Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The Anambra State Government has reiterated its avowed commitment to ensure transparency, accountability and financial prudence in the governance of the state.
The resolution came to the fore at the launch of the Open Government Partnership State Action Plan held at the Prof. Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre Awka at the weekend.
The Head of Service of the Anambra State Civil Service, Barr. Harry Uduh, who represented Governor Willie Obiano at the ceremony, noted that the signing and launch of the OGP State Action Plan in Anambra was a continuation of what has been existing in the state.
Uduh explained that Open Government Partnership was not a strange phenomenon in Anambra because the state’s budget process had been participatory, stressing that since the inception of the Obiano administration, the state had been consulting with civil society organisations and other stakeholders in moving the state forward.
He mentioned the Choose Your Project Initiative of the present state government where he said that each community got money from the state government to embark on indigenous developmental projects and that the projects were executed with labour got from the communities for reasons of accountability.
The Head of Service who described the present state government as the best participatory governnent, pointed out that other state governments currently emulated Anambra state in the practice of open governance even as he emphasized that corruption was not in the lexicon of the Obiano administration.
Also, the state commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, Mr. Mark Okoye, said that the government of Chief Willie Obiano believed that the citizens needed to see demonstrable openness and honesty from their public officials in order to maintain faith and trust in the government.
Okoye further explained that the quest to restore trust in public institutions by conducting business in an open and transparent way and making sure the people and communites have a say in government’s projects led to many public sector reforms in Anambra state and also culminated in the state signing on to the Open Government Partnership Initiative (OGP).
According to the commissioner, “Our open government process is anchored on shared responsibility across government, with many cabinet members having responsibility for leading specific commitments in our action plan.
“In Anambra, the responsibility for many important issues is shared across the multiple levels of stakeholders in the society and government is committed to working together with all stakeholders through a collaborative, coordinated approach to better serve our people.”
Principal leader of the Budget office in Abuja, Mr. Gabriel Okeowo, in his speech noted that the Anambra State government had signed an MoU with BudgIT on Open Budget System that aims to promote fiscal transparency in the state.
The initiative according to him was with the support of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme funded by the European Union being implemented by the British Council in five states: Adamawa, Anambra, Edo, Kano and Lagos.
Okeowo further disclosed that Anambra state government went a step further, having signed up to Open Government Partnership (OGP), to finalize its OGP State Action Plan (SAP) 2019-2021, as well as the Anambra State Anti-corruption Strategy (ANSACS) and launched both after the signing of the MoU with BudgIT.
He noted that BudgIT was glad to work with the Anambra state government and citizens to achieve a transparent fiscal system by supporting the state with technical resources to make its budget more open, develop citizens’ budget and a web-based feedback mechanism for citizens participation as well as enlist the state on a national web portal where all states financial documents will be published for increased access and citizen’s participation in the governance process.
The principal leader however stated that BudgIT calls on other states to be bold in their commitment to an open and inclusive government that encourages increased confidence in government and foster development at the subnational level.