The International Institute of ICT Journalism, Penplusbytes, in partnership with Financial Accountability and Transparency Africa (FAT-Africa) is undertaking a Budget Tracking Project to produce a simplified, easily comprehensible and reader-friendly citizens' budget. This is in recognition of the need to track government expenditure as well as efforts to measure how well policies are implemented and to what extent governments are fulfilling their commitments to citizens.
The joint project, with funding and technical support from STAR-Ghana, taps into the widely acclaimed core competence of Penplusbytes in applying and delivering cutting edge New digital technologies to enhance civil and government interaction as well as FAT-Africa's extensive expertise in promoting financial transparency and budget monitoring, not only to implement this project successfully, but also ensuring that the project's outcome are fully achieved.
The project aims at courting the participation of citizens in the governance process by producing and disseminating a simplified version of the budget information to help demystify government budgeting and financial governance as a whole with the goal of educating the public about assurances by government in the budget for the public to in turn demand accountability from government.
Kwami Ahiabenu,II, President of Penplusbytes, during the launch of the platform said "this project primarily exploits the use of new technology to enhance communication and public participation by offering new opportunities for quick and cost-effective ways to gathering vital budget information by citizens. Busy schedules mean that many citizens will appreciate convenient, comfortable, and quick ways to stay informed about government issues affecting them".
The project will also hold public budget reading fora to disseminate simplified budget and undertake status of the budget's implementation." Mr. Ahiabenu added
On his part, the Executive Director of FAT-Africa, Hon, Kan-Dapaah said "the project's design will stimulate citizens' interest to meaningfully participate in contributing to a budget that seeks their own welfare, by making national budget information readily accessible to them through the publication of a "Citizens' Budget" that is presented in a language devoid of technical jargons and in a format that ordinary people can understand and thereby empower citizens to be involved in the monitoring and tracking of the status of budget implementation."
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to empower the media through the use of Information and Communications Technology to advance journalism in the coverage of governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and mining, oil and gas.
FAT-Africa is a Civil Society Organization and a Think Tank that advocates and promotes Good Financial Governance with the aim of creating an enabling climate to nurture a culture of efficient public sector and financial management principles in Africa.