President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the Open Government Declaration saying the country’s resolve to fully implement reform ideas like beneficial ownership transparency has sustained an open civic space and deployment of technology in tackling governance issues in Nigeria.
President Buhari made the commitment while addressing participants at the 2021 Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit which also marked the 10th anniversary of the founding of the initiative and was celebrated in Seoul, South Korea from December 15-17, 2021.
He said since joining the OGP in 2016, the Nigerian government has collaboratively worked with its very vibrant civil society to develop and implement its OGP commitments, uphold the Open Government Declaration and ensure citizens participation in governance.
The President added that with support from the Open Government Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund and the World Bank, Nigeria is making progress in the development of an open beneficial ownership register of companies and that he has made sure that the required legislation is in place for this register, and directed Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission to lead the process.
Commending OGP on its 10 years of existence and tireless efforts to ensure that citizens voices are heard by governments and influence government decisions, the partnership, President Buhari acknowledged that it has provided a platform for governments to work with civil society as partners in implementing reform ideas aimed at transforming governance in a manner that improves public service delivery, and provided a mechanism for member countries to learn best practices from their peers at national and sub-national levels, among others.
President Buhari noted that: “As the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic which has had an adverse effect on the resources available to governments to deliver their mandates, it is vital for governments to collaborate even more with civil society to ensure that the resources are expended judiciously and transparently.”
He said he believes the Open Government Partnership Open Renewal Campaign is best suited to drive this very important goal as this partnership continues to share best practices and standards that have yielded positive results in countries where governments have worked collaboratively with civil society.
It is on the strength of this, he pointed out, that as a member country Nigeria convened a high-level consultation with civil society and relevant stakeholders to review our 2020 budget and to respond to the impact of Coronavirus.
President Buhari added: “Since then, we have held a record number of public consultations in the budget process to include the input of citizens and publish to all government expenditure on a public website in order to ensure transparent utilization of public funds.”
Declaring that the “Open government partnership remains a veritable tool for engaging citizens and harnessing their input into implementing these reforms,” President Buhari thanked the Government and people of South Korea for hosting the summit.