The Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) under its Education program conducted a workshop on National Budget Advocacy in Levuka. Forty three (43) participants from Moturiki (Island off Levuka), District representatives (Mata-ni-Tikina’s), Chiefs (Turaga-ni Koro’s), Women and youth leaders attended the workshop at the Lamaiviti Provincial Office Conference Room on the 8th and 9th April 2014.
The main emphasis of the two-day workshop was to create awareness and empower the grassroots people and communities to actively participate in the national budget processes by making submissions to the 2015 national budget, which is expected to be announced in November.
Government ministries including the Budget Division of the Ministry of Finance, Integrated Human Resources Development Project (IHRDP), Ministry of Women and Ministry of Agriculture were also present at the workshop and provided the framework on how participants could make budget submissions to government.
Workshop facilitator, Sereima Lutubula, said it was evident from this workshop that more workshops on budget needs to be conducted on grassroots people due to the lack of knowledge on the budget processes at the community and grassroots level.
“ There should be more workshops conducted to empower and inform grassroots people of their responsibilities towards the budget processes. It is important that peoples voices are been heard in governments decision making process,” said Lutubula.
“We are encouraging the participants to take part in the national budget by making submissions by July this year,” Lutubula added.
For majority of the participants the workshop was something new, as they did not have representatives from either the government or the Civil Society Organization (CSO) carry out a workshop on budget previously and this workshop provided them with the vital information on the budget process and how they could make their budget submissions to the government.
Mata-ni- Tikina, Moturiki, Josteki Saumadu, said “No one has talked about these things to us before, but this is very important for us,” adding more workshops on budget should be conducted so people are aware how to make submissions for national budgets.
After the workshop village heads decided that they would be making their submissions to government based on the top three development agendas on their village development plans.
The Tikina’s included in the workshop were Nasinu, Draiba, Bureta, Lovoni and Levuka. Participants have request workshops on Good Governances and Human Rights to be conducted next time around.