Connect with us

Politics

Open Govt Partnership: We will Continue to Ensure Transparency, Accountability

Published

on

Implementation of OGP has improved Nigeria’s image in international community

The vice president of Nigeria has stressed on the present administration will power to bring good governance to the nation, as president Buhari’s administration continue to bring out the good image of Nigeria to the rest of the World.  The vice president made this assertion in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Laolu Akande,
Office of the Vice President on Monday at the Open Government Partnership held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja

 

“We have, since we assumed office three years ago, made remarkable progress in pushing the frontiers of transparency and accountability in the Federal Government. One of the first things that the President did when we took office was to establish the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), to coordinate our reform efforts in this regard” Osinbajo said

“We inherited a Treasury Single Account (TSA) system that existed mainly as an idea, without any committed implementation. Since the Presidential Order by President Buhari in August 2015, we have made remarkable progress in expanding the reach of the TSA, so that today, we are almost at 100 percent compliance. 

“We ought to equally acknowledge that there is a limit to what civil society by itself can accomplish by itself, without building bridges with the public sector that is very often the target of its work. What our experience with OGP in Nigeria has proven, is that it is possible to build a coalition of like-minded reformers drawn from government and non-state actors”the VP stated further

“In addition to joining the OGP, and developing a National Action Plan in 2016, the Federal Government also established a Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), housed in the Federal Ministry of Finance, to clean up the Federal payroll and pensions systems, across all our Ministries, Departments and Agencies. PICA’s work in this regard has helped the Federal Government save more than N200 Billion by eliminating ghost workers. Like the TSA, we are also aggressively expanding the rollout of the Government Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), to ensure that the loopholes that enable payroll fraud are permanently blocked.” – Vice President
Th Vice President Speech read further thus;

SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE  OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP (OGP) WEEK, HELD AT THE NAF CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA, ON MONDAY, MAY 7, 2018.

Protocol
It really is a special pleasure to be here with you, as we commence the Open Government Partnership Week in Nigeria.  Our government came into office on the back of a three-pronged agenda, one ensuring security, two rebuilding the economy, and third, vigorously prosecuting the fight against corruption.

This last issue, corruption, has been an existential issue for Nigeria, threatening the very fundament of our existence. It has ensured that, for too long, the resources meant for the majority, have been cornered by a greedy minority.

This issue of corruption underlines every aspect of our national life, from our security situation to the state of our economy. It was the reason why, in spite of record oil revenues between 2011 and 2013/14, we saw no savings, and very little investment in infrastructure and jobs, and, in spite of the billions of dollars reportedly invested in security, the Boko Haram insurgency and other cases of insecurity did not abate.

Our government has adopted a two-step approach to dealing with this scourge of systemic corruption. The first is to stop grand corruption and the accompanying impunity. The second step and the more enduring one, is what this week is about, creating a self- sustaining system that assures transparency and accountability.

We have, since we assumed office three years ago, made remarkable progress in pushing the frontiers of transparency and accountability in the Federal Government. One of the first things that the President did when we took office was to establish the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), to coordinate our reform efforts in this regard.

We inherited a Treasury Single Account (TSA) system that existed mainly as an idea, without any committed implementation. Since the Presidential Order by President Buhari in August 2015, we have made remarkable progress in expanding the reach of the TSA, so that today, we are almost at 100 percent compliance.

The London Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016 was an important milestone for us, in our anti-Corruption efforts, because it helped crystallize various national commitments into an effective multinational anti-corruption coalition.

It was at that conference that Nigeria committed to joining the OGP, and we fulfilled this commitment in July 2017 when we became the 70th country to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international multi-stakeholder initiative, focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizen participation and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation. Following this, President Buhari constituted the OGP National Steering Committee (NSC), with the Federal Ministry of Justice as the Coordinating Ministry.

The OGP Nigeria has since developed its first National Action Plan (NAP) of fourteen commitments with focus on four thematic areas of Fiscal Transparency, Anti-Corruption, Access to Information and Citizens’ Engagement.

One of the remarkable things about the OGP is that it was designed to function as a partnership between the governments and the private sector. Without this coalition-building, I doubt that much progress would be achievable. Regardless of whether the goal is improving infrastructure or fighting corruption, it is clear, as it has always been, that governments cannot do it alone.

The skills, experience, resources and technology that the private sector brings to the table, are often invaluable and in many instances represent the difference between success and failure. We ought to equally acknowledge that there is a limit to what civil society by itself can accomplish by itself, without building bridges with the public sector that is very often the target of its work. What our experience with OGP in Nigeria has proven, is that it is possible to build a coalition of like-minded reformers drawn from government and non-state actors.

