Published on May 29, 2016 Greenbarge Reporters
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has expressed deep concern over what it called, inadequate budgetary allocation to the child and family health in the country where legislators take the lion share of the budget.
The group, which in collaboration with Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH), held a two day training in Kano for selected journalists, also expressed concern “over preventable loopholes in the 2016 national budget, unchecked mismanagement of pubic treasury and persistent high cost of governance in the legislature despite inadequate budgetary allocation to child and family health.”
In a communique after the advocacy training between May 25 and 26, the group is worried about what it termed poor political will towards full implementation of various national and international commitments on child and family health.
It stressed that government has the responsibility to commit necessary resources to health sector even as relevant stakeholders have the right to know how much and on what are the national/state resources expend on child and family health.
The group suggested proactive effort to Government of Nigeria as a way of ensuring adequate understanding of the current budgetary system and that it will command appropriate compliance to required standards in the budgetary preparation and implementation.
It said that encouraged and well-funded independent media will lead to prompt investigative journalism, evidence-based advocacy, comprehensive coverage and reportage on legislative accountability in child and family health.
It said that inclusive and participatory media in material design and development will enhance ownership in data modification and utilisation to demand accountability in child and family health.
Part of the communique which said that 25 journalists attended the training which was aimed at bringing selected and reputable journalists under one roof for training on appropriate skills and knowledge to effectively demand accountability in child and family health from the legislature, reads:
“After exhaustive deliberations on various thematic issues, we the participants:
Recognise that the United States donor agencies under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 are totally prohibited from lobby activities; and relevant media demanding accountability under the agencies’ projects and programmes must uphold and strictly adhere to the lobby-free provisions in their related coverage and reportage.
Also recognise that legislative advocacy is a deliberate process with demonstrated evidence to indirectly influence the legislators to support or pass a specific legislation; and lobby aims at directly influencing the legislators to support or pass a specific legislation.
Affirm coalition building and proper networking among accountability journalists for appropriate update and data validation to inform accurate and credible reportage in child and family health.
Commit to embrace high level transparency, accountability, creativity and due diligent with verifiable evidence and strictly adhere to specific objective in coverage and reportage on child and family health through constant follow-up, period evaluation, investigative journalism, content sharing, and field study.
Also commit to effectively utilise existing legislation such Freedom of Information Act (FOI) in engaging all levels of governments for in-depth investigation, data validation to demand accountability in child and family health.
Will adopt constructive and proactive strategies to break related barriers and impending challenges confronting citizen participation, effective coverage and reportage in child and family health
Shall effectively engage the legislatures on their primary responsibilities—law-making, oversight, representation, constituency outreach, financial control, confirmation of appointment, and constitutional amendment—to demand accountability in child and family health.
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