Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, has instructed the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) on the New National Development Plan to ensure that the Open Government Partnership(OGP) principles are integrated into the plan.
The Minister gave this directive while making his opening remarks at the 9th National Steering Committee Meeting on Thursday, September 24 2020, in Abuja.
His words, “As we continue the work of developing a successor plan to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, (ERGP), I am committed to ensuring the integration of OGP principles in future development.
“I have asked the Technical Working Groups on the development of a new National Development Plan to ensure that OGP principles are integrated into the Plan.”
Agba stated that Nigeria had indicated interest in taking up the leadership of the International Steering meeting as co-chair, though lost 8 votes to 11 votes to the Government of Italy in a contest.
He however added that Nigeria would remain on the international Steering Committee until 2021.
Speaking further, the Minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari, while addressing the OGP Virtual Leaders’ Summit, was expected to speak on Nigeria’s effort to establish a Beneficial Ownership Register of companies as well as Nigeria’s response to COVID’19 pandemic.
In the same vein, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed would join a round table discussion on Open Recovery, tracking the trillions of dollars in stimulus and safety net packages.
It is worthy to note the OGP participating countries would co-create a National Action Plan with civil society, explaining that NAPs are the core of a country’s participation in OGP whose core values are transparency, accountability and public participation.
He said: “We have an ambitious NAP to implement; we have to provide financial and human resources for the secretariat to effectively coordinate the implementation of this action and oversee our sub national OGP process. Our work is clearly cut for us and I trust that working together, we will achieve goals.”
He also stated that he had met with the donor partners to reaffirm the nation’s commitment to OGP and to inform them of plans to improve high-level political support as well as institutionalize the OGP by creating a National coordinating Secretariat, and to also renew their confidence in the OGP in Nigeria.
“It would be recalled that we hosted virtual consultations with citizens on key changes made to the 2020 budget and 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), we received concerns from citizens and are working to address them””, he stated.
The Minister also said that at the Governance and Leadership committee, “we must see our work as that of a builder, adding that citizen’s trust in governance is low and it behoves on us to build this trust through diligent implementation of the NAP as well as providing opportunities for citizens to make input in governance.”
Chief Operations Officer, Nigeria Economic Summit Group/ Non State Actor Co Chair, Dr Tayo Aduloju, who was represented by the Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, Mr Edetaen Ojo, commended the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning and the Co Chair on the actions they had been able to implement so far despite the disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that “there is urgency in trying to catch up with the plan.”