In addition to joining the OGP, and developing a National Action Plan in 2016, the Federal Government also established a Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), housed in the Federal Ministry of Finance, to clean up the Federal payroll and pensions systems, across all our Ministries, Departments and Agencies. PICA’s work in this regard has helped the Federal Government save more than N200 Billion by eliminating ghost workers. Like the TSA, we are also aggressively expanding the rollout of the Government Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), to ensure that the loopholes that enable payroll fraud are permanently blocked. PICA also oversees the Whistleblowing Programme we launched in December 2016. That Programme had seen recoveries of N7.8 billion, $378 million and 27,800 pounds sterling, as at March 2018.

Nigeria’s experience has shown that technology and innovations, as well as social media platforms, are changing the ways in which citizens engage with government, and empowering citizens and non-state actors to take a more active role in holding government to account. On our part, the Buhari administration is also actively leveraging technology in a way no previous government in Nigeria has, to underpin the President’s commitment to accountable governance. Indeed, much of the focus of the OGP is on the ways in which technology can help scale up the impact and reach of public sector anti-corruption and transparency initiatives.

I’ve spoken previously about our work expanding the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). A National Open Contracting Platform (NOCOPO), developed by the Bureau for Public Procurement, has become operational and is currently being piloted in a number of government institutions.

Similarly, the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) launched its Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Contracts Disclosure Portal in September 2017, to ensure the timely disclosure of contract information from project initiation through to implementation.

The Budget Office of the Federation, in line with global best practice and Open Budget Survey Index, also developed the citizens ‘I-Monitor’ Portal which enables citizens across the country to access budget information in real time and to monitor projects while encouraging proactive feedback to the government. An Open Contracting Working Group made up of civil society organizations and government institutions, are working together to enhance citizens’ access to, and understanding of procurement information.

Civil Society Organisations are also taking the lead in interesting ways. Take the example of BudgIT, a civil society partner that works on transparency in budgeting and tracking of government expenditure, using technology and graphic design. BudgIT has also developed Tracka.ng, a tool that enables citizens to share updates on budget implementation in their communities.

The Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) has led the way in the development of ‘BUDESHI’, a technology platform that will assist non-state actors to monitor ongoing procurements.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the important areas of progress is the ongoing effort to establish a public register of beneficial owners. It is our hope that this will help bring to an end, the era of anonymous company ownership which aids capital flight, illicit financial flows and tax evasion. The Nigeria Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is working closely with the Government of the United Kingdom and the Open Ownership – a global project, whose aim is to build an Open Global Beneficial Ownership Register – to develop Open Ownership Data Standards to achieve this goal.

Since we joined the OGP, access to public information premised on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act enacted in 2011, has improved significantly. I am told that at least 106 government institutions now have designated FOI Desk Officers, to ensure speedy responses to information requests in compliance with the (FOI) Act and the commitments we have made under the Nigeria OGP National Action Plan.

We have set up a Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery (PCAR), and developed procedures and guidance to ensure that all recovered funds are paid into a single Central Bank Asset Recovery account, for improved transparency and ease of management.

The Federal Government’s agreement with the Swiss Government on the return of looted funds traced to former Head of State General Sani Abacha, led to the remittance of US$322 million in December 2017. This historic agreement also includes CSO monitoring of the utilization of the returned asset. I must acknowledge the role played by The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice (ANEEJ) in the negotiation of this agreement and leading of other CSOs in monitoring the utilization of the fund.

Since 2017, our annual national budgets have included a line item on revenue generated from asset recoveries. All funds forfeited to the Federal Government are being included in our yearly budget proposals, for appropriation by the National Assembly. We have also committed to investing these recovered funds on Infrastructure projects and our National Social Investment Programme. In addition, we have submitted a Bill to the National Assembly for the purpose of enacting a more comprehensive legislation on proceeds of crime.

The successes recorded from the implementation of the OGP framework, have contributed in no small measure to the improvement in the perception of Nigeria’s business environment by investors, businesses, and the international community.

Through the work of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), who are also members of the OGP National Steering Committee, Nigeria moved 24 places up on the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business Index. The reforms, many of them heavily dependent on technology, have seen business registration time, reduced to under 48 hours, simplified processes for paying taxes and obtaining Nigerian visas, and improved access not just to credit by businesses, but also to credit information by potential lenders. The reforms have also led to the passage of landmark reform legislation like the Secured Transactions in Moveable Assets Act of 2017 and Trading Reporting Act 2017.

