A nongovernmental organisation, Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), recently partnered with the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) to organise a Reform Seminar on ‘Open Government Partnership: Amplifying Access To Information’ at the Federal Ministry of Finance on Thursday, 11th October.
The main focus of the seminar was to train representatives of public institutions on the importance of citizens’ access to information and its effect on service delivery.
While speaking at the seminar, on open government partnership reforms, special adviser to the president on Justice Sector Reform/National Coordinator Open Government Partnership, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku, said, OGP is aimed at bringing reformers and CSOs together to create action that make government accountable.
“OGP is aimed at bringing government reformers and civil society leaders together to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable.”
Benjamin Okolo, deputy director, FOI Unit, Federal Ministry of Justice, while speaking, also said that the open government partnership seeks to promote fiscal transparency, anti-corruption, access to information and citizen’s engagement through technology.
“Every public institution is mandated to submit its annual report on or before February 1 of each year to the Attorney- General of the Federation on all applications of FOI request they received. But presently, only 73 out 900 public institutions in Nigeria have submitted their 2017 annual report to the Attorney-General of the Federation.
“This is the only report the Attorney-General by law submits to the National Assembly.”
PPDC’s Representative, Mr Sam Offia, in his presentation on access to Information in Nigeria shared some successes and challenges experienced by the organisation while requesting for procurement related information from MDAs. He also highlighted some of the benefits of having a proactive disclosure system.
The seminar provided a forum for the active exchange of ideas on reform issues and shared experiences with a view to impart knowledge and broaden civil servants’ awareness on accountability and transparency. Lessons learnt from the Seminar will help to enrich the debate about the future of the Public Service and its role in the delivery of Services to Nigerians.
In attendance were the directors of Reform Coordination and Service Improvement, Planning, Research and Statistics, Human Resource and Resident Information Officers from various ministries, department and agencies.