The president listed some of the achievements the nation has made since it started putting the Open Government Partnership into practice in 2016.
President Muhammadu Buhari met with a delegation from the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Support Unit on Thursday. The delegation was led by Sanjay Pradhan, the OGP Support Unit’s chief executive officer, and during the meeting, Pradhan listed the advantages Nigeria has gotten from joining the transparency group in 2016.
He claimed he was extremely clear about the role the effort will play in the fight against corruption when he pledged Nigeria’s membership in the Open Government Partnership at the London Anti-Corruption Summit, and ever since then, “we have developed and implemented two National Action Plans on the Open Government Partnership.
“By next month (in August), I will sign the third Action Plan, which is in the final stages of development. I am eager to sign the document so that we can continue to sustain the progress of reforms that we have recorded in the past six years of implementation.”
“Our budgeting processes have become more open, citizens-centred and participatory. In accordance with the objective of fiscal transparency, all stakeholders, including the public are involved in the country’s budget-making process, have access to the details of our budgets, and have opportunity to make input into it. As proof of our progress, Nigeria was ranked among the best-improved countries for transparency in the latest global Open Budget Survey.
“We have made significant progress in the beneficial ownership transparency in Nigeria. We produced a roadmap of Beneficial Ownership Reporting in 2016. By December 2019, we established Africa’s first Beneficial Ownership Register in the extractive industry. In 2020, we amended our laws to expand Beneficial Ownership Reporting to all sectors of the economy.
“We are currently building a robust national Beneficial Ownership Database, which will be deployed to combat global criminal activities including illicit financial flows and terrorism financing. We are equally convinced the Beneficial Ownership disclosure policy will support our domestic resource mobilization.”
President Buhari said that as a government, “We are encouraged that, at the last OGP Global Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Nigeria won the OGP Impact Award for our commitment and progress on Beneficial Ownership Transparency.
“As part of our commitment to sustain the progress, I have just approved Nigeria’s membership of the Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group.”
“Also, as part of a broader commitment to extractive industry transparency, we passed the Petroleum Industry Act which introduced sweeping reforms to enhance transparent and accountable governance of the oil and gas industry.
“In public procurement, we have established the Nigerian Procurement Portal, where citizens can monitor all government procurement processes in a transparent manner. We are currently improving this system to achieve greater effectiveness,” he added.
President Buhari said one of the reasons the country has made this much progress is because “we have backed our verbal commitments with deliberate action, by including OGP implementation in the national budget to ensure sustainability of the partnership in Nigeria.
“With these steps we have taken, our administration will bequeath to the next government a culture of transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation in governance. We have worked hard to institutionalise the OGP by mainstreaming open government practices across our governance systems.”
The President praised the national OGP team, which is co-chaired by Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Clem Agba and Tayo Adeloju of the civil society, for their tenacious efforts to advance transparency and accountability in political processes.
President Buhari pledged to the 77-member organization as Number 70 while OGP CEO Mr. Pradhan recalled being present in London in 2016 and characterized Nigeria as “an excellent performer, one of the most open across the partnership.”
He lauded Nigeria for opening up its budget processes, contracts, procurement, and the extractive sector.
He advocated more reforms in disclosure of audits, establishing an E-procurement platform, and institutionalization of OGP, among others.
Mr Pradhan described Nigeria as a country “with open hearts, open arms of friendship and partnership.”
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)