From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Ahead of 2020 budget preparation in Kogi state, stakeholders in agricultural sector have advocated for more budgetary allocation to the industry considering its importance as the main stream of the nation’s economy.
At a consultative forum organized by the ActionAid, Nigeria in partnership with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change In Development (PIBCID), agriculture was also identified as key to the nation’s food security and only sector capable of tackling the alarming unemployment situation in Nigeria.
Declaring the forum open, the Kogi State Public Financing Of Agriculture (PFA) Budget Committee, Mr. Matthias Okpanachi noted that as the country’s dependence in the crude oil is drastically collapsing, agriculture remains the option for its economy to thrive through diversification.
Okpanachi said the essence of the consultative meeting is targeted at sensitizing and mobilizing stakeholders for inclusive participation in ensuring food security and sustainable development.
He also maintained that the forum and other future interactions will surely build synergy as well as enhance collaboration in achieving agreed targets in the Agriculture Industry and put the sector in the driving seat of national and state quest for sustainable growth.
” Am very optimistic that the out come of the meeting will feed into the design of the 2020 Kogi State Agriculture Budget ” Okpanachi assured.
The Permanent Secretary of the Kogi state Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Emmanuel Idenyi who gave a run down of the 2018 Agric Budget performance, said there was tremendous improvement in the implementation of the budget in the period under review.
The Permanent Secretary however, attributed cases of poor budget defence by various ministries and other government agencies to lack of participation of relevant stakeholders in the process.
Idenyi therefore called on government at all levels to always give attention to early budget preparation and timely implementation.
The representative of the Kogi state Ministry of Budget and Planning, Isah Abdullahi who spoke extensively on the need for active citizen’s involvement in the budget process, promised that 2019 Kogi state budget will be ready for presentation before October this year.
The Executive Director Participation Initiative for Behavioral Change In Development, Mrs Gift Omoniwa had earlier said that the purpose of the forum is aimed at raising awareness for improved citizens engagement in the budgetary process of Kogi state.
The stakeholders identified some of the challenges in the budget process and implementation such as non attainment of Maputo declaration target of 10% budgetary allocation to Agricultural sector, poor releases of budgeted funds an