Good Local Governance stands for a vigorous local democracy through proactive co-operation and partnering between elected council, administrative body, citizens and all partners (business, government, NGOs, cultural institutions, religious communities, community groups etc.) in order to focus local development on the improvement of quality of life. A new role model for the triangle of public, private and third sector, requires new partnerships and strong democratic control.
The final decision about the municipal budget lies with the elected council. Involving citizens early in setting budget priorities as well as making results transparent, is increasing the acceptance and agreement with local government budget decisions. It also facilitates the use of synergies between public and private funding and policies, and between municipal funding and funding from other government sources.
Local government’s effective collaboration with citizens, other government agencies, the private sector, the third sector and partners within and without municipal boundaries is a vital factor for successful problem solving.
APPROACH USED BY JINJA MUNICIPAL IN BUDGET FORMULATION:
According to the 1997 Local Government Act of Uganda it requires that each level of local government to begin its budget process with a budget conference which is open to public. The act gave local government “Jinja Municipal council” to raise funds and plan on how they can provide public goods and services including financing development projects for the benefits of its residents. The process is done through Participatory manner where by each individual participate in the budget formulation. The budget conference are held over one full day and discussion is open to the citizens so that they can complain on what has gone wrong and provide solutions of some problem raised. Discussion is guided by agenda set aside before the conference starts. After the budget conference some proposal are included in the Municipal budget and others are forwarded to Central Government.
Participation is the process by which stakeholders influence and share control over priority setting, policymaking, resource allocations, and/or program implementation. There is no blueprint for participation because it plays a role in many different contexts and for different purposes. In planning process participatory approaches is important to influence over policymaking and implementation.
Enhanced participation in budgeting can mean improved public transparency, strengthened external checks on government, and, ultimately, greater efficiency and efficacy. Citizens participate in allocating budgets according to priorities they have identified in the participatory diagnostics, formulate alternative budgets, or assess proposed allocations in relation to the government’s policy commitments and stated equity concerns. Citizens track whether public spending is consistent with allocations made in the budget and track the flow of funds to the agencies responsible for the delivery of basic goods and social services. Citizens monitor the quality of goods and services that are
meant to have an effect on their lives, especially the poor. This can be measured in relation to the amount of funds spent on such programs.
The Chairman of the Market Traders Association found the budget conference was a useful platform where old plans and new ideas were discussed. People against buying a new generator which was too expensive while there were more pressing needs. With participatory approach people are able to speak the language they felt comfortable and people a finally aware of what is going on and feels more part of the community.
ADVANTAGES OF PARTICIPATORY APPROACH IN BUDGET FORMULATION
The following are the advantage of Participatory approach in Budget formulation:
A range of stakeholders, including the poor and vulnerable groups, especially women, are tapped and their perspectives systematically incorporated into the design and implementation of the municipal annual plans. Transparency of participation and its outcomes at the municipal levels build trust, ownership, and support among all stakeholders.
Participatory processes should build as much as possible on existing governance and political systems. Participatory processes that build on existing mechanisms are more likely to be institutionalized and sustained over time. Similarly, policy reforms are more likely to be adopted if they are informed by a widely shared understanding of poverty and its causes.
Regular participation play a key role in continuously improving poverty reduction strategies. Public actions to reduce poverty need to be put into the budget and reflected in the public expenditure system. Participation in decisions regarding budget allocations, spending patterns, and public service delivery is thus a key entry point for civil society engagement in choosing public actions.
Enhanced participation in budgeting can mean improved public transparency, strengthened external checks on government, and, ultimately, greater efficiency and efficacy It can influence the Budget formulation and analysis where Citizens participate in allocating budgets according to priorities they have identified in the participatory poverty diagnostics, formulate alternative budgets, or assess proposed allocations in relation to the government’s policy commitments and stated equity concerns. Expenditure monitoring and tracking where Citizens track whether public spending is consistent with allocations made in the budget and track the flow of funds to the agencies responsible for the delivery of basic goods and social services. Monitoring of public service delivery. Citizens monitor the quality of goods and services that are meant to have an effect on their lives, especially the poor. However, because of their highly technical nature, many civil society groups shy away from budgeting, spending, and public service delivery processes.
PARTICIPATORY APPROACH APPLIED IN MY ORGANIZATION:
My organization Kinondoni Municipal council have powers to levy and collect taxes, fees and charges same applied to that of Jinja Municipa Council in Uganda. This is according to the Local Government Finances Act No. 9 of 1982 which requires the local government authorities in Tanzania Mainland to levy taxes and other types of revenues, which will be sufficient for meeting approved expenditure. The Budget Cycle,
Kinondoni Municipal Council is using participatory approach in budgeting process. The basis of participatory planning and budgeting is provided for in the National Constitution; in the Local Authority Acts No. 7 and 8 0f 1982; the Regional Administration Act of 1997; and the Regional Management and Planning Guide of 2000.
The plans starts from Mitaa level where by residents of that Mtaa using approach of participatory with tools like Opportunity and Obstacles for Development (O&OD) identify their problems and prioritize it. The Ward Development Committees coordinate and consolidate priorities from different Mitaa with the location and prepare and submit to the Council the Ward plans which indicate the expected sources and levels of funding. These plans are integrated with the projects which are developed at council level and discussed by the respective sector standing committee of the council. The council executives prepare a draft council plan and budget and submit them to the respective Regional Secretariat whereby sector representatives scrutinize the draft plan and budget with the aim of establishing that sector policies as contained in the planning and budget guidelines have been adhered to. The Regional Secretariat provides written comments and advice on how the council plan and budget can be improved upon. The Council Director convenes a meeting of the council which is responsible for finance and planning whereupon the draft council plan and budget are tabled indicating how the comments and advice received from the Regional Secretariat have been dealt with.
Finally, the draft budget is submitted to the Full Council Meeting where it is discussed and passed at least a month before the beginning of the financial year. The council plans and budgets in the region are supposed to be consolidated into a regional plan and budget before submission to the ministry responsible for local government for further consolidation and later submitted to Ministry of Finance for inclusion in the Government Budget for Parliament approval.
Kinondoni Municipal Council planning and budget cycle requires planning to start at the lowest level hierarchy passing the various stages before final approval. This means that the bottom-up planning approach is emphasized. By using this approach people’s priorities and felt needs are captured in the course of developing the council’s annual plan and budget, and that the approved plan and budget continue to reflect those priorities and needs as perceived by the people themselves.
Thus, the people at the lower level get the chance of making use of the participatory planning techniques in identifying the problems, prioritizing them and looking for solutions to those problems so that by using resources within their means and with possible assistance from Central Government and other stakeholders, they can bring about their own development.
The technique of Participatory Approach is appropriate in facilitating budget processes since approaches has prepared through several policy paper including Opportunities and obstacles to development (O &OD) which is used as planning techniques to facilitate budgeting process in my Organization . The O &OD techniques allow the Council planning team with collaboration by Ward development committee to call for mitaa meeting and key stakeholders e.g. community based organization(CBOs) ,Non governmental Organization , religious institutions, the disadvantaged people to determine the issues of concern to them, prioritize the sequence of addressing them and identify the strategies, opportunities, constraints and action for the way forward.