The need for journalists to understand budget processes cannot be ignored as this will go a long way in enabling them hold government accountable in delivering its mandate to the public.
However, low capacity impedes journalists participation in budget process and cycle as many do not understand their role as budget actors and do not have adequate skills and knowledge to cover and report the process.
In view of this, the Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) as part of its mission to promote excellence in the Media, on Tuesday 26th June, 2018 flagged a training session for selected journalists in Kaduna North West Nigeria on Budget Process and Tracking.
Speaking on the objectives of the training, Coordinator AMDF, Sekyen Dadik noted that the training was aimed at equipping participants with the requisite skills and knowledge needed to follow budget processes, track budget performances and report to the public from an informed and professional angle.
According to her, when journalists get involved and effectively play their roles at every budget cycle they will not only keep the people informed but will follow up on budget formulation, approval, implementation and hold government accountable to its commitment, ultimately promoting good governance.
Presenting a paper on Budget Process, Monitoring and Role of the Media, a Media Specialist Iliya Kure challenged journalists on understanding budget process and actively participating in its monitoring.
Kure emphasized that as one of the budget actors the media must realize its role at all stages of formulation or preparation, approval or enactment, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
At the preparatory stage he said the media must participate in budget formulation, public consultation and inform citizens on priorities of government. As well as monitor progress, review commitment, analyze how budgets are implemented during the implementation stage.
He added that the media can also be involved in advocacy by engaging the legislature and the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
To ensure accountability, Kure encouraged the media to conduct benefit incidence analysis to ascertain the benefits of government actions on the followers, they should also play oversight functions and supervise projects going on; and develop stories from reports of oversight conducted by legislators and CSOs.
Participants at the training expressed gratitude to AMDF for building their capacity in budget process and tracking, as they stated their commitment to ensure what they learned is reflected in quality budget reporting.
AMDF acknowledges the Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission for supporting with 5 booklets of the state 2018 Approved Budget.