citizens’ budget provides information relating to the government’s overall policy programme and the economic opportunities and challenges, and how it influences government policy where government also plans to raise and spend the money to meet its service delivery,” he said.
The citizens budget would be available and accessible to the general public and would facilitate wide and informed debates on fiscal policy, and also demonstrate their continued commitment to the general public, PS Jallow declared.