BudgIT Launches GOVSPEND.NG
...Tasks citizens, CSOs, media to leverage portal for participatory governance.
BudgIT, a foremost civic-tech organisation leading the advocacy for fiscal transparency and accountability in Nigeria, has launched govspend.ng, a visual platform that provides citizens, CSOs, the media, and stakeholders access to simplified data from the Federal Government’s Open Treasury Portal.
The Federal Government launched the Open Treasury Portal(OTP) to increase transparency and accountability in government spending. The portal provides a space for collating data by all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) on budget implementation financial records and transactions above the threshold of N5 million by MDAs and N10 million by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. While the platform is innovative and commendable, much work is still needed to ensure that the portal achieves its purpose of improving fiscal transparency in Nigeria, especially in navigation and usability for the public.
Gabriel Okeowo, CEO BudgIT, reiterated BudgIT’s objective for the govspend.ng platform. “The Federal Government has done a great job in ensuring that the government’s daily spendings are in the public domain. However, data on the portal are mostly in non-machine readable formats and not downloadable, We developed the govspend.ng portal to rectify this issue of OTP” to provides the public access to collated data on government spendings at the federal level and for MDAs, govspend.ng simplifies and visualises treasury reports uploaded on the portal for citizens and civil society organisations to access, monitor and understand Federal Government’s real-time expenditure.
The portal also highlights anomalies that BudgIT discovered on the open treasury website, including payments made to multiple beneficiaries, payments without descriptions, payments made to personal accounts, and payments with incomplete information.
“This platform is useful for everyone. Citizens can access information on companies that have been awarded public contracts and amounts paid by MDAs to such companies. At the same time, CSOs can build conversations around government spendings based on simplified data uploaded on the website. We also hope the media would leverage information on govspend.ng for advocacy and investigative journalism,” said Damilola Ogundipe, BudgIT’s Communications Lead during the official launch of ‘Govspend.ng’ portal by BudgIt Foundation Nigeria.
Chinwe Umeh-Ujubuonu, program officer BudgIT, during the launch of GOVSPEND.NG portal for citizens to track government spendings in her presentation disclosed this, maintained that a total sum of N2.5billion was paid by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta to some individual accounts between March 2021 and May 2021.
“How can we ascertain that these stipends were actually paid to the beneficiaries
and what measures have been put in place to ensure proper usage of funds.” She queried.
According to Umeh-Ujubuonu while N308million was paid to personal accounts in January, N342million was paid in February and March recorded N2.2billion.
She further disclosed that a total sum of N1.009 million was paid to a personal account in April and N1.084million was paid in May. According to her, out of the total N2.21trillion payments made between January 2021 and May 2021 as captured on the Open Treasury Portal, a total sum of N2.05billion payments was made without description.
According to the program officer funds paid without description are, N389million in January, N191.5million in February, and N726.4million in March, while a total sum of N478million was paid without discrimination in April and N271million was paid in May.
We, therefore, urge citizens, CSOs, and the media to ensure that they leverage this portal for demanding transparency and accountability from the government on the usage of public funds. It is also our hope that faultlines on the open treasury portal will be standardised by the government.