Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has disclosed that the budget of the State has always been the aggregate needs of the common people of the State, which necessitated annual pre-budget zonal stakeholders’ consultative meetings before the budget was adopted.
Speaking at the Ibadan less city stakeholders meeting which held at Ibadan North-East Local Government, secretariat,Iwo Road on Friday, the governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, said the mandate given to the governor by the people of the State was for the government to come up with policies and actions that are people-oriented.
The local government that converged at the venue of the meeting include Ido, Oluyole, Ona-Ara, Egbeda, Lagelu and Akinyele local governments and their Local Council Development areas.
Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun noted that the initiative was imperative for an effective and productive budget and economic planning that would touch all strata of the society.
According to her, political campaigns and rallies should not be the only avenue through which the people in the rural settlements are remembered or approached, hence the rationale behind the government’s decision to bring the forum to the grassroots.
She added that the execution of the year 2020 budget tagged, ‘The People’s budget’ was a success because the people were involved from the start to the end, which provides a foundation for the 2021 budget to also be drawn and implemented in the same light.
Quoting the governor, Mr Olubamiwo said “this administration will always respect the people and their yearnings just like it did with the last budget, I have always said that I am in this position today because it is the will of the people and of God, and so, I am determined to continue to pursue and expand policies that will show that I respect the yearnings of the people.
“One of the ways our administration has done this is by ensuring that our communities are involved in the budgeting process.
“Last year, we produced our first budget, which we tagged, “The People’s Budget,” because we came out and engaged in town hall meetings and sought your input, you spoke and we listened, you made it clear that you wanted more capital projects and infrastructural development.
“You indicated that payment of salaries and gratuities was a sore point, as a result, of last year’s budget of N213.8Billion, capital expenditure was pegged at N103.4Billion, while recurrent expenditure had a value of N110.4Billion.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened, additionally, the fall in oil prices affected federal allocations to States, we had to slash the budget however, we decided that whatever cuts we were making, payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities as well as other emoluments to the State workforce will not be affected. After the reductions, recurrent expenditure remained N108.9Billion while capital projects took a 36.9 per cent hit and came down to N65.2Billion.
“We were able to carry out these people-centred projects because we started off the budget year by asking you the question: What would you like us to do for you?
“And so, we are back this year on a similar mission and this time, we are expanding the process and making it even more open and transparent.
“Last year, town hall meetings were held in the three senatorial districts, this year, we are upping the ante, town hall meetings will be held in the seven geopolitical zones of the state.”
While addressing the requests made by the representative of the local government areas, the governor assured that all requests would be looked into and considered, especially that which centered on the physically challenged citizens.