SUN Secretariat and SUNI-SCP organise Budget Tracking Workshop for Partners
The Scaling Up Nutrition Secretariat (SUN) Office of the Vice President and Scaling Up Nutrition and Immunization Civil Society Platform (SUNI-CSP) on 12th May, held a workshop on Budget Tracking Validation at the SUN Secretariat Office of the Vice President. The workshop attracted the attendance of representatives from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHs), Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MEST), Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), Civil Society and UN Agencies.
During the workshop, participants were reminded that 55% of the country's budget is donor driven. However, the Government targets spending on nutrition is 10% of national budget, at preset, only 1.5 to 2% is being allocated to nutrition.
It's important to make clear that the SUN Movement places budget tracking on nutrition investment as one of its fundamental pillars.
Studies have shown that budget tracking is essential for policy makers, as well as for citizens and donors to identify funding gaps and provide solution for action.
Governments need reliable budget data to prioritise and plan expenditures, and to take sound decision on finance allocation, as well as to monitor and evaluate policy implementation (Picanyol 2014). Citizens want to hold governments to account for monies paid through their taxes, for which they need transparency in how public investments are made.
A detailed budget analysis to identify how much is being spent on nutrition (comparing with other programs) and to determine how other programs support nutrition will allow to assess the progress made by the government and will be used to push for more specific commitments to be made during the N4G Rio Summit.
In May 2016, FOCUS 1000 and ACF hired a consultant to conduct budget tracking to determine how government expenditure is changing. Key line Ministries identified for this process as an entry point into budget tracking for nutrition include: Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MEST) and Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR).
The workshop created a platform where participants examined the birth of Nutrition for Growth which has led to a series of commitments signed by government as part of Scaling Up Nutrition in Sierra Leone, for which budget allocations was one of the commitments.
SUN movement has rolled out budget tracking in 30 countries with Sierra Leone the 31st
This sort of analysis is not new in Sierra Leone; it has been conducted in the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, now being specifically conducted for Nutrition.
At end of the workshop, participants were made to understand that budget tracking process is their responsibility that can be championed by them.