The 2023 Financial Year Citizen’s Budget was officially launched on the 5th April 2023 by the Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with the National Council for Civic Education and Democracy (NACCED), Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and Non-State-actors
It is a simplified version of the FY2023 National Budget in the form of a video skit and a reader-friendly pamphlet, at the Ministry of Finance Conference Hall in Freetown.
In giving the overview of the Citizen’s Budget, Acting Director of Budget Bureau at the Ministry of Finance, Dr Ilara Mahdi, stated that this simplified version of the FY2023 budget is not replacing the more detailed budget document which was presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance and approved by Parliament in December 2022, but seeks to provide a piece of less technical, budgetary information that the citizens of Sierra Leone can easily understand.
She emphasized that this abridged version will enable the public to understand the revenue and expenditure plans of the Government and help them participate as stakeholders and hold the Government accountable.
Dr Mahdi further reiterates the Government’s commitment to an open, transparent and participatory budget preparation, execution and reporting process.
Senior Deputy Financial Secretary (SDFS), Samuel E.B Momoh, who also doubles as the Chairman of the ceremony, stated that this document would help the citizens and civil society to hold the Government accountable.
He went on to state that the Citizen’s Budget highlights areas of revenue and expenditures priorities of the Government for FY2023 in a simple form.
SEB Momoh noted that jargon used when writing a budget is usually not easy to understand by the layman, thus preventing them from appreciating the reason for the implementation.
He furthered that the budget also espouses effective management of expenditure in a bid to maintain a transparent atmosphere for public scrutiny.
He also stated that the Ministry of Finance is not the only player in the budget implementation process but a key facilitator in implementing policy commitments.
The Chairman National Council for Civic Education and Democracy (NACCED), Kalilu Totangi, appreciated all stakeholders that participated in producing the video clip and the reader-friendly pamphlet to help educate the public.
A representative from Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the abridged version would help the citizens understand the content of the budget document.
The climax of the program was an interactive session with Non- State-Actors, journalists and officials of the Ministry of Finance.