By Osita Chidoka
After the series on national security I return this week to continue the analysis of the states under a measurement tool I created and termed State Transparency Index. The Index is designed to evaluate the federal and state governments along four dimensions, through online search only, on key areas of governance. The dimensions are State Planning Capacity, State Employee Accountability System, State Stakeholder Engagement Strategy, and State Evaluation Mechanism. The index is to ensure that while waiting for the future, we do not lose the present. Today I turn my gaze on Kaduna State.
Kaduna State was created in 1967 as North Central State and was renamed Kaduna State in 1976 by the government of Gen. Murtala Muhammed. Kaduna state has a land mass of 46,053 km making it the 4th largest state in Nigeria. Kaduna’s population as at 2006 census was 6,066,562 placing it 3rd out of the 36 states. A 2010 ranking of states by gross domestic product placed Kaduna at 10th position with a GDP of over US$10 billion. The state is currently governed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Kaduna State is made of 23 Local Government Areas and about 60 ethnic groups with the Hausa Fulani as the dominant group.
Kaduna has remained a hotbed of religious and ethnic violence over the past two decades and a home for northern elites who view the state capital as the capital of the north. According to a report by Chinwe Egwin published in The Guardian “Kaduna state has about 5% of the country’s population, but it contributes only about 2.3% to total GDP. The current governor is primarily focused on social justice and equity as well as job creation. The latter could provide tax revenue for the government.”
According to the National Bureau of Statistics Internally Generated Revenues for Kaduna State increased from N9.78bn in 2011 to N12.78bn in 2014. In 2016 IGR actual receipts stood at N17bn while projections for 2017 is targeted at N50bn. An analysis of Kaduna state finance on its website shows that the state received about N318bn from federal allocations between 2009 and 2014. Expenditure profile reveals that within the same period the state spent N112bn on capital projects while spending N119bn on overheads. In 2017 budget proposal the state proposed a 60 – 40 ratio in favour of capital projects.
Evaluating Kaduna State under the State Planning Capacity we see evidence of a robust website kdsg.gov.ng, the website is well laid out and loaded with information about government activities. The State has a strategic plan Kaduna State Development Plan 2016 to 2020 with four key goals: Destination for Business Investment and food Basket for Northern Nigeria; All Citizens have access to quality healthcare and education; All Citizens will live and move freely without fear of harm; A transparent and accountable government with highly motivated and efficient civil service. We see current Bills and Laws on the website. The link to Ministries and Agencies are functional and each ministry’s page display their mission and vision and mandate, however we do not see the Ministries work plan and delivery timelines.
We noted online reports of town hall meetings seeking stakeholder buy-in on the budget and other issues, however we did not see evidence of stakeholder engagement on the State development plan. State and Local Government Budgets and Audited accounts are published on the State website. We do not see links to local government websites.
Under the State Employee Accountability System, we see some infographics on state budget performance stating projected and actual. We do not see any published evidence of state performance evaluation like we see in the city of Kigali our original example. We do not see breakdown of tasks of the various agencies and actual performance. If a performance evaluation template exist Kaduna needs to share with the public how agencies and institutions are held accountable for stated annual goals.
Jobs are advertised but the link for on-going recruitment is broken and we did not see evidence of past recruitment results and names of those employed as we saw in the city of Kigali. There is need to improve transparency in the recruitment process. Tenders are published on the state website but no report of result of past tenders listing winning bidders, cost and status of implementation.
The state has a citizen reporting feedback application on android that allows feedback. Kaduna has a citizen engagement portal, toll free numbers with Sms and social media integration capabilities. The platform is called the Eyes and Ears Project Citizen Feedback Systems, (CitiFeed). Citizens can track projects around them and give actionable feedback.
The CitiFeed project is an innovative solution in enhancing the state stakeholder engagement strategy. Under the stakeholder engagement strategy Kaduna State is leading in proactive innovative programs to engage citizens. The state Eyes and Ears project is bold and engaging coupled with the strategy of town hall meetings. The goal of the E & E project according to the state government is to Provide evidence based feedback on budget implementation process; Provide actionable data on budget implementation by promoting learning on what works, what doesn’t work and why; Support the govt to make resources allocation decisions particularly in a climate of continuing budget constraints; and Provide an early warning system for projects and programmes at risks of failing. Stakeholder engagement obviously ranks high in the state overall strategy.
The state evaluation mechanism if in existence is not shared on the website. We do not see how the public sector is rewarded or sanctioned for not meeting stated goals. The monitoring and evaluation tool for the state lofty and strategic plans needs to be made public to elicit citizen involvement and encourage service delivery.
Kaduna state rallies its citizens with the tagline Making Kaduna Great Again a statement that makes the state the focal point and not the Governor. The construction of an ICT hub and the plan to make the state an ICT innovation centre is in line with global best practices and will deliver value to residents in the mid to long term.
The OpenKaduna project with Budgit, a civic technology organisation sets new standards on budget transparency and accountable governance. The website openkaduna.com.ng provides information on local government budgets in English and Hausa. The website comes at no cost to Kaduna state government.
The state program of selling non-essential public residential buildings in a transparent process is another step in the right direction. It is in tandem with the past national ideological commitment to reducing the size of government and enabling a private sector-led economy.
Based on the State Transparency Index, Kaduna is a leading state in creating and sustaining a culture of transparency; providing citizens access to information and enabling citizen engagement. Kaduna state has raised the bar in state transparency but needs to enhance openness on monitoring and evaluation while improving information flow on employee accountability. There is bright sunlight on state activities in Kaduna state; more granularity will improve it. In all, Kaduna state is an example to emulate.