WORKSHOP ON INCREASING TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT AND BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP INITIATIVES

 

The Open Government Partnership (OGP), is an international multi-stakeholder partnership with partners such as The World Bank Group (WBG), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), who have pledged support to OGP member countries to promote open government and increased accountability.

Since OGP’s launch in 2011, its membership has grown from 8 to 65 countries. Currently, eight African countries are participating in the OGP namely, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Tunisia. Many of these countries are currently implementing ambitious commitments on transparency and accountability programmes.
OGP focuses on improving transparency, accountability and collaboration within the government for civil servants, as well as improving technological innovation with citizens for public co-creation and social value while encouraging participation in the process of actively engaging citizens in the design, development and implementation of public policies through credible openness.
OGP’s minimum eligibility criteria
OGP’s Minimum Eligibility Criteria which an aspiring member country must attain include;
•    Fiscal Transparency, which refers to the publication of high quality information on how governments raise taxes, borrow, spend, invest, and manage public assets and liabilities.
•    Access to Information, an access to information law that guarantees the public’s right to information and access to government data is essential to the spirit and practice of open government.
•    Public Officials Asset Disclosure, Rules that require public disclosure of income and assets for elected and senior public officials are essential to anti-corruption and open, accountable government.
•    Citizen Engagement. An open Government requires openness to citizen participation and engagement in policymaking and governance, including basic protections for civil liberties.

In order for Nigeria to participate in OGP, The Federal Government must exhibit a demonstrated commitment to open government in four key areas, as measured by objective indicators and validated by independent experts.
Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami SAN gave the welcoming remarks and introductory remarks were given by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Director General BPSR Dr. Joe Abah facilitated discussions and contributions from institutions that were present in the workshop with the objective of reviewing the implications of the country joining the OGP, reviewing what measures the country would need to enhance company beneficial ownership, identify likely partners and stakeholders, agree on next steps and the development of national plan.
The workshop was conducted as part of the consultations for the preparation of Nigeria’s participation in the upcoming Anti-corruption summit taking place in London on 12th May 2016, where President Buhari would be expected to commit to the development of beneficial ownership transparency initiatives, application of open contract data principles and implementation of the open data charter.

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