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County holds public participation forum on budget-making

The National Treasury and economic planning officials held a public participation forum to gather input from residents of West Pokot County for the medium-term budget for financial years 2024-2025 and 2026-27.

The public and stakeholders were required to identify social and developmental challenges they encounter within the county and suggest locally-based solutions that would be prioritised for resource allocation during the national government budgetary process.

In a forum that was held at Mtelo Hall in Kapenguria town, residents were invited to submit their memorandum regarding the West Pokot County Fiscal Strategy Paper for consideration in the national budget-making process.

During the opening remarks, West Pokot County Commissioner (CC) Apollo Okello reiterated that the budget is a key instrument for the execution of government economic policies.

‘‘Budget is a reflection of our collective priorities, our shared values, and our vision for a better tomorrow,’’ he said.

The CC stated that the utilisation of public participation forums is a commendable means of engagement that enables citizens to collectively shape a future that caters to the diverse needs and aspirations of all individuals.

Okello emphasised that public participation is not simply a procedural requirement but a crucial element of a robust and thriving democracy that ensures that decisions made through it are well-informed.

“We must acknowledge that inclusivity is the cornerstone of effective public participation, and, therefore, we must seek out and engage those whose voices have been marginalised or remained unheard in the past,” Okello said.

He urged residents to actively engage and ensure mutual respect for differing viewpoints throughout the process.

The CC expressed that the forum provides an opportunity for dialogue, particularly for individuals who may lack the resources or platform to voice their opinions independently, allowing their perspective to be heard.

A planning officer from the State Department for Economic Planning, Jacob Mumia, lauded the West Pokot residents for being proactive in attending public participation forums.

“It has been around 10 years since we had such a forum on budget matters. We foresee holding such forums even at the lowest administrative levels,” said Mumia.

He assured that the views given will help in policy and budget formulation for the coming financial years.

By Anthony Melly and Richard Muuhambe

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