Whiles a section of the participants were of the view that paying of transport fare to participants would defeat the purpose of engaging citizens by the district assemblies on developmental agenda, others argued that once they had spent time and also paid their transportation fares to the venue, they needed to be reimbursed.
Under the Local Government Capacity Support Project (LGCSP) being implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in metropolitan and municipal assemblies (MMA), the assemblies are expected to improve citizens’ participation in public financial management.
The MMAs are to engage a cross section of citizens including civil society organizations (CSOs) periodically on Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) at Town Hall meetings and other public platforms to discuss issues of developmental agenda concerning them.
The workshop was organized by the LGCSP to disseminate the Citizens’ Perception Survey Report in selected districts, which was conducted to assess citizen’s participation in decision making processes of the local government authority or the assemblies.
Ms Fati Soale, Coordinator of the LGCSP, debunked the notion that, participants at such meetings should be paid moneys as compensation for leaving their jobs explaining that, citizen’s participation was a civic duty and therefore cannot attract any payment.
She made it clear that without citizens participating in the local governance of their respective areas, they might be the losers because the assemblies could come out with policies that would not be in their interest because they failed to make inputs at the formulation stage of the policy.
The Coordinator therefore urged the public, especially the CSOs, to impress upon their leaders to give them feedback from local governance meetings they attend.