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‘Constructive citizens’ engagement aiding good governance in South-West’

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The 2018 review of citizens’ engagement with the government in the South-West states has shown an impressive result particularly in aiding good governance and ensuring service delivery to the people in the region.

At the 2018 South-West Partners’ Reflection Session held in Ibadan, Oyo State, the representatives of the Civil Society Groups, private sector and the informal sector said constructive engagement with the executive and legislative arm of government yielded great results this year.

The reflections session was facilitated by the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn, (PERL), a programme of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

The partners used the avenue to do thorough review of their engagement in 2018 in the areas of inclusion of citizens in government’s policy process, planning and budget in achieving service delivery and good governance.

The participants narrated their success stories in 2018 and having reflected on their challenges, the partners set priority for next year considering the emerging opportunities for more robust engagement going forward.

The key achievements include reduction of charges for services in public facilities, downward review of the minimum basic tax on micro and minimum scale business and total elimination on certain levies, enhancing the ease of doing business and improvement in agribusiness.

A member of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Dr Adebayo Adebukola Shehu and the Osun State Coordinator of Federation of Informal Workers Association of Nigeria (FIWON), Comrade Ibrahim Olayinka summarised some of the key achievement.

Dr Adebayo said “We have seen a huge improvement in the successes of the engagement by citizens in 2018. In Oyo state for instance, the N15,000 meant to be paid by people for the enrolment in health insurance scheme was reduced to 7,800 through a resolution of the State House of Assembly.”

Olayinka said “Osun State House of Assembly passed Social Protection Bill this year and this is a milestone. When government announced N2,500 as minimum basic tax, we engage the state government and eventually the tax was reviewed downward to N1,500 and the artisans are okay with that.”

Speaking with our correspondent on the sideline of the meeting, a member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Gboyega Aribisogan said the constructive engagement adopted by citizens aided successes recorded this year.

Gboyega who spoke on behalf of legislators from other state Houses of Assembly in the South-West reiterated the need to deviate totally from confrontational and abusive approach and embrace constructive approaches.

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