By Favour Nnabugwu
Federal Government yesterday disclosed that it has digitalise the use of circulars within the service for spontaneous response from its direct target even as it unveiled the first FOI web portal for the wide public to get information requested for in less than 24 hours.
The Director-General of BPSR, Dr. Joe Abah at the official handing over ceremony of the re-designed website to BPSR in Abuja stated that Initiating reforms and introducing innovations is one of the key functions of the bureau adding, ”We are proud to be the first government agency in the country to have an electronic platform for receiving Freedom of Information requests, BPSR is indeed grateful for the support of R2K for the laudable support and initiative”
“Bureau of Public Service Reforms [BPSR] and Right To Know [R2K] a website designer, redesigned the website, www.bpsr.gov.ng of BPSR and launched the first ever Freedom of Information portal enabled to receive electronic reply to their request from both the public and private sectors.”
“BPSR is calling on all public institutions across the country to commence similar processes that would facilitate their easy compliance to the provisions of the FOI Act that would enshrine the culture of openness and improve governance in the country.”
Abah explained that the redesigned website now makes it possible for the BPSR to fulfill it’s obligations under the FOI Act in order to promote openness and facilitate public access to information and documents held by the institution.
The initiative, according to him, is supported by the MacArthur Foundation is part of an on-going partnership between BPSR and R2K.
“The website FOI Portal will allow the public submit real time online FOI requests, receive feedback and also made provision for appeals as well as reviewing cases of any wrongful denial of information by BPSR officials.”
On her part, the R2K’s Coordinator, Ene Nwankpu confirmed that BPSR is the major government institution that is driving government reforms among public institutions in Nigeria stressing that the bureau has again demonstrated an exemplary and bold approach ensuring that nothing negative occurs when a public institution opens up it’s operations to more public access and scrutiny adding, ”This ingenuity should be followed suit by all public institutions in Nigeria”.
This initiative which is made possible through a funding support from the MacArthur Foundation will establish a mutual agreeable framework for co-operation between BPSR and R2K in undertaking the following; implementing vital aspects and key provisions of the Act; utilising information technology for information disclosure purposes, both proactively as well as, on demand and to facilitate public access to these information.
BPSR is a key government institution and custodian of respective government reform agendas and various policies, the BPRS’s willingness to comply with the provisions of the Act is laudable as this feat would now enable the public to access information including past reform policies of the government just by the click of a button; thereby ensuring openness and laying to rest, speculations or rumours about the activities of governance”.