Abuja — Oyo and Zamfara States top the list of states with worse performance on budget transparency in Nigeria, scoring 5 and 21 points respectively in a national survey that was released recently.
Oyo State made no budget documents available online; after a careful search, none of the links on the state's website for their budget documents worked, the report said.
The information was unveiled during a national launch of 2020 Nigerian States budget transparency survey results by Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) a non-government organisation. The report compares performance in all 36 Nigerian states, identifies best practices, and recommends how state budgeting and procurement systems can be more open and participatory.
"The worst performers were Zamfara and Oyo States with scores of 21 and 5, respectively. Oyo State in particular made no budget documents available online; after a careful search, none of the links on the state's website for their budget documents worked," the report said.
With a score of 90, Jigawa performed best on the index, as it did in 2018.
The report said Jigawa State continued to provide citizens with extensive budget information, had mechanisms for public consultation throughout the budget process, and had an open and robust procurement process.
Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Kaduna, and Ondo States each scored above 60, meaning they provided significant budget information, spaces for public participation throughout the budget process, and information on procurement.
Nine states had lower scores than in 2018; of these nine, five saw their scores drop less than 10 points, while Delta, Lagos, and Niger States' scores decreased by more than 10 points. This is due to these states not publishing documents online that either were previously made available on request (namely Lagos and Niger states) or previously posted on their site (Delta state) according to the report that was launched yesterday in Abuja.
At the event, United Kingdom's foreign, commonwealth & development office (FCDO) asked Nigerian governments at federal and sub-national levels to ensure they have a transparent and inclusive budgetary system to build citizens' confidence in government policies and programmes.
FCDO head of governance, Sam Waldock, who made the call, added that, 'budget transparency really matters. It helps the citizens to believe in government.' He expressed worry that many States still have a budgetary process that is very opaque.
Waldock said the UK will deploy its support to strengthen public financial management in Nigeria, ensure citizenship participation and supporting platforms like open govt partnership (OGP) in the budgetary process. He said transparency in the process is needed to build the much-needed trust.
Representative of World Bank, Sabah Raschid said some State budgets have only been prepared in a manner that can only be described as aspirational. She said the budgets are not often prepared with the reality - what is available to spend.