The National Treasury has kicked off a public participation exercise for the 2024/2025 financial year budget to actively engage members of the public in the process.
Through the exercise which targets all the 47 counties, stakeholders from different sectors of the economy are set to present their views and identify projects they would like to be funded in the budget.
Interior Principal Administrative Secretary (PAS) Anne Ng’etich said the exercise was in line with the 2010 constitution and the government’s Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) urging members of the public to turn up in large numbers and own the process.
Ng’etich who officially opened the forum for Kisumu County said stakeholders from nine sectors of the budget have an opportunity to identify priority areas sector by sector which shall be incorporated in the final county report to aid in the budget preparation.
“For the first time in many years we have the grassroots interests being taken into consideration as envisaged in the constitution,” he said.
A technical team from the treasury and line ministries and departments, he said, will be present at all the forums across the country to guide members of the public as they identify projects and priority area to be funded by the national government in their respective regions.
“This is the beginning of the budget making cycle. We have taken a multi-sectoral approach where we have the local stakeholders and national government officials together to incorporate local voices into the process,” she said.
Every input, she said, shall be factored urging members of the public to feel free and air their views to enrich the document.
Ng’etich who is spearheading the exercise in Kisumu, Kericho, Siaya and Homa Bay counties further asked members of the public to follow the budget making process adding that another public participation exercise shall be carried out by the national Assembly before the document is passed.
National Treasury Deputy Director of Budget Micah Origa said the public participation was important so as to incorporate local priorities into the national budget.
“We are taking this exercise very seriously because it is going to inform the kind of local priorities and projects that shall be incorporated into the national programmes,” he said.
The exercise, he added, was also critical in helping to avoid duplication of projects and get value for public funds.
However he said not all the projects identified in the counties shall be funded adding that only the priority areas shall be factored into the national programmes.
Speaking during the forum, Elly Opondo, Director Champions of Peace said the initiative was wellcome adding that involving the grassroots in the budget making cycle was necessary to ensure that their needs are captured in the document.
“For the first time we have seen the national government delocalizing citizen participation at the county level. The multisectoral approach will provide the public with confidence that the deliberations being made in Nairobi have their interests at heart,” he said.
The move, he said, was a demonstration of the national government’s position to have citizens at the center of decision making.