Women and men from over 20 Communities in Delta State Nigeria, have charged the Nigerian government to urgently take steps to put an end to the continued degradation of their environment, rights violation and destruction of their health and livelihood sources through continued gas flaring by oil and gas companies in the area or be prepared to face strong resistance to this evil act by community men and women.
In line with its mandate to ensure that government policies meet the needs of citizens in a transparent and accountable manner, Social Action and partner Edo Civil Society Organizations Forum organized a citizens’ town hall meeting aimed at providing an opportunity for citizens to interact with candidates seeking election to the office of governor of Edo state. Top on the agenda was to extract commitment from the candidates to maintain certain standards of transparency and accountability which include open budgets, citizens’ participation and public access.
The Social Action Open Budget cluster has commended the government of Delta state for takings steps towards greater transparency and accountability in its fiscal processes. The commendation was made during a courtesy call on the Delta state Commissioner for Economic Planning Dr. Kingsley Emu for responding to Social Action’s demand for Open Budget and accessible budgets. Following sustained campaigns including Freedom of Information requests, the Delta state government in August 2016 became open with the state budget and placed it on the state official website.
On the 31st of August 2016, Social Action’s Open Budget Cluster carried out a Citizens’ –Government Roundtable meeting on Open Budgets. The event aimed at ensuring that state annual budgets are open and available to citizens. This accessibility of state budgets will kick-start other forms of citizens’ engagement which will lead to more participatory and prudent fiscal practices.
Stakeholders that include Trade groups, Chambers of Commerce, Civil Societies and Labour organizations have critically faulted the European Union promoted Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, describing it as counter-productive to the interest of a country such as Nigeria. They said the trade agreement which imposes pressing and extensive import liberalization on participating countries before ever their supply capabilities have been built or strengthened will be injurious to them.
This discussion workshop is organized by Social Action in collaboration with Development and Peace -Caritas Canada, Kairos, Indigenous Environmental Network and other groups. The workshop will offer a multidimensional view of the carbon market. Apart from examining the outcomes the Clean Development (CDM), Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and regional carbon markets such as the Western Climate Initiative, participants will propose just and sustainable alternatives to the current failed system. Read More
It is worrying that at the sixth month of the fiscal year, Rivers state, Akwa Ibom state, Bayelsa state and Delta state have not deemed it appropriate to make copies of their annual budgets available on the state official websites or otherwise for public access. This is the high point of a tradition of executive and legislative secrecy which has become common practice in the aforementioned states.
The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, has been identified as a veritable instrument for human development. To this end, the body has advocated for collaboration and support to meet this purpose.
Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr Adio Waziri made this remark when he received in audience a delegation from the Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action), which paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Following the completion of its monitoring of the implementation of the 2015 budget of five Niger Delta states, Social Action’s budget advocacy coalition, the Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform has presented reports containing its findings to the key government officials in Akwa Ibom and Delta state.
According to Coordinator of the budget advocacy coalition Ken Henshaw, ‘it is important the governments get copies of this reports and use it as a guide to take action in future to make sure that budgets impact more on the people than it currently is.’
In Akwa Ibom state, the presentation was made by Executive Director of coalition partner Policy Alert, Mr Tijah Bolton, while in Delta state it was delivered by the Mrs. Bridget of the Int’l Centre for Women Empowerment & Child Dev. (ICWECD) based in the state capital Asaba.
The report contains findings by teams of budget monitors comprising of transparency and accountability activists, the media and community volunteers who were on the field for two weeks in early 2016, visiting sites of projects mentioned and allocated funds in the 2015 budgets of the various state.
Reports of health, education and food sufficiency project sites indicate that up to 80% of projects allocated funds were never executed in the states. ‘The difference between allocation and implementation is just too high. It is either the budget was too unrealistically made with impossible revenue expectations, or something else we don’t understand is going on,’ says Sebastian Kpalap, Executive Director of Citizens’ Voice Initiative and coalition member.
In the coming week, budget monitoring reports will be presented to other state governments in the Niger Delta.
All is set for a climate change mitigation public workshop to discuss potential amendments to the Cap-and-Trade Regulations of the California Air Resources Board of the United States.
The event which is scheduled for April 28th, 2016 at the Byron Sher Auditorium, CalEPA Headquarters Sacramento, California, U.S, will feature informed discourse around the Cap-and-Trade program including the potential for admitting international sector credits offset in the program.