The Director-General of The Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Joe Abah has challenged the members of the National Assembly to publish her annual budget online to encourage transparency and accountability in governance.
Dr Abah, gave the advice on Wednesday at a seminar on Open Government and Transparency organized by the bureau in partnership with Right to Know, an NGO in Abuja.
He urged the National Assembly to learn from other developed nations, adding that doing so would make public servants and political office holders accountable for any decisions and actions made.
He noted that most civil servants cite the Official Secrets Act and refuse to disclose relevant information to the public.
Abah said that the bureau was working with the Ministry of Justice to ensure transparency in the system, adding that it would expand the reform to other arms of government.
Dr Joe Abah said:
“The Federal Government is committed to transparency in seven key areas including public participation, government integrity, freedom of information, fiscal transparency, public service delivery, extractive and open data.”
“We will extend the reform to other arms of government to allow for transparency in all sections of the economy.”
“We are in the process of developing a national action plan for Nigerians that will foster participation, government integrity and public service delivery.’’
He urged Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to establish FOI units and provide funds to finance the unit.
He also urged on MDAs to be proactive in responding to application seeking for information within 7 days except for requests that require a large volume of records.
Abah further called on MDAs to promptly submit annual reports as this would also aid accountability and transparency.
“In 2012, 16 MDAs submitted annual report and in 2013, only 32 MDAs submitted reports.”
“Also in 2014, 51 MDAs submitted, in 2015, 60 MDAs submitted while in 2016, only 44 MDAs submitted reports, which is not too good for our agencies.”
He therefore encouraged agencies of government and public institutions to comply with the law by submitting their reports in 2017.