By; Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna.
Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SNN), had a two-day training of nutrition-based Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on budget tracking to promote transparency and accountability in government nutrition spending.
CS-SNN Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Jayne Arinze explained at the opening of the training in Kaduna that the measure will ensure reasonable allocation and effective utilization of funds in relation to nutrition.
According to Arinze, the training was designed to equip participant with the needed skills to track and monitor government budget and expenditure on nutrition.
“It will also enable the CSOs to identify challenges, inefficiency, and waste in nutrition service delivery, promote reforms that will lead to improvement in nutrition budget allocation.
“This will help to promote transparency and accountability in government spending”.
On her part, the Project Director, CS-SNN, Mrs Ngozi Onuora said that the training has become necessary to address the current nutrition challenges in Kaduna State.
She said that currently, 57 per cent of children from zero to five years are stunted, while 42 per cent do not have adequate access to food.
According to her, the number of children dying of malnutrition in the country is rising by the day, adding that steps must be taken to tackle the menace.
Also speaking, CS-SNN Project Officer, Mr Okoromkwo Sunday, said that CSOs must be interested in government budget to address the challenge of malnutrition in the country.
Sunday pointed out that the poorest and the most vulnerable in the society depend solely on public health system are largely affected by how public resources are allocated.
According to him, health service is a basic human right that should be available to all; however, a larger percentage of Nigerians do not have access to basic health care services.
He stressed that CSOs have a role to play in ensuring transparency and accountability in the way government spends funds on health services.
“CSOs can oversee health expenditure, monitoring what is spent by local authorities and using the findings to call for change in nutrition budgetary allocation.
“They can get involved in the planning process and influence national and local spending priorities.
“This is because budget tracking has been proven to be an important tool in identifying challenges, inefficiency and waste in service delivery and curb the menace of corruption.
“It has been successfully used to promote reforms leading to significant improvement in budget allocation both at the national and at the local levels”, Sunday said.
Some participants, Malam Umar Ahmad, Project Manager, Mother Care Forum, and Eric John, Project Officer, Youths, Orphans and Widows Empowerment, commended CS-SNN for organizing the training.
The training was crucial in attracting the needed government attention to nutrition issues in the state.
The training had participants from 20 different nutrition-based CSOs across Kaduna State.
By; Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna.