National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust has appealed to local government authorities to ensure that citizens understand key budget and public finance information.
Nice Chiradzulu district civic education officer Boniface Phiri made the appeal at Mpama 2 Court in the district on Friday during a citizen budget distribution exercise meeting.
Citizen budgets and Chiradzulu local council budget documents are translated in Chichewa so that people can understand how much has been allocated in the Local Development Fund (LDF), Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and District Development Fund (DDF), among others.
Phiri affirmed the importance for citizens to understand how public funds are being used and managed because they affect their lives.
“In conjunction with DMA Consultants, we have come up with citizen budgets which have been designed to present key public finance information to the people of Chiradzulu.
“These are typically written in accessible language [Chichewa] and incorporate visual enhancements to help non-specialist readers to understand the figures,” he said.
Phiri told the meeting that citizen budgets include information about how the budget is formulated, executed and who is responsible at each stage.
Mpama 2 Area Development Committee chairperson Adamson Maganga said citizen budgets are important in introducing citizens and the civil society to the knowledge they need to participate as informed stakeholders and hold the local government accountable on how it manages public finances.
“Citizen budget documents contain information about economic assumptions underlying the budget, revenue collection, spending allocation, explaining how the money is being spent and why, significant policy initiatives and information on who to contact for further information. I am positive that we are going to find these documents handy,” he said. n