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Malami counts gains of open government partnership

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) said Open Government Partnership, joined by the federal government in 2016, has enabled citizens to have more access to information and improved the transparency of the present government.
Malami, who was the coordinating Minister of Nigeria’s Open Government Partnership and outgoing Co-chairman made the statement while handing over co-chairmanship of the OGP National Steering Committee to the Minister of Budget and National Planning at the 8th OGP meeting held in Abuja.
This is contained in a statement by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and made available to newsmen on weekend.
Malami said the OGP contributed to the government drive for transparency in the areas of open budget, open contracting, extractive industry, tax transparency, access to information and citizens engagement in governance processes as well as the reformation of the Bureau of Public Service.
“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 Gide to the Budget since 2018.
“The Budget Office of the Federation in line with global best practices and Open Budget Survey Index developed the citizens iMonitor portal which enables citizens across the country to access budget information in real-time to monitor projects while encouraging proactive feedback to the government,” he said.
He noted that in order to ensure improved transparency, prevent corruption and enhanced citizens’ participation in Nigeria through increased disclosure of information, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) developed the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO).
He said OGP also saw to the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and publication oil and Gas Audit Reports, noting that the Procedure Guide for the Determination of the Quantity and Quality of Petroleum and Petroleum Products in Nigeria were also published by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) made available to the public.
Pursuant to the Addis Tax Initiative, the Minister said Nigeria has signed the Multilateral Competent Agreement on Country-by-Country reporting.
According to him, the Federal Inland Revenue Service has also singed unto the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool in order to assist the agency to assess the extent of efficiency of the tax administration at the federal and state levels as well as to determine the efficiency of the transparency of tax assessments.
One of the President’s commitments at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016, the Minister noted that was the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have completed consultations with stakeholders on the implementation of Beneficial Ownership Register.
Malami said that Nigeria’s Expression of Interest for the OGP Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the establishment of a beneficial register of owners of companies in Nigeria as part of a commitment in the just-completed NAP has been granted.
He said Nigeria was recently awarded 500,000 dollars to see to the fruition of this activity with the Corporate Affairs Commission as the lead agency under the oversight of the National  Steering Committee.
He said in order to sustain the OGP implementation in the country, the Federal Executive Council approved the establishment of OGP implementation units in all public institutions.
He said 14 states have joined the OGP in the past two years and there are signs that more states will sign onto the process in view of the impact of the OGP at the national level.
While urging the 2nd National Steering Committee to build on what was achieved, the outgoing chairman called on the incoming NSC to render the necessary leadership guidance and directive that will ensure uninterrupted operations of the OGP projects in the country.

 

FELIX OMOHOMHION, ABUJA

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