As we make progress at the federal level, we are also working with the States, through the subnational engagement framework, under the OGP National Action Plan, to improve transparency, accountability and citizen participation at other levels of governance. I am delighted to note that Kaduna State has not only developed its OGP State Action Plan, which was approved by the State Executive Council early this year, it has also become one of the first pilot states adopted from Nigeria by the OGP International.

I am equally delighted, that our efforts in fighting corruption and deepening good governance are being recognized and applauded globally. I have been told by the OGP Secretariat, that Nigeria was this year, elected into the global steering committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). And then there was the designation, in 2017, of President Buhari as the African Union’s 2018 ‘Anti-corruption Champion’. This is yet another testament to the hard work and political will that this administration has demonstrated in the fight against corruption, even in the face of great resistance.

There is no doubt that governments which seek to earn and sustain the trust of citizens, must learn to maintain high standards of transparency. The role of the OGP, in pushing for and achieving these high standards is evident, and wholly deserving of commendation.

Let me, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, extend our sincere gratitude, to all those who have made today possible, particularly the OGP Steering Committee, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, who is also the co-chair and the non-state co-chair of the OGP National Steering Committee, members of the OGP National Steering Committee made up of non-state actors, government institutions and the OGP Secretariat.

Distinguished participants, as we deliberate this week on the progress made by the OGP Nigeria, develop new ideas for future work to expand civic engagements, I encourage you to come up with policy recommendations that can radically help in further opening up Government at all levels in Nigeria.

We look forward to receiving the final report and recommendations at the end of this week. I thank you for your kind attention.

Just before I sit, I have the very distinguished pleasure of presenting the OGP Nigeria National Action Plan, 2017 – 2019. Thank you very much.

Politics

Senate Presidency: We Have Uncovered PDP Plans to Attack APC Senators

Published

on

By Abdullahi Mohammed

Insist on National Assembly Reconvening

In the aftermath of the mass defection and cross carpeting at the Nation Assembly, the All Progressive Congress(APC) revealed that the party has uncovered plans by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to ferment trouble by attacking the members of the APC in the upper chamber.In a statement signed by the Ag. National Publicity Secretary, APC, Mr. Yekini Nabena on Tuesday.

Mr Nabena said the party attention has been drawn to sinister plans by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to attack some All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators as part of the PDP’s desperate bid to ensure that Dr. Bukola Saraki clings to the position of Senate President.

Mr Nabena noted that by this statement, the party called on security agents to protect APC Senators. If any Senator is harmed, the PDP and Saraki should be held directly responsible. We call on security agencies to also closely monitor the activities of some PDP leaders including Saraki because the plan to attack APC Senators is real and imminent.

The party were informed that the plot was hatched in the private residence of a PDP leader in Maitama-Abuja on Sunday night. The meeting was attended by 15 pro-Saraki Senators including the Senate President himself.

“We learnt that the PDP expressed worry over the APC’s Senate majority and considered several options to stop the APC from taking over the Senate leadership among which is attacking some APC Senators to ensure their inability to attend legislative sittings” Nabena said.

“The PDP have recruited thugs for this purpose, we have now learnt “he added.
The APC further revealed further thus

“During Sunday’s meeting, the PDP Senators planned several types of attack, one of which is to lure some of them (APC Senators) out at night in the guise of inviting Senators to a political settlement meeting and thereafter instigate a violent confrontation during the meeting and unleash standby PDP thugs on APC Senators” Our source privy to the meeting informed us.

This revelation has not come to us as a surprise because the Senate President through proxies has made several failed attempts to buy over APC Senators with N100million each.

As a Party, we don’t believe in inducing lawmakers to achieve our legitimate goal of removing Saraki as Senate President. We will get the support of some PDP Senators to get the required 2/3 vote and impeach Saraki. We are already talking to some of PDP Senators who believe and support the direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to achieve our legitimate goal.

We reiterate our call for Saraki’s immediate resignation as Senate President. He cannot lead the APC majority Senate. But if he fails to resign honourably, we will impeach him. The PDP’s propaganda and threat of violence cannot save him.

National Assembly reconvening

As Chairman of the 8th National Assembly, Saraki’s decision not to reconvene the National Assembly done with the support of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara further buttresses our position the Saraki is ever ready to pursue his selfish interests over National Interest. This is another brazen display of his penchant for abuse of powers and sabotage of government, however the cost and implication.

While Saraki and his cohorts continue to postpone their doomsday regarding the imminent Senate leadership change, the yet-to-be considered 2019 budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is dangerously delayed.

Clearly, Saraki’s actions as Senate President now bother on high treason.

