A group under the aegis of Budget Committee Group, on Wednesday lamented the failure of Ministries Departments and Agencies at state and federal levels to respect Freedom of Information Act, adding that it has dire consequences for agriculture financing.
The group comprising committees from Gombe, Ondo, Delta, Kwara, Ebonyi, and Kogi states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, made this revelation in a communique issued at the end of a two-day Public Financing for Agriculture Budget Committee Advocacy (PFA-BCA) Summit organised by the ActionAid Nigeria.
The communique noted a marginal increase in agriculture budgetary allocations in some states between 2012 and 2021, stressing that the allocations fell below the Maputo/Malabo Declaration benchmark of 10 percent.
According to the group, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should create awareness for stakeholders on the new agriculture policy as part of efforts towards promoting improved citizen participation in budget process
The communique reads, in part, “Regrettably, the late passage and releases of fund to the sector continues to impede the capacity of Federal and State governments to drive socio-economic development including food security within the policy thrust of the diversification of the economy towards agriculture.
“The agricultural policy which is expected to focus and drive development of favourable and sustainable guidelines for the promotion of economic growth is absent in some States.
“Some Federal and States MDAs do not respect the FOI Act as regards to public access to budget proposals, appropriation, releases and utilization of funds.MDAs at the National and State levels are urged to respect the FOI act and provide access to budget information.”
The group also pointed out the need to find solutions to the impending food scarcity, following poor consideration of agriculture budget, stressing that until priority is given to agriculture, challenges would abound.