SEND Ghana under the auspices of the Northern Ghana Governance Activity (NGGA) has held a regional forum to collate citizens’ inputs on the local agricultural sector needs to be factored into the national budget for 2018.
The views and recommendations of the forum would form citizens’ agriculture budgets and would be used to influence the budget planning and preparation process. Speaking at the forum, CSO Coordinator, Mr Gervin Chanase, stressed that citizen’s participation in the budget process could improve efficiency in budget allocation and targeted spending which could be instrumental in increasing public expenditure, transparency and accountability.
An Officer, Mr Charles Ayueboro Adama, at the Policy Planning and Budget Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) took the participants through a presentation on government priority areas for investment in 2018. These areas include; irrigation, appropriate mechanization, planting for food and jobs, manufacturing of fertilizer in the country, seed and planting material development and increasing food export while decreasing import.
He said under the Planting for Food and Jobs policy, over 750,000 jobs were expected to be created, adding that for the mechanization, government intended to manufacture parts of some machines in the country. Mr Adama said it would also improve on extension service delivery and agriculture training, noting that all that was supposed to contribute to food security, income, employment and improved markets.
He therefore called on all stakeholders in the agriculture sector to collaborate effectively with MOFA and for that matter government in order to achieve the set priorities such that the smallholder farmer would be brought up from subsistence level to commercial production level. The budget statement and economic policy is considered to be an accurate statement of the government‘s priorities for a given fiscal year taking cognizance of the development needs of the country.
However, the budget sometimes does not reflect the real aspirations and priorities of citizens as there has been lack of citizen’s participation in the budget preparation process, a situation that government in collaboration with civil society have been trying lately to change. It is based on this that the government through the Ministry of Finance placed a call for public inputs into the 2018 Budget Statement and Economic Policy under preparation.