By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja-As part of its mandate to ensure wider coverage of the Open Government Partnership, the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari led some stakeholders to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in line with the principles of citizen engagement and participation in governance process.
Recall that Nigeria signed into the partnership in July 2016 with a commitment to promote transparency, accountability and openness in governance and as well ensure citizen’s participation in government.
The NOA is Co -Chair of the Citizens Engagement Working Group of the OGP National Action Plan (NAP) of Nigeria and as well the Lead agency for commitment 12 with the mandate to develop a Permanent Dialogue Mechanism on transparency, accountability and good governance between citizens and government to facilitate a culture of openness.
Dr Abari said the CAC as a service oriented agency of government was selected by OGP stakeholders to demonstrate citizen’s participation in its activities as part of the citizen engagement and empowerment principles of the OGP.
He requested for the setting up of the OGP desk to enable other stakeholders to interact with the Commission with regard to its work and mandate as set out in the fourteen commitments signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Also Speaking at the event, the Programmes Coordinator of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development, Mr. Uchenna Arisukwu informed the gathering that Centre LSD as the Co-Chair of Citizens Engagement Working Group and Lead CSO for Commitment 13 of the OGP NAP, has commissioned a research into the extant laws of agencies implementing the OGP commitments which CAC is among.
According to him, the report of the research has since been validated by a Government-CSOs round table convened by the Centre and the reports are being published into a book.
This book, Mr. Arisukwu continued, will form the advocacy tool for engaging the relevant stakeholders especially the National Assembly into looking at the recommendations of the report to amend these laws for better performance and the overall of the OGP Nigeria National Action Plan.
Mr. Arisukwu further reiterated the readiness of Centre LSD as the Co-Chair of the Citizens Engagement Working Group to collaborate with the Corporate Affairs Commission in achieving commitment 6 of the OGP Nigeria National Action Plan.
The Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Lady Azinge Azuka who expressed appreciation for the visit said the Agency was ready to join the advocacy for increased openness in government as a demonstration to the sustainability of the reforms it adopted recently in the CAC.
She requested for the support of stakeholders for its proposal to review two aspects of the Companies and Allied Matters Act especially those relating to annual returns form to ensure that owners of up to 5% share are fully disclosed in the returns form; and that beneficial ownership is incorporated in its publications.
The commission also explained that as part of its openness drive, it has connected 20 of its offices across the country to its online processes to enable its clients perform business registration without inhibitions.
She expressed hope that the thirty-eight state offices will be covered by March next year.
She disclosed that in addition to opening its processes for greater and easier access, the Commission is taking the business registration process to specialized markets through its mobile registration centres apparently to showcase its new model service which sees its work as business and not public service.
While committing itself to the OGP initiative, Lady Azuka said the Commission will immediately setup a desk to facilitate ease of doing business within the Agency.