The Nigerian Budget: Using Creative Technology to Intersect Civic Engagement and Institutional Reform

KEY INDIVIDUAL(s)

Oluseun Onigbinde

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM
THIS CASE STUDY

Public Finance Experts
Researchers
Grassroots
Inactive Literate Citizens

KEY CATEGORIES

Accountability
Budget
Government
Institutions
Technology
Transparency

CONTACT CTIN

CASE STUDY

The Nigerian Budget: Using Creative Technology to Intersect Civic Engagement and Institutional Reform

TYPE OF ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

STATUS

COUNTRY

FOUNDING DATE

LAST UPDATED

Live

Nigeria

2014

N/A

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CASE STUDY

This study analyses the efforts of BudgIT, Nigeria’s creative start-up, in making the Nigerian budget simple and accessible to every citizen. This includes its classification of citizens according to their understanding of public finance and its personalised approach in reaching out to them.

In its 53 years of independence, Nigeria, which has an oil-driven economy, has had more than thirty-three years of military rule, which guarded the detailed budget as a state secret. Current efforts in the democratic regime have made both the proposed and enacted budget available to citizens as enabled by law. However, the budget is officially released in a non-readable format. In addition, most citizens have no clear understanding of government finances. BudgIT uses an array of technology tools to simplify the budget for citizens and also works with the civil society and media in data analysis and representation.

BudgIT believes that the amplified voices of citizens based on better access to budgetary data can lead to institutional reform. It also works to improve the capacity of congressional budget offices to enhance budget performance. BudgIT methodology will use refined data mining skill sets to creatively present data and empower citizens to use the information that is available in demanding improved delivery of services.

QUICK FACTS/TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CASE STUDY
  • BudgIT’s website has been visited by over 112,000 unique visitors and our platform has also responded to over 4,000 data requests. Our recent plan is to reaching out to the grassroots using bespoke communication tools such as radio, sms and print documents.
  • We have started this approach using Ekiti State as our pilot project.
    Working with other civic minded organisations, BudgIT distributed over 10,000 copies of simplified budget documents to citizens in Ekiti. Citizens including grassroots leaders and traditional leaders were shocked to see huge budget allocations for their communities.
LESSONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
  • The lack of transparency and accessibility to the Nigerian citizen on the budget led to the emergence of a creative startup named BudgIT. BudgIT initially conceptualised and developed in Nigeria’s foremost technology hub, Co-Creation Hub, has a core goal of making the Nigerian budget simpler and accessible for the average citizen.
  • The availability of budgets in non-readable pdf formats via the government website provided an initial opportunity for BudgIT to stretch forward its innovative idea by simplifying the budgets using infographics and interactive applications. BudgIT with over 4 million web views and over 112,000 unique users believes that active participation in government finance is key to a functional society. Citizens in a clear, timely and transparent manner need to know how government revenues are expended in delivery of public infrastructure, meeting debt obligations or funding the recurrent component of the budget.
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NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.