Members of the National Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Nigeria and some donor agencies met in Abuja on March 14, 2017 to discuss how to move Nigeria’s OGP National Action Plan forward.
The discussion took place at the OGP Nigeria’s inaugural meeting which was held in Abuja on March 14, 2017.
The OGP National Steering Committee comprising of government officials, private sector and civil society actors has successfully co-created Nigeria’s 30 months Open Government Partnership National Action Plan following its composition.
The meeting was coordinated by the Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reform/Coordinator OGP Secretariat, Ms Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu.
At the meeting, Juliet highlighted Nigeria’s progress on Transparency and Accountability including the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act; enactment of the Public Procurement Act, adoption of the Open Contacting Data Standards (OCDS) and the establishment of the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP); enforcement of the Single Treasury Account; implementation of the Bank Verification Number (BVN); populating the Beneficial Ownership Register with information about beneficial owners of companies working in the extractive industry; and the compulsory assets declaration by public officers overseen by the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal among others.
All of these, she said, have improved transparency and Openness tremendously.
Juliet disclosed that the National Action Plan will be implemented by a Secretariat made up of advisers and administrative staff.
The National Action Plan sets out seven working groups that will assist the Secretariat in the implementation of the OGP Nigeria commitments.
The working groups will explore the different thematic areas of the OGP process including the Fiscal Transparency, Anti-corruption, Access to Information, Citizens Engagement and Empowerment, Monitoring and Evaluation, Technology and Innovation, and Communication.
On fiscal transparency, Nigeria is committed to ensuring more effective citizens’ participation across the entire budget cycle; the full implementation of open
contracting and adoption of Open Contracting Data Standards in the public sector; and working together with all stakeholders to enhance transparency in the extractive sector through a concrete set of disclosures related to payments by companies and receipts by government on all transactions across the sector’s value chain among others.
Nigeria’s anti-corruption commitments include the establishment of a public register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies; establishment of a platform for sharing information among Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs), National Security Adviser (NSA) and financial sector regulators to detect, prevent and disrupt corrupt practices; strengthening Nigeria’s asset recovery legislation including non-conviction based confiscation powers and the introduction of unexplained wealth orders; and taking appropriate actions to coordinate anti-corruption activities etc.
The Access to Information commitment is expected to improve compliance of public institutions with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in respect of the annual reporting obligations by public institutions and level of responses of requests, as well as improved compliance of public institutions with the FOIA with respect to the Proactive disclosure provisions and stipulated mandatory publication requirements.
For its citizen engagement commitment, Nigeria has committed to developing a permanent dialogue mechanism on transparency, accountability and good governance between citizens and government to facilitate a culture of openness; ensuring joint government-civil society review of existing legislation on transparency and accountability issues and make recommendations to the National Assembly; and adopt a technology-based citizen’s feedback on projects and programmes across transparency and accountability.
Nigeria formally joined the OGP in July 2016, two months after President Muhammadu Buhari attended the Anti-Corruption Summit organized by the government of the United Kingdom in May, 2016. At that summit, he reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to strengthen anti-corruption reforms and bring integrity to governance through good leadership.
Member countries are expected to endorse a high-level Open Government Declaration, co-create and deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation (government and civil society), implement commitments made by government, commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward, and contribute to peer learning for OGP to be effective.