We won’t force states to join Open Government Partnership – FG

THE Federal government says states will not be forced to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which the Federal government committed itself to at the London Anti-corruption Summit in 2016.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clems Agba, who disclosed the Federal government’s position on Monday December 19 in Abuja, said that rather than force states to join, the government would encourage their participation to grow transparency and accountability in governance.

Agba said, “Nigeria is a federation and governors have their choices to make. Those who have joined could testify to the enormous benefits of the scheme.”


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Available statistics showed that 24 states out of the 36 had subscribed to the OGP in Nigeria, with the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) the only municipal area council in the country to have subscribed.

Benefits of the OGP include a budget support facility that enables states grow their developmental projects.

President Muhammadu Buhari had told a delegation from the OGP Support Unit, led by its Chief Executive Officer, Sanjay Pradhan, which had visited him in July this year, that the Partnership had improved Nigeria’s budgeting transparency.

Buhari said, “Our budgeting processes have become more open, citizens-centred and participatory. In accordance with the objective of fiscal transparency, all stakeholders, including the public, are involved in the country’s budget-making process, have access to the details of our budgets, and have the opportunity to make input into it. As proof of our progress, Nigeria was ranked among the best-improved countries for transparency in the latest global Open Budget Survey.

“We have made significant progress in the beneficial ownership transparency in Nigeria. We produced a roadmap of Beneficial Ownership Reporting in 2016. By December 2019, we established Africa’s first Beneficial Ownership Register in the extractive industry. In 2020, we amended our laws to expand Beneficial Ownership Reporting to all sectors of the economy.”

Agba confirmed that besides the 24 states that had subscribed to the OGP, the Oyo State government had submitted a consent letter expressing willingness to join the Partnership.






     

     

    He also noted that the Federal government would continue to support programmes and policies of sub-national governments geared towards promoting transparency and accountability in governance.

    The OGP is a global partnership for reformers from both the government and the civil society who work together to make the governance process open, accountable and citizen-driven.

    Nigeria joined the OGP in 2016 as the 70th member as part of its efforts to fight corruption and improve governance in the country.

    The government said that Nigeria, since joining in 2016, had developed and implemented two national action plans organised around critical thematic areas like fiscal transparency, access to information, anti-corruption, citizen engagement, service delivery, inclusion and extractive transparency.

     

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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