The Liberia budget is opaque, contributing to the country’s inability to tackle most developmental challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and poor infrastructure. The lack of transparency in the most important government document has led to citizen apathy and reduced participation in governance. Many Liberians do not understand how the budget affects their daily lives, community, and economy.
BudgIT Liberia bridges this gap by providing a simplified version of the national budget information in an accessible format using infographics, interactive videos, and printed pamphlets to ensure the information is easily understood. The national budget is the prime annual development plan of the government of Liberia. It articulates the government development plan for a given year. The Liberia Public Finance Management act of 2009 states that “to improve the quality of governance in the country and increase the level of transparency and accountability in the public sector, there should be an open budget initiative championed by the government and the private sector for more education on the national budget.”
We aim to promote inclusive participation in governance by informing Citizens about budget provisions that directly impact them. Our goal is to create a host of active citizens who collectively demand service delivery and efficiency in the distribution of public funds. The BudgIT Liberia team has made tremendous strides in simplifying the 2020 and 2021 national budgets into an e-copy and printed pamphlets for citizens to access and understand quickly. When equipped with adequate budgetary information, citizens can engage the responsible government agencies to implement capital projects in the budget and demand to participate in the following budget-making process.
We have held budget sensitization meetings in eight(8) communities-West Point Township, Marketers of the Rally Town Market in Sonniwein Community, and three coffee shops informing them about provisions that directly impact them in the 2020/2021 approved national budget. These engagements further enhanced citizens’ understanding of budgetary allocation made to each sector and emphasis on the socio-economic impact on their lives. With these outreach activities, citizens are beginning to engage with their leaders in town hall meetings and community engagements to participate in the governance process.
We will continue to create awareness for the national budget as we believe in the collective power of an informed citizenry. Together we can build a culture of active civic engagement to strengthen democracy and develop Liberian communities.