Daily Trust Foundation, a Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Media Trust Group, has begun a three-day training capacity workshop for media practitioners in the Southwest region of the country on budget tracking and its implementation.
The ongoing workshop, which is being supported by the MacArthur Foundation, has drawn over twenty-five journalists from different media organisations in the country.
Daily Trust reports that the capacity training holding in Akure, the Ondo State capital, will run from Wednesday 30 to Friday, September 1, 2023.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, Chairman of the Foundation, Malam Bilya Bala, underscored the importance of budget allocation to the socio-economic development of any society.
Malam Bala explained how the budget as a document gives direction for any nation’s prosperity, noting that journalists needed to arm themselves with the knowledge of how to track government expenditure.
According to him, it’s the responsibility of media practitioners to investigate budgetary allocations in the state, sectors and ministries including its implementation.
“The subject matter of this workshop, budget tracking and investigative public expenditure is crucial for Nigeria and the media.
“Apart from the constitution, the next most important document in a country is the budget, also called the appropriation act.
“Like the constitution, the budget charts the way forward for the nation and provides the direction for the country’s prosperity and the well-being of the people,” he said.
While emphasising the importance of the capacity workshop, Malam Bala told the cross-section of the participants to embrace developmental journalism in assisting the society for a great nation.
“This is the reason why we are training journalists to follow the money, the moment it’s budgeted for. When the resources come, and how the resources are being implemented, and for what it is budgeted for.”
He, however, saluted the MacArthur Foundation, for providing funds in the area of training and capacity building to media practitioners in the country.
Dr Theophilus Abbah, Director of Daily Trust Foundation, said the ongoing workshop aimed to train journalists in the area of budget tracking and empower them with the necessary skills and tools to report on government expenditure as it affects the public.
Abba, who explained that the Daily Trust Foundation has been carrying out training for journalists in the country, affirmed that the budget affects the lives of the populace.
Taking participants through the session, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning in Ondo State, said the budget allocation of any state is very important to governance.
Igbasan, who listed various sections of preparing a budget and allocating funds, attributed the bane of underdevelopment in the society to their public spending.
He later employed journalists to support the government by tracking the budget to the stage of its implementation through investigative reporting and journalism skills.
Earlier, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju said the government of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is always accessible and would always be open for scrutiny.