dRPC participated at the citizens’ townhall on the 2024 Budget and Appropriation Process- 4th December, 2023


development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) participated in the second ‘The Citizens’ Townhall on the 2024 Budget and Appropriation Process,’ held in December 2023. The first event was held in 2019. The House of Representatives organized the event in collaboration with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), and the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO). This event was part of the commitment to transparency, civic engagement, and inclusive governance. As the cornerstone of a democratic society, the budget and appropriation process directly impact the lives of citizens, and providing a platform for their input and understanding is crucial for fostering a participatory democracy. It is also part of the 10th House of Representative Legislative Agenda, ensuring an effective and participatory budget process that guarantees efficient service delivery by the MDAs. They provided an overview of the macroeconomic framework, revenue projections, expenditure allocations, and sectoral priorities of the 2024 budget.

The town hall meeting convened as a pivotal forum for democratic engagement, drawing together a diverse spectrum of participants representing civil society organizations, media, academia, the private sector, and various stakeholders. In a demonstration of commitment to transparency and public involvement, the gathering was graced by the presence of the entire leadership of the House of Representatives. Notably, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, alongside the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, played a central role in the discussions. The event also saw the active participation of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, underscoring the significance accorded to this inclusive dialogue. Furthermore, the meeting was attended by all members of the House of Representatives, reflecting a collective dedication to fostering an open and participatory governance model where key stakeholders, both from within the government and beyond, collaboratively contribute to the decision-making process.

Participants’ Observations and Concerns

Ensuring effective citizen participation in governance necessitates transparently available detailed budget documents. The imperative is clear: for citizens to contribute meaningfully, there must be improved inclusivity and accessibility in the budgetary process. Opening up the intricacies of the budget will empower citizens to provide informed and constructive inputs, thereby fostering a more responsive and accountable government.

Moreover, the budget’s focus should align with developmental priorities rather than indulging in extravagances. Emphasizing this, the budget must address key development issues, directing resources towards initiatives that contribute to the overall progress and well-being of the nation.

A critical aspect of budgetary considerations is the time allocated for the budget passage. Rushed processes can lead to oversight and may not allow for thorough scrutiny. Participants underscored the importance of avoiding hasty budget approvals, advocating for a comprehensive and thoughtful evaluation of budgetary proposals to ensure the allocation of resources aligns with national priorities.

Recognizing the need for gender inclusivity, participants stressed increasing funding for women’s affairs. This is essential for the effective implementation of gender programs, promoting equality and addressing the uniquechallenges faced by women in various sectors, including GBV and poor access to family planning services.

Education, a cornerstone of national development, must receive increased attention in budgetary allocations. The proposed 7.9% allocation from the Federal Government Budget for education falls short of the UNESCO recommendation of 26%. Participants strongly advocated for realigning budget priorities to meet international standards, ensuring adequate funding for educational initiatives.

Another pressing concern raised by participants is the need for enhanced financial support for social protection programs, especially those catering to people with disabilities. Government commitment to the well-being of vulnerable populations should be reflected in budgetary allocations, ensuring that these programs are adequately funded and effectively implemented.

Youth investment is another crucial area that participants highlighted for improvement in the 2024 budget. Allocating resources towards youth-centric programs and initiatives is seen as an investment in the future, contributing to national development and prosperity.

The healthcare sector, a fundamental component of social well-being, has consistently received lower budgetary allocations than the 15% commitment pledged under the 2001 Abuja Declaration. Participants expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed 4.9% allocation for 2024, citing examples of other African countries with similar or lesser populations that allocate higher percentages to health. The appeal to the National Assembly to scrutinize budget implementation becomes imperative, considering that many Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), including health, often fail to utilize allocated funds despite inadequate budget allocations.

Commitments and Next Steps

The House of Representatives is poised to undertake a comprehensive review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) of 2007, emphasizing reinforcing its existing provisions to enhance transparency and public involvement throughout the budgetary process. This initiative is geared towards fostering a more inclusive governance model that actively incorporates the perspectives and insights of citizens.

During this revisitation of the FRA, particular attention will be given to amplifying access to information and facilitating meaningful public consultation. These measures are intended to ensure that the budgetary decisions reflect the diverse needs and priorities of the populace. Input garnered from this engagement will carry substantial weight, as it will be factored into the final report produced by the committee overseeing this process.

Importantly, this integration of public opinion into the budgetary framework will be an ongoing and sustained effort. It will be conducted diligently before the budget is presented to the national assembly, signifying a commitment to transparency and accountability in fiscal matters. As part of this commitment, the 2025 budget discussions will extend to the constituency level, promoting a bottom-up approach that seeks to involve citizens at the grassroots level. This approach aims to ensure greater inclusion and engagement with diverse stakeholders, fostering a sense of ownership and representation in the budgeting process.

In addition to the pre-budgetary engagement, House representatives are urged to actively follow up with the oversight supervision process after the budget has been passed. This post-passage oversight is crucial for ensuring the effective implementation of budgetary allocations and holding relevant agencies accountable for their expenditures.

The leadership of the House of Representatives will engage the head of various MDAs, including the Federal Inland Revenue Services, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Finance, etc. in addition, the details of the budget will be uploaded on the website of the Budget office of the Federation for citizen’s access.

The success of this approach has already been demonstrated through a town hall meeting, which served as a platform for constructive dialogues and valuable feedback. The insights gathered from this town hall will be given due consideration in the finalization of the 2024 budget, further reinforcing the commitment of the House to responsive and inclusive governance. By actively involving citizens in the budgetary process, the House aims to strengthen democratic principles and build a more participatory and accountable government.


The Citizens’ Townhall catalyzes ongoing conversations and initiatives to bridge the gap between policy formulation and public input. The emphasis on citizen participation in budgetary processes, as outlined in above, reinforces the idea that a vibrant democracy thrives on the active involvement of its people. The participants’ collective appeal is a more transparent, inclusive, and development-focused budgetary process. This involves prioritizing key sectors, addressing gender and social imbalances, and ensuring that fiscal decisions align with the genuine needs and aspirations of the citizenry. As we move forward, the insights and recommendations emanating from this town hall should be considered pivotal in steering the trajectory of the 2024 budget, ultimately contributing to a more responsive, accountable, and citizen-centric governance.