By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja: The Ministry of Budget and National Planning says it is committed to the success of the Open Government Initiative in Nigeria.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma made the commitment on Tuesday, when Stakeholders in the Open Government Partnership, OGP led by the Director General, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Garba Abari paid him a courtesy visit and sought the ministry’s support towards the full implementation of the commitments of the Initiative.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2016 in London conscripted Nigeria into the list of nations in the Open Government Partnership aimed at bringing transparency into governance.
While commending the NOA on its work in enlightening Nigerians on government’s activities, the Minister tasked the Agency on assisting in informing Nigerians on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which he said will transform and set the country on a path to prosperity.
He said, “we are completely committed to the pledge made by Mr President in terms of open governance fiscal transparency.
“I want to also give you an assignment because you have been very effective in terms of getting across the message of what the government is doing. To that extent I will like to seek for you to work with us on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. This is something we need to get across to every single Nigerian.
“It is a plan that requires the support of everyone. It’s a plan that is aimed at reducing poverty, increasing employment, creating wealth and taking us in the path of growth which is sustained, diversified and we are committed by 2020 to minimum growth rate of 7 per cent and thereafter beyond 7 per cent”, he said.
Earlier the NOA Director General, Dr. Abari had in his remark asked for a desk at the ministry to facilitate the collaboration between the NOA and the ministry on Open Governance initiatives issues.
He noted that the visit was to also seek “the Minister’s corporation, support and active participation in developing a permanent dialogue mechanism that allows for periodic citizens engagement with the ministry on its activities”.
Also speaking at the visit, the Programmes Coordinator of the African Center for Leadership Strategy and Development, Center LSD, Uchenna Arisukwu stressed the need for a full implementation of the commitments of the OGP, warning that Nigeria stands the risk of being kicked out of the partnership if it fails in keeping to the OGP commitments.
Center LSD is the lead Civil Society Group championing the implementation of the OGP commitments with sponsorship from the McArthur Foundation.
Mr. Arisukwu pointed out that the ministry was strategic in the activities and success of the Open Government Initiative in the country.
The Programmes Coordinator insisted that, “As for us there is plenty of work to do. In May we are going to have a Town hall meeting in Abuja and also we are going on zonal rallies to sensitize the citizens on what the OGP means; what the commitments are and what is their roles in helping to achieve the roadmap and what should they expect from government.
“With the able support of NOA, we are kicking off with Enugu in March 1st and from there go round the country.
“And then we will engage in advocacy to various Government departments and agencies, and the National Assembly in order to make this initiative succeed”, he said.