By Kennedy Mbele

Human and Environmental Development Agency, HEDA, also known as HEDA Resource Centre, has called on the three tiers of government to carry Nigerians along in their budget processes, especially during implementation.

The group, which also advocated that government pays more attention towards creating jobs for youths across the country, made the call at Ikeja, Lagos while presenting its findings on a research conducted to ascertain the perception of Lagos residents on the performance of the state government in its 2021 budget.

Presenting the findings in a document titled ‘Leadership Approval Rating: A Survey of Citizes’ Perception of Leadership and Government in Nigeria: a Focus on Lagos State’, the Chairman of the group, Mr Olarewaju Suraju, explained that the research, sponsored by MacArthur Foundation, was independently conducted by a reputable foreign research firm, Emani, on behalf of the group.

According to him, the main purpose of the inquiry was to find out residents’ level of budget awareness in the state.

He said that it also explored their level of satisfaction with the state government’s performances in areas such as education, infrastructural development, road maintenance, response to emergencies, traffic management and provision of employment opportunities.

Suraju explained that the investigation showed that 61% of the respondents were ignorant of the state’s budget and that only 5% were satisfied with its implementation. It also showed that 40% of them were of the view that the state government needs to improve its performances.

On education, the HEDA boss said the report indicated that only 15% described the sector as effective while 43% expressed the need for improvement.

Again, the Chairman disclosed that only 11% of the respondents said that measures taken by the Lagos government towards creating economic opportunities were effective.

The investigation, according to the HEDA boss further identified employment, road network, health, education and security as priority areas.

Based on these, the researchers, who had in the maiden edition of their inquiry in 2020 published the result of rating after studying the Federal Government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic, recommended that the state government should put the provision of affordable/qualitative health care services on its front burner and channel more of its resources towards infrastructural development.

HEDA expressed optimism that the Lagos government and, by extension, other states and tiers of government across the country will adopt the result of this study by improving their performances as recommended

The group’s Executive Secretary, Suleiman Arigbabu, on his part, said: “We have been able to ‘irritate’ them, the outcome has not been up to what we want but we are making progress”.

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