FG committed to transparency in governance ― Malami
The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to the promotion of fiscal transparency, improve public procurement, citizen engagement and empowerment as a way of consolidating the on-going reform efforts within and outside the public service.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice/Coordinating Minister, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Abubakar Malami (SAN) stated this at the weekend while addressing the OGP Stakeholders Validation Retreat on the 2nd National Action Plan (NAP).
He said the OGP is a product of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the strengthening of anti-corruption reforms.
Malami said Nigeria joined the OGP in July 2016 to foster transparency and accountability through targeted measures.
To ensure proper coordination of OGP, the President named the Federal Ministry of Justice as the coordinating Ministry of its implementation and as such, the Secretariat was located in the Ministry to act as the coordinating Ministry.
The AGF said the OGP Secretariat is also working closely with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation on the establishment of OGP Principles within OGP implementing Units in all MDA’s based on the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Malami said within the next few months, a service-wide circular will be published to set out the modalities for the establishment of the OGP Units in MDAs.
While enumerating some of the successes recorded during the implementation of the 1st NAP, Malami said the Budget Office of the Federation, through consultative process with relevant government agencies and citizens published the Pre-Budget Statement (2018-2020 MTEF/FSP) and has consistently published a Citizen’s Guide to the Budget since 2018.
It has also developed the iMonitor platform for citizens’ feedback to the government with respect to the implementation of projects within communities.
To citizens engaged in governments’ processes, he said the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) developed the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO), which has made the BPP to win the Government Innovation Award in a competition organized by the Washington, DC-based Open Contracting Partnership and the London-based Open Data Institute.
“So far, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have completed consultations with stakeholders on the implementation of Beneficial Ownership Register”.
The National Assembly in May 2018 repealed and re-enacted the Companies and Allied Matters Act to include Beneficial Ownership Reporting by Companies awaiting the President assent.
CAC has also developed new Annual Returns Forms that require companies filing Annual Returns to provide information on Beneficial Owners of Companies.
According to the minister, the objective of the Retreat is to validate the draft 2nd National Action Plan ahead of its submission by the end of September 2019 to the OGP International Secretariat to ensure that Nigeria maintains an uninterrupted membership of the global body.
The 1st National Action Plan, he said had 14 commitments that were hinged on Fiscal Transparency, Access to Information, Anti-Corruption and Citizens Engagement.
Unlike the 1st NAP with four thematic areas and 14 commitments, the draft 2nd National Action Plan has seven thematic areas with 16 commitments
He expressed confidence that the 2nd NAP Document would take care of Nigeria’s contextual issues and OGP Global priorities, in the areas of impact, inclusion, participation, gender, public service communities, service delivery, health and education policies which has resulted in the increased thematic areas and commitments under the Nigeria 2nd NAP.