Niger Delta budget group cautions government against excessive borrowing
Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) has urged the government, at all levels, to end excessive increases in taxes and borrowings, saying the effect has visited unbearable pressure on the people and economy.
The group asked the government to cut down its bogus expenses, especially in political offices, saying it makes the national budget bloated, even as the majority of citizens suffer.
NDEBUMOG also urged the government to listen to agitations of striking university lecturers for students to go back to school to save the future generation from intellectual depreciation.
This was stated in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day Civic Space Protection Forum (CSPF) organised by NDEBUMOG with support from OXFAM in Nigeria and held in Akwa Ibom State.
The forum was part of activities of FAIR for All (F4A) Power of Voices Programme being implemented in Nigeria by Oxfam through its strategic partners, including NDEBUMOG.
Participants were government representatives, NDEBUMOG affiliates and stakeholders from Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Delta and Enugu states, among others.
The communiqué, which was signed by members of the drafting committee, Umo Isua-Ikoh, Helen Brian, Stiv Obodoekwe and Ebere Chikezie, stated that efforts should be made by governments at all levels to ensure inclusive governance.
The communique reads: “Government, often, pays deaf ears to non-violent agitations and often responds with violence and suppression, instead of dialogue. ASUU strike, which is a universally accepted form of peaceful agitation, has lasted for months, without any serious concern by the government. Collective bargaining is a democratic engineering process that ASUU and government must embrace. Both parties (government and ASUU) should balance their interests.”
Participants raised concern that citizens were still being excluded from budgetary processes and access to budget information or fiscal documents.
They stressed the need for citizens and CSOs, including women, to be consciously encouraged to participate in budget processes at all levels.
“Peaceful agitations, such as stroke and other forms of nonviolent agitations, are legitimate forms of expression.
Therefore, we call on the government to begin to pay attention to peaceful agitations, instead of responding with disdain and yet rewarding violence through amnesty and prisoners swap,” the communique added.