As part of efforts to ensure improved transparency, accountability and citizen participation in governance, Bayelsa Non-Government Organisations Forum (BANGOF), in partnership with Policy Alert, has encouraged the state government to key into the Open Government Policy (OGP) declaration.
The BANGOF said that the OGP framework would further ensure transparent and accountable management of crude oil revenue accruing to the state from the federation account, attract more international grants and improve the financial ranking of the state in the global economic space.
The forum made these recommendations and proposals to the state government at a two-day capacity building in Yenagoa for state and non-state actors who are expected to engage the government on OGP and strategic engagement in a bid to combat corruption in the extractive industry.
Speaking during the training, the Programme Manager of Policy Alert, Mr. Udo Koko, said that 77 countries and 106 local government areas representing more than two billion people and thousands of civil society organisations have signed up for the OGP, an international multi-stakeholder initiative focused on ensuring more effective citizens’ participation across the entire budget cycle through technology and innovation.
While presenting a paper entitled “Introduction to OGP and the responsibilities of key actors and stakeholders in OGP implementation”, Mr. Koko explained that “more than two billion people are members of OGP. All governments signed on to the Open Government Declaration which has developed and implemented two action plans (NAP1 and NAP11).
Giving further insight on the OGP framework, Koko said: “the OGP is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable. OGP is a voluntary multi-lateral and multinational initiative that seeks to create collaboration between government and civil society.
ALSO READ FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
“The OGP, once implemented, will make Bayelsa a preferred destination for donor funds and foreign direct investment, technical and institutional support that will amplify the reputation of application of revenue and open the Global visibility and positive publicity of the state.”
In his paper titled ‘Utilísing Technology and Innovation in OGP Process’, the OGP national secretary, Philip Ahmed said that for the OGP declaration to be more effective, member-states are encouraged to employ technology to save cost, time, introduce creativity in solving problems, introduce new ideas and create a portal for inclusiveness in open governance.
Also, in his presentation entitled “Opening locally: Political economy context and rationale for OGP in Bayelsa State”, the Monitoring, Evauation and Learning Officer of USAID-SCALE Project, Policy Alert, Mr. Faith Paulinus, said that the state is in dire need to sign on to the OGP because despite being the site of one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in the country, the state remains plagued by rampant poverty.