Group Demands Transparency in N1.4 Billion Ekiti Airport Budget

The coalition intends to actively monitor the budget implementation process, scrutinizing projects to ensure they align with stated objectives.
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A coalition known as the Ekiti Tax for Service, operating under the auspices of the Ekiti Tax for Service, is advocating for transparency in the allocation and utilization of the N1.4 billion designated for the Ekiti International Cargo Airport in the 2024 budget, along with other appropriations. 

This coalition, comprising the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), FIDA, artisans, hoteliers, market women, and traditional chiefs, asserts that tax compliance would be more readily accepted by the citizens of Ekiti State if they witness tangible outcomes from their contributions.

Christopher Oluwadare, the chairperson of Ekiti Tax for Service and a professor, articulated these sentiments during an event on Wednesday where the Ekiti State Tax for Service Group's demands for the 2024 budget were unveiled. 

The event, facilitated by the New Initiative for Social Development (NISD) in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room and UK International Development, emphasized the need for accountability and public participation in budgetary processes.

Among the group's demands are full disclosure regarding the allocation of the N1.4 billion for the Ekiti International Cargo Airport, as well as the allocation of funds for youth and farmer empowerment programs, agricultural subsidies, support for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), rehabilitation of markets across the state, and improvement of urban and rural water supply, sanitation, and hygiene facilities.

Oluwadare underscored the significance of ensuring that tax revenue is utilized efficiently, particularly in the current economic climate where governments at both federal and sub-national levels are striving to augment their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) amid declining oil revenues and federal allocations.

The coalition intends to actively monitor the budget implementation process, scrutinizing projects to ensure they align with stated objectives. 

They plan to conduct visits to various government agencies to assess project progress and, if necessary, escalate any discrepancies or delays to the media in order to foster transparency and accountability.

Oluwadare emphasized that citizen engagement and oversight are vital in holding the government accountable for the judicious use of public funds. 

Should projects fail to commence or progress as scheduled, the coalition is prepared to take proactive measures, including direct engagement with relevant government ministries and agencies to demand explanations and remedies.

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