Local Participatory Budgeting has been institutionalised in Benin

It was announced on Tuesday 20 October 2020 by Martin Vihoutou Assogba, President of the Steering and Monitoring Committee (SMC) of the PartiCiP II Programme.

At a press conference at the headquarters of the NGO Alcrer (Cotonou), the Chairman of the Steering and Monitoring Committee said he was pleased to see this approach long advocated by Alcrer NGOs and Social Watch Benin, for the continuous improvement of governance of public affairs at both national and local levels, now effective in all 77 local authorities. For him, through this institutionalisation of the Participatory Budget (PB) in the communes, which will be generalised from 2021 onwards, Benin has just taken an important step towards improving the management of public resources and promoting citizen participation.

This approach — which is part of the implementation of the activities of the PartiCiP II Programme jointly led by the two NGOs since December 2012 with the technical and financial support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands — is a mechanism by which the populations decide on the allocation of all or part of the available public resources; or are involved in the decisions relating to this allocation and ensure their follow-up. The PB remains, for the President of the NGO Alcrer, "a direct democratic process that gives the population, under the guidance of elected officials, the power to deliberate, plan and control local public affairs and puts citizens at the centre of the decision-making process. It gives them the opportunity to decide on the allocation of resources, to prioritise the different social policies of the local authority and to control the execution of expenditure. Thanks to this mechanism, the policies carried out by the local community are more in line with the needs and concerns of the most vulnerable groups". With the PB, continues Martin Vihoutou Assogba, the citizen goes from being a mere observer to a participant in the process of defining, implementing and monitoring local public policy.