The Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has charged members of the Civil Society Leaders Forum on Social Protection, to be deeply involved in the process of governance.

The Minister gave the advice when Officials of the Civil Society Leaders Forum on Social Protection paid him a courtesy visit, in Abuja. He noted that the administration of Senator Bola Tinubu appreciates the watchdog roles being played by civil society groups in the national life of the citizens.

Senator Bagudu revealed that the social protection plans of the federal government are well articulated in the working document for the Ministry, imploring the Civil Society Groups to be alive to their roles of knowing who is responsible for what and hold the right agencies of government accountable where necessary.

He maintained that Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget had entrenched the practice of carrying Civil Society Groups, NGOs and other relevant groups along in all its plans and policies in order to ensure unity of purpose between the government and its stakeholders.

Describing Civil Society Groups as partners in progress, the Minister informed that members of the Group played integral roles in the Ministry’s policy document that would soon be launched for full implementation.

Bagudu expressed the willingness of the federal government to always key into any intervention and initiatives that will make the citizens feel the direct impact of governance, alluding to the fact that the civil society groups have been fair in their engagement with the government over the years.

“Let me on behalf of President Tinubu appreciate you for engaging the Ministry because this is what the President expects from all political office holders under his administration. The Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning has specific mandate clearly stated out to involve everyone in its development planning and to also generate consensus for the overall good of the masses.

“Your visit today is to the advantage of the Ministry because part of what we should be doing as a Ministry is to always give room for dialogue with you and our other numerous stakeholders. This is the type of activism we believe is needed. You have right to know what government is doing, ask questions about some policies of government with the aim of encouraging government to do better,” the Senator stated.

Earlier, the Convener of Civil Society Leaders Forum on Social Protection, Otive Igbuzor PhD, listed some of the request of its members to include: Adoption of a Comprehensive Development Agenda for the Country and implementation of a Comprehensive Social Protection Programme for the Poor and vulnerable

The Group also urged the Federal Government to set up a Presidential think tank, adopt a procedure for filtering policy ideas and should as a matter of urgency set up a process for increasing the minimum wage as the current minimum wage of thirty thousand naira cannot guarantee a quality life for anyone.

The Group, through its spokesperson, called for increment in the Federal Government’s budgetary allocation to Agriculture, Health, Education and Infrastructure, saying that Women, Youth and Persons with disabilities must be accorded priority attention by the government.

The Director of Social Development in the Ministry, Dr Faniran in his remarks, said that the Ministry is aware of the enormous responsibilities in its purview and as such welcomes support like that of civil society groups, saying that the realization of the mandates of the Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning requires the combined effort, co-creation and partnership between government, private sector and civil society.