A communiqué issued at the end of the a 2 Day Capacity Building Training On Public Finance, Political Education and Gender Responsive Public Service organized by Clement Isong foundation (CIF) in Partnership with Actionaid on the 21st to 22nd of September 2022 at Uranus Hotel, 31 Aka Itiam Street, Uyo, Akwa Ibom state
Introduction: A 2 day event was organized by The Clement Isong foundation (CIF) with support from Action Aid Nigeria funded by DANIDA and Action aid Denmark to build capacity of young people on Public Finance, Political Education and Gender Responsive Public Service 2022. The event was held on the 21st to 22nd to September 2022 at Uranus hotel, Uyo.
Highlights: The event participants were drawn from Civil Society organizations (CSOs), Media Stations, Organization of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs), Different Clusters of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Women Affairs; Activista, Community institutions from oron, Ikot Ekpene, Etinan,Ibeno among others.
The training designed to build capacity of young people on Public Finance, Political Education and Gender Responsive Public Service. The event featured; Introduction and expectations from participants; Spoken; Opening Remarks from the Director of Clement Isong Foundation, About Actionaid and the Strategic Partnership Agreement, Godwill message from MDA, Training on Public Finance, Gender Responsive Public Service, Political Education and Communication. In the course of the event; participants were engaged in a breakout session to develop charter of demand and advocacy visit for the project.
In the Course of the Training, Key Points were highlighted by the Facilitators and Participants as the state is set to commemorate 35th Anniversary, young people at the end of the training wish to congratulate the demand and make the demands below.
1.0 That the state government should widen the space of engagements and engender deepened conversations that will lead to useful outcomes rather than shrink civic space and clampdown on dissenting voices if it is to get the needed feedback that is direly needed for the state`s growth and development.
2.0 That young people constitute a significant proportion of the state`s population demography (by almost 65%) and that livelihood and economic opportunities must be made available to this increasing youth bulge in order to galvanize and channel their energies to become a blessing rather than a curse.
3. 0 The youths in this workshop also demand that the State Government makes readily available and accessible public finance documents to enable young people robustly and effectively engage in social audit processes that will add quality to the governance process in the state. Such documents includes : state budget documents such as the Accountant-General`s report, Auditor-General`s report, quarterly budget performance report and the Medium term sector Strategy Paper as well as the Charts of accounts(CoA).
4.0 The young people participating in this workshop also came to a consensus that the Governor should give expedited assent to the Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund Law to provide for a legal and institutional framework for youth development activities and projects in the State as there are far-reaching benefits to giving executive assent to this law on the youth development paradigm in the state; whilst the youths remained grateful for the various youth development strides of the current administration, the youth law when granted assent by the Governor, will give a coordinated bite vis a vis monitoring and evaluation framework in place, there are clear indications that with the youth fund law in place, the state is much likely to attract significant donor aids for youth development projects.
5.0 They demanded that Government significantly reduce the cost of governance in order to reduce borrowings and free-up already scarce resource for youth development.
6.0 They also reiterate the fact that by the provisions of section 48(5) of the State`s Fiscal Responsibility Law, government and its agents are under legal bond to respond to freedom of information requests bothering on fiscal governance issues.
The youths in this workshop asserted that meeting the above demands will put the State Government in pole position to harness the socio-economic benefits from youths engagements in governance and economic activities, witness reduced youth delinquent behaviours and restiveness and a peaceful, prosperous State even as we leap into an election year.
The Following Recommendation were Made during the 2 Day Capacity Building Training
1.0 To promote accountability, citizens have the responsibility of ensuring that the government remain accountable and carry out their responsibilities with transparency.
2.0 The government (local, state and federal) manages public funds generated from taxes hence, they are under compulsion to regularly give account to the citizens.
3.0 Every community should have Community Charter of Demands (CODs) which will be given to the representative to assists in getting it into the budget. The community charter of demand encapsulates all the gaps and needs of the community.
4.0 The citizens should set development agenda by petitioning the government, Local, State and Federal Government of their needs.
5.0 They should get the media to raise the stakes on the agenda they set.
6.0 Citizens should Participate in the budget making process. There is always public hearing sessions, they should ask what is in the budget for them, if nothing official complaint should lurch.
7.0 They should be able to track the budget through CSOs/NGOs which specializes in budget tracking.
8.0 The engagement process include; legislative debates, petitions, use the media, campaigns, lobbying.
9.0 Government should reflect the aspirations of citizens through assenting a sustainable policy framework to reduce social vices and build the needed skills for citizens to prosper.
10.0 Citizens must consistently engage Duty Bearers and Policy makers through all communication channels after a thorough power analysis.
11.0 Political Socialisation will foster the needed collaboration to drive the needed change.
Conclusion: The management of CIF appreciated all participants from different Communities who has been readily available for partnership since the inception of the project. He solicited for continued support and encouraged young people to continually participate in governance and Urged Community
Akan James : Communication Lead Clement Isong Foundation
Idongesit Charis: Programme Intern, CIF
Ifiok Umoren: Programme Lead, Greater Tomorrow Initiative