By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja

BUREAU of Public Service Reforms, BPSR, and Nigeria Extractive Transparency Initiative, NEITI, have jointly emerged the most compliant companies in terms of Freedom of Information, FOI, while Debt Management Office, came third on the ranking.

The organisations were named joint winners, on Wednesday, by the Public and Private Development Centre, PPDC, during the launch of the 2022 Freedom of Information, FOI Compliance Ranking held in Abuja.

Speaking at the sideline with Journalists, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, PPDC, Jubril Shittu, disclosed that the BPSR and NEITI came tops because they proactively disclosed requested information on their portal.

Others in the ranking were the National Orientation Agency, NDA, which came fourth; while the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, came fifth; Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, CRC, came sixth; National Commission For Colleges Of Education, NCCE, came seventh; Bureau Of Public Enterprise, came eighth; Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, came 10th.

Shittu said the PPDC had been consistently advocating the disclosure of public finance expenditure information to promote a more transparent and accountable government, as well as increase citizens’ participation, thereby leading to improved public service delivery.

Shittu added that these rankings are to commemorate the International Right to Know Day, noting that it is conducted to ascertain the compliance of public institutions to the Freedom of Information Act (2011) based on the disclosure of public finance expenditure information.

He said: “Today is September 28, which is globally known as the access to information day all over the world. The various people that are celebrating access to information. So what we’re doing here today, along with our cohort partners, is to look at what the Nigerian experience is and we have been doing this for the past 10 years.

“You know, since the passage of the Freedom of Information Act in 2011, which opened up the space for the public to ask for information from the ministries, departments and agencies. So, this ranking exercise looks at the level of responsiveness of ministries, departments and agencies.

“It also looks at the proactiveness of the disclosures of information from these ministries, departments and agencies, as well as the level of partiality in terms of the disclosure whether they’re disclosing in full or in partial terms.

“So, this year, we rank 250 institutions and as you are aware, there are 700 ministries, departments and agencies. So, this just shows that we have quite a lot to catch up on. But, we should also recognise that we, you know, in terms of the efforts of the various ministries, departments and agencies, we’ve reached a level of increase from the previous years.”

In his keynote address, the Minister for State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, represented by the Deputy Director, Agric and Rural Development, Mrs Oluyide Adesola, said the federal government is making necessary efforts to ensure the data of Nigerians are protected.

He said: “the government has taken cognizance of emerging data protection laws and regulations in the international community geared towards protecting privacy, identity, lives and property as well as fostering the integrity of commerce and industry in the data and digital economy and has realised the imperative importance of developing data protection rules and regulations to protect the personal data of Nigerian citizens and residents.

“It is in view of this that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019 was passed and it is the pioneer, comprehensive Regulation on data protection in Nigeria.”

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