A total of 15 broadcasters from the nine community radios across the country on Monday, 25th November 2019, began a four-day training on how to effectively report on the national budget and public finance.
The training at Football Hotel in Yundum was organised by the Gambia Press Union and funded by the International Republican Institute as part of a project to promote fiscal transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Richard Annerquaye Abbey, the trainer from Ghana, said when the finance minister presents the national budget, he uses terms that the generality of people has no clue about.
“Therefore, the task is then up to journalists to take the budget to the people making it more understandable,” he said.
“When the minister goes to parliament talking about fiscal deficit using all those big economic jargon, he does not make sense to the people on the street and those listening to him in their various communities,” the Ghanaian said, adding that it is incumbent upon journalists to explain what the minister said in a way that is understandable to the common people."
Mr Abbey said a national budget is the most serious national document, apart from the constitution, that every country needs to have.
“But if you have a budget which people don't understand, then there is a problem,” the Ghanaian said. “As journalists, we should be able to break down the budget for the people to understand it as part of our mandate of educating the people.”
He further noted that when the people understand the budget,
they can hold the government accountable and ask the relevant questions.
Bakary S Dampha, representative of the Network of Community Radio Broadcasters, said the training was very important for it was designed to give the participants an insight into national budget allocations.
He said the training would help in as many community radio broadcasters in their reporting and discussions on the national budget.