Continue Reading

Politics

It will be Difficult for an Igbo Person to Become a President of Nigeria – Okorocha

Published

on

By Abdullahi Mohammed

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha has said it will be hard if not impossible for Igbos to produce a president from their extraction. The governor reportedly stated this while fielding questions from newsmen on Sunday at the Government House, Owerri said this is because of the pull-him-down syndrome the Igbos are naturally made of.

According to Punch Newspaper, he regretted that the Igbo failed to honour their leaders unlike what obtained in the other parts of the country.

“The Igbo do not know how to honour their own. They rather like to run down any of their rising leaders. The pull-him-down syndrome is high in Igbo land. And it is very unfortunate. Anytime I come out to run for the Presidency of this country, I will not suffer pull-him-down from the North or from the South-West or South South, it is only in Igbo land that I will suffer it,” Okorocha said.

“And they engage in this pull-him-down practice without knowing the overall implications on the Igbo. So, it will be out of place for an Igbo Presidential aspirant at any given period to think that the Igbo will make him President because the Igbo do not value their own. They don’t value what they have, but value outsiders. It is in their character. It is in their nature.

“Read the newspapers and go to the social media, all the insults and attacks you get are all from the Igbo. They go to any length to run you down without caring about your good intentions and all the efforts being made to see that things work out fine for the people of the area. It is a problem. It didn’t start today. Go down the memory lane, you discover that the pull-him-down syndrome in Igbo land didn’t start today,” he said.

The governor also declared a two day holiday in the state for the collection of Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC).

Okorocha declared Wednesday, August 15, and Thursday August 16, 2018 as public holidays, “to enable all Imo people qualified to have the PVC, but do not have them to go and collect theirs for elections in Nigeria.”

Continue Reading

Politics

Bauchi bye-election : PDP reject results heads to ‎tribunal

Published

on

By Ahmed Jada

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bauchi state chapter has rejected the result of Saturday’s bye-election of Bauchi South Senatorial election which the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),Yahaya Gumau was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Addressing a press conference at the PDP secretariat in Bauchi on Monday, the state the State Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Hamza Akuyam who was flanked by the party bearer Ladan Saliu described the election as the worst in the history of democracy election in the country.

It was reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission declared APC candidate, Lawal Yahaya Gumau as the winner of last Saturday Senatorial bye-election having pooled total votes of 119,489 to defeat the PDP candidate Ladan Saliu who pooled 50,256.

According to PDP Chairman “The win-at-all cost and by all means attitude of the Bauchi state government poses a clear and present danger of our democracy. It is unacceptable and can be accepted only at our own peril. The party will institute a legal action through the establishment mechanism of the law”.

Akuyam also accused officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for conniving with the state government to rig the election saying “it is regrettable that the state office of INEC became a theater of Electoral malpractice and manipulation where figures were scandalous re-jigged to favor APC. This was done without any consideration for voters who stood in cues for long, some traveled miles and braved extreme conditions only for officials to disenfranchise them with a stroke of the pen, this is unacceptable.

According to him, the state government perfected the election rigging which was carefully rehearsed and excuted with active connivance of Law Enforcement Agencies and officials of INEC.

He also alleged that vote buying was widespread and conducted in the open noting “the APC-Led government in the state openly lured citizens with cash for their votes, which were sold for anything between 100, 200, 500, 1,000 and in some cases 5000 naira per vote. Simply put thee ballot paper became the most song he-after commodity in the senatorial zone. This shameless act was responsible for the low-turnout of voters, especially women and youth refused to vote until they get paid or settled. In some voting centers security officials chased away voters and agents even before voting process and counting were conducted”.

Akuyam accused police for firing gunshots and roads blockage “taking away a ballot box with agents thereby disenfranchising citizens from casting their votes”

On cancellation of votes, Akuyam lamented over the cancellation of 80,000 votes in an election where only256,763 votes were cast saying “we condemn this charade in strongest terms because it was a hatchet job by INEC officials and Governor MA Abubakar Governemnt to deny PDP victory”,

PDP also alleged that card readers were not used in the larger part of Toro Local Government adding that this explains the so called massive number of bites secured by the APC compared to Bauchi which has more centers and registerd voters.

“The conduct of our law Enforcement Agency and Security Services in this whole saga was to say the least, regrettable, Police vehicles were used in some rural areas of Alkaleri Local government to block roads and deny citizens free movement while officials of the state were given free access to those areas to purchase bites for APC,” he said.

Continue Reading

Facebook: Fan Page

Recent Posts

Categories

Trending