Alex Enumah in Abuja
The federal government has reiterated its commitment to the promotion of fiscal transparency, improved public procurement, citizen engagement and empowerment as part of current efforts at strengthening anti-corruption reforms in the country.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), reinforced the government’s commitment over the weekend while addressing participants at a Validation Retreat on the 2nd National Action Plan (NAP) for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Nigeria.
Malami, who also doubles as the Coordinating Minister, OGP, Nigeria, disclosed that within the next few months, a service-wide circular will be published to set out the modalities for the establishment of the OGP Units in MDAs, adding that efforts are on to ensure the domestication of the OGP by all states of the federation.
While noting that Nigeria joined the OGP in July 2016 to foster transparency and accountability through targeted measures, the AGF said: “The objective of the retreat is to validate the draft 2nd National Action Plan ahead of its submission by the end of September 2019 to the OGP International Secretariat to ensure that Nigeria maintains an uninterrupted membership of the global body.
“Equally, the retreat is to provide a good opportunity for strengthening and broadening ownership of the NAP. I am deeply grateful to all stakeholders for your zeal and passion in the implementation of OGP principles in Nigeria since 2016 when Nigeria signed on to the Global Initiative.”
Malami said successes recorded during the implementation of the 1st NAP, which have been well documented by the secretariat in the progress report include development of an open budget system, engagement of citizens in government’s processes and Beneficial Ownership Register, amongst others.
“With respect to Open Budget, the Budget Office of the Federation through consultative process with relevant government agencies and citizens published the Pre-Budget Statement (2018-2020 MTEF/FSP) and has consistently published a Citizen’s Guide to the Budget since 2018.
“It has also developed the iMonitor platform for citizens’ feedback to government with respect to implementation of projects within communities,” he stated.
Malami, while describing the development of a Beneficial Ownership Register as one of the President’s commitments at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016, said that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) have completed consultations with stakeholders on the implementation of Beneficial Ownership Register.
“With respect to the commitment under anti-corruption thematic, the federal government has approved the harmonised National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS). The Asset Recovery and Management Unit (ARMU) in the Federal Ministry of Justice serves as the secretariat for the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
“The ARMU also serves as the central coordinating unit for asset recovery and has been mandated with ensuring proper record keeping of assets recovered by the FMOJ.
“Greater transparency in asset recovery have been recorded in the past three years and these have been applied towards the implementation of Nigeria’s annual budget as well as in social investment for the poor,” the minister added.