In this vein, the Upper West Region held its Regional Citizens’ Inputs Forum where stakeholders made inputs in various areas including education, health and social protection.
On education, the participants expressed the hope that the 2018 budget would capture the provision of more educational infrastructure and Teaching Learning Materials (TLMs) as well as allocation of more resources for circuit supervisors to enhance monitoring and supervision.
They also called for proper consultation and inclusion of private school operators in the designing of educational policies and distribution of resources.
Making the education curricular more practical and the issue of the upgrading of teachers were also raised by participants for consideration in the 2018 budget.
For the area of health, provision of infrastructure; training of more health staff to boost human resource, provision of incentives to outreach staff and procurement of vaccines were among the issues raised for consideration by the participants.
Increment of the social protection grant and expansion to cover more people, provision of resources for district social workers and a review of the computer ranking system dominated the inputs made by participants in the area of social protection.
Mr Bashiru Jumah, Upper West Regional Programme Officer for SEND-Ghana, said in the past citizens have always viewed the budget as a tool for only the technocrats and politicians.
He said because of this, citizens do not actually pay attention to what constituted the budget as they did not make any input into the preparation of the budget.
Mr Jumah said SEND-Ghana has over the years been trying to whip up citizen’s interest in the preparation of the budget by creating the opportunity for them to express their concerns which would then be collated and submitted to the Ministry of Finance.
Mr Joseph Laryea, an Economist at the Ministry of Finance, said the budget belonged to the people and hence the need to listen to their needs.
He said as a result of the importance of the budget, the Ministry always made efforts to translate it into different local languages including Gonja, Dagbani, Twi, Ga and Ewe to enhance understanding by all.
Mr Laryea said the inputs made would then be collated by SEND-Ghana and submitted to the Ministry of Finance for consideration into the national budget.