Govt to increase transparency with Citizens’ Accountability Reports
The Federal government of Nigeria has partnered with the Open Government Partnership, and the World Bank to strengthen the transparency and accountability of government through the use of Citizens’ Accountability Reports.
This was made known by the representative of the National Coordinator, OGP Nigeria, Dr Anne Nzeogwu, at the South-east National Workshop on Citizens Accountability Report held on Monday.
According to her, this would help to achieve increased openness and citizens’ engagement in the budget process’, increase fiscal transparency and accountability, strengthen domestic revenue mobilization, increase efficiency in public expenditure and strengthen debt sustainability.
The State Fiscal Accountability and Transparency and Sustainability programme is an incentivised programme aimed at supporting the implementation of the Fiscal Sustainability Plan and the OGP at the subnational level.
The programme has four key result areas, for which the
OGP Secretariat is providing technical assistance to states to increase openness and citizens’ engagement in the budget process.
This is expected to ensure that there is trust between the citizens and the government.
The State Fiscal Accountability and Transparency and Sustainability programme is supported by the World Bank. Through it a loan of $750m was given to the Federal Government effective in the year 2018. These grants are now awarded to the states.
Nzeogwu said, “We have been able to disburse close to $700m, and the Federal Government has graciously approved another $750m additional financing because of the economic meltdown and pandemic.
“We want to ensure sustainability in fiscal policy. This is why we are introducing legislation, and establishing agencies. We want ordinary Nigerians to enjoy democratic dividends.”
In his good will message, a public financial management facilitator for the UK Funded Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office-partnership to Engage Reforms and Learn, Mr Basil Obasi, said, “The purpose of the Citizen Accountability report, created with guidance from the world bank, is to enable first the government report their audited financial statements in a way that is understandable to the public.
“Second, it creates an avenue that will increase accountability and transparency on the part of government and that accountability to further help civil society and media to be able to understand the accounting process and documents of government and relate with the document.
“If the right questions are asked, it reveals information about government expenditures in manners that are open, transparent and understandable.
So if it spurs asking the right question from the media, it would equally generate a process where those right questions will generate responses from the public sector actors who will now address key service delivery issues.”
he added that the Citizens Accountability Report was enabling the citizens to have the right set of tools to be able to engage with the government.