A revolutionary technological system for entrenching transparency and accountability in the execution of capital projects, earmarked in Federal Government’s annual budgets, through a citizens’ “eye-mark” application (app), is in the works, according to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba.
Prince Agba disclosed this on Monday when he declared open a three-day sensitisation workshop on National Monitoring and Evaluation System organized for stakeholders, including the media, civil society organisations and representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), organized by the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
The Minister said that the “eye-mark app”, once launched, would ensure transparency and bolster accountability of the funds earmarked for capital projects by implementing MDAs and beneficiaries of contracts for capital projects.
He said that the “eye-mark app” would assist the government to put an end to the approach of throwing funds at projects without having in place a system to assess the outcome(s) of the expended funds.
He said that Monitoring and Evaluation system would enable government to answer the critical questions of meeting the needs of the people and the purpose for which the projects were originally embarked upon.
“This is the reason we want to have citizens engaged so that they can come back to us and let us know whether we have just wasted money or whether, indeed, their needs have been met,” the Minister further stated.
According to him, “We want the citizens to eye-mark the projects. With their eyes, they are seeing the projects. So, we are calling that app, the ‘eye-mark app’ and it is for all the MDAs, for all programmes, for all projects that have been carried out and the reports should be from the citizens; and even those in government can also make these reports, if the projects, for instance, are in their localities. They can come back to us and let us know the state of the projects. There is room for anonymous reports on what is going on with the projects.”
The Minister also said that “The Ministry of Budget and National Planning is finalizing the process of producing an acceptable national Monitoring and Evaluation Policy, which will be presented to the Nigerian public by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
He explained that “Before the coming of this administration, government interventions were implemented without learning of what works and what does not. These occurred because of weak demand and capacity for both the monitoring and evaluation service in the government at all levels.
“This urgent approach informed our embarking on a journey of putting a homegrown and made-in-Nigeria policy that can be legislated and will serve the need of Nigerians in deploying the Monitoring and Evaluation capacity at both individual and institutional levels.”
The minister expressed confidence that the National Monitoring and Evaluation (M &E) Policy framework would facilitate the institutionalization of M&E principles and practices to support decision making and promote adaptive learning, planning and management across all projects and programmes.
He further declared that: “It will also serve as a vital tool for timely and systematic data collection, analysis and reporting thereby improving overall performance and accountability to all stakeholders and beneficiaries.”
He continued: “The ministry embarked on monitoring and evaluation of Government’s programmes and projects annually to determine government’s performance and is in the process of finalising the 2019 Annual Performance Monitoring Report.
“The 2019 Annual Performance Monitoring Report articulates findings from the monitoring of projects and programmes of the Federal Government towards achieving the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Vision 20:2020.
“As part of the activities to harvest input on the report, the Ministry organized a review meeting with selected MDAs for additional information into the 2019 Annual Performance Monitoring Report.”