Group Berates Delta Budgetray Allocation For Agriculture, Calls For Citizens Inclusion

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Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA,  Warri

Delta Economic Literacy and Accountability for Governance (DELBAG) on Thursday berated the Delta State Budgtery Allocation on Agriculture just as it called for the inclusion of citizen particularly the Civil Society Organization, CSOs participation in its budget allocation process for agriculture.
Olorogun Ogheneruona Monday Itoghor made the call on behalf of members during a press briefing on the “Analyzed 2018 Delta State Agricultural Sector Budget Allocation” in Warri.
Itoghor who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of Environmental Rural Mediation Centre (ENVIRUMEDIC) observed that,”It is also worrisome to note that the budgetary allocation to agriculture has been in a lukewarm progressive ascending of 0.59%,0.63% and 0.90% for 2016,2017 and 2018 respectively which shows that the State Government do not have the intention of developing the agricultural sector irrespective of the crude oil downturn and her policy objectives.
” The trend analysis of the budget from 2013-2018 shows that allocation to agriculture has not met the Maputo declaration of 10%. In the 2018 Agriculture budget, mobilization of rural women for sustainable agriculture (MORWSA) as a budget line item was expunged from the budget document that goes to show that the State is not gender sensitive.
“Youth Agriculture Enterprise Programme (YAGEP) was also emphasized in the 2018 budget speech of the Governor but was not sighted in Tue budget document to ascertain how much was allocated to it.
” The sum of 1.2 billion naira was allocated to the Job Creation Officer’s Office with no clear indication of beneficiaries and location of programmes and projects it is meant to achieve. This is a cause to worry as it will give room for ambiguity and inability to effectively monitor implementation.
“It is commendable the budgetary allocation to ADP in the 2018 agricultural budget is 200million.
” There was no breakdown on how much is allocated for the Unified Extension Related Activities and the Women in Agriculture component of the ADP out the 200million naira allocation in 2018
“There is a sharp decline in the earnings on the 2017 agricultural produce from 67million to 6million in 2018.
” The 2018 budgetary allocation for agriculture is 0.9% even if we add the 1.2 billion naira budgeted for Job Creation Office, it is still a mere 1.3% viz-a-viz , the total budget of 2018.
“Monitoring and evaluation of Agriculture capital budget should be more robust involving CSO’s to conduct independent evaluations.
” The proposed 2018 budget for the Agriculture sector does not indicate any background documents or framework on which it preparation was based such as the National Agriculture framework  or the State Agriculture Policy.
“It is also observed that Oil Palm Smallholders Scheme has been allocated 126,000,000,200,000,000 and 200,000,000 from 2016-2018 respectively why other sectors of the ministry are underfunded or neglected.
called on the Delta State Government led by Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa to make the 2019 budgetary allocation in agriculture “All Inclusive”.
Itoghor said Government should take steps to maintain a steady and progressive trend in a bid to comply with the Maputo declaration of 10% allocation to agriculture annually.
According to him,” The budget should participatory, gender sensitive and inclusive to reflect the Sustainable Development Goals,SDG’s.
“Extension of services and women in Agriculture should be a subheading under the Agricultural Development Programme,ADP.
” Civil Society Organizations,CSOs should be actively involved at every steps in the budgetary process.
“Since the standard budgeting procedure is zero budgeting, there ought not to be Omnibus and Miscellaneous as budget line items” amongst others.
Present at the press briefing were Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, Mrs. Joy Tobele, Nohwo Fred, Onose Martha, Rachael Misan-Ruppee,Amb.(Mrs.) Awhana-Alakia Mercy,Amb. Prince. O.Ebilade, Nefertiti Ayo Okotie, Lucky Enegide and Dr. Andrew Agboro.

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