By G9ija

An Ebonyi State-based Civil Society Organisation, Development and Integrity Intervention Goals Foundation, has submitted Ebonyi Community Charter of Demand document to the State Government for inclusion in the 2023 budget.

It was part of a high level stakeholders and Civil Society Organizations advocacy meeting held on Monday in Abakaliki.

The Advocacy meeting, at the State Ministry of Finance and Economic Development headquarters, was part of activities under USAID State2State-supported project being implemented by DIG Foundation.

The Charter of Demand, which contains the harmonised needs of some Ebonyi communities, specifically in the State2State priority sectors of Primary health, Basic education; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, was developed by DIG Foundation through community consultations.

The project was supported with sub-grant from the USAID State2State under its Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness activity aimed at improving governance and service delivery in Ebonyi State.

Receiving the document, the State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Orlando Nweze, commended the USAID and DIG Foundation in particular and Ebonyi State Network of Civil Society Organisations in general for their rewarding collaboration with government in the State.

Nweze, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mfon Williamson, pledged to adopt the document and ensure that some of its recommendations, if not all, were factored into the 2023 State budget.

Williamson further urged DIG Foundation and the Network to also route the document through the concerned Ministries, Agencies and Departments for proper documentation, regretting that the Ministry has gone far with the 2023 budget preparation process.

The leader of the Civil Society team and Executive Director, DIG Foundation, Oliver Aja Chima, while presenting the document, commended the State Government for activating the Open Government Partnership in the State.

Chima also commended the Finance Commissioner for the innovations he brought into the Ministry, including his friendly disposition towards Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations and their contributions towards good governance.

Chima made a case for State adoption of the items in the Community Charter of Demand for inclusion in the 2023 budget, while urging the Ministry to also employ the Medium-Term Expenditure Frame-work developed by the State with support from USAID State2State for preparation of the 2023 Budget.

He further appealed to the Finance Ministry to make the MTEF available and accessible to CSOs and the Citizens, stressing the need for government to carry along CSOs in the development of future MTEF.

Chima added: “The MDAs should work closely with CSOs on further CCD development so as to cover more communities especially those Local government areas not covered by the USAID State2State Project.”

DIG Foundation was accompanied to the advocacy meeting by other Nongovernmental and Civil Society Organizations under the umbrella of Ebonyi State Civil Society Network.