By Vincent Ujumadu
Anambra State government has launched the Open Government Partnership, OGP, aimed at fostering transparency and accountability in governance and budget implementation.
The programme, supported by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, ROLAC, was funded by the European Union, EU, and implemented by the British Council.
Five states—Adamawa, Anambra, Edo, Kano, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory— are serving as pilot areas for the programme.
Anambra State Head of Service, Mr. Harry Udu, who launched the programme in Awka, said although the state government has been running an all-inclusive administration in which every segment of the society was involved in budget process, the introduction of the OGP would further bring the people closer to government.
According to him, if every government was run in an open and transparent manner, every citizen would be carried along and there would be no room for corruption in the system.
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The state Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Mr. Mark Okoye, said the state’s action plan ensures more effective participation of the citizens across the entire budget cycle, guarantees full and effective implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility Law, as well as adopt Public Procurement Law and Open Contracting Standards.
He added that it would also help to improve revenue generation, ensure tax transparency, guarantee the ease of doing business, as well as shore up the state’s ranking on the World Bank business index.
He assured that the planned establishment of anti-corruption units in key ministries and agencies, creation of framework conditions for OGP participation and sustenance, as well as improving citizens’ access to publicly held information and records would ensure sustainable interaction platform at all level of governance.
Okoye said: “When the doors and windows of governance are opened, the occupants of government offices appear in public view and are thus kept alert to focus on serving the people.
“It is the quest to restore trust in public institutions by conducting business in an open and transparent way and making sure the people and the communities have a say in government’s projects, that led to many public sector reforms in Anambra State and culminated in the state signing the OGP initiative.”
The commissioner explained that desk offices would be established in all the 21 local government areas to ensure effective implementation of relevant OGP commitments at that level.