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Integrity Watch Liberia urges ‘gender-responsive budget’

By Lewis S. Teh

Integrity Watch Liberia Executive Director Herold Aidoo has urged the government here to prioritize a ‘gender-responsive budget’ if Liberians must rise from poverty. 

Speaking Friday, 28 October 2022 when Integrity Watch Liberia spearheaded a one-day national stakeholders roundtable on gender-responsive budgeting at Icampus on Carey Street, Aidoo noted that a gender-responsive budget is a key to the growth of any nation.

“We strongly believe that in the absence of a clearly defined national budget that … [emphasizes] gender responsive budgeting … this country will continue to wilder in abject poverty,” said Mr. Aidoo.

He said a gender-responsive budget should address specific gaps, channeling resources whether in health, education, infrastructure, and security, among others. 

The one-day dialogue was held under the theme: Gender Responsive National Budgeting Cornerstone for Inclusive Development.

It was supported by ActionAid Liberia, and it brought together civil society actors, officials of government, and national stakeholders, among others.

The dialogue was meant for civil society organizations (CSOs) to have a conversation on the importance of a gender-responsive budgeting process.

It was also meant for them to look at the impact of the national budget, and how it could address key issues confronting the citizens.

In his introductory remarks, Mr. Aidoo narrated that Integrity Watch Liberia was the lead convener of the CSOs Budget Platform.

He said it seeks to bring various stakeholders together to discuss the issues relating to the national budget and its impact.

Mr. Aidoo extolled ActionAid Liberia for seeing the values in civil society activities, particularly the CSOs Budget Platform for providing support.

“Today, the convening of the dialogue was organized against the backdrop that inequality within the society is widening,” said Mr. Aidoo.

He noted that one way to address issues of inequality is through the budget.

Beyond the constitution, he said, the national budget is the most important policy instrument that has the capacity and the ability to transform the lives of citizens across the country.

Mr. Aidoo continued that if you go to any nation and you want to know the value that the government places on its people, you need to look at that country’s budget.

He argued that the national budget determines citizens’ futures, noting that as inequality got widening, “we got [the] shock [of] Ebola and COVID-19 pandemic came with many challenges.”

He said the challenges included economic, social and political challenges, and business people had to use their capital, thus pushing citizens one step back into poverty.

Giving the overview of the dialogue, James Konyor of the CSOs Budget Platform said the CSOs Budget Platform is a conglomeration of civil society organizations that are working on fiscal transparency and budget implementation issues.

He noted that often people would only hear that the budget has been submitted, but they do not understand the process that leads to it.

Most recently the CSOs Budget Platform in collaboration with the Fiscal Transparency Advocacy Group presented a shadow budget option paper to the Government of Liberia.

The instrument, according to Konyor, highlighted five sectors including health, education, rule of law, security, and gender.

Konyor added that there were consultations held with citizens in five counties and those five sectors were highlighted.

In remarks, ActionAid Liberia Learning Program Officer Prince D. Gaye said his organization is a women’s rights organization that focuses on working on issues surrounding women’s poverty, and injustices, among others.

“As we all know, the budget is a key component that needs to address poverty, marginalized people,” said Mr. Gaye. –Edited by Winston W. Parley


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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