Open Government Partnership holds National Steering Committee meeting

NEWS DIGEST – The Open Government Partnership (OGP) held its 11th National Steering Committee (NSC) meeting on Thursday, April 22 2021, at the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning in Abuja.

The meeting was convened by the Governance and Leadership Sub-Committee of the NSC and presided over by the Co-Chairs, consisting of the Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, who is the Government Co-chair, and Non-State Actors Co-Chair, Dr. Tayo Aduloju, the Chief Operations Officer at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG).

The meeting discussed, amongst other things, the institutionalization of the OGP in Nigeria, the implementation of Nigeria’s OGP Second National Action Plan (NAP II) and the OGP/Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the development of a Beneficial Ownership (BO) Register.

The meeting was attended by over 40 participants, comprising 7 members representing various Government agencies; nine members representing various Non-State Actors organizations and institutions and other participants accompanying members, as well as OGP Secretariat Staff and members of the Press.

At the start, a one-minute silence was observed in honour of the late Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, the immediate past Regional Director of Ford Foundation West Africa and Founder of CLEEN Foundation.

In his speech, the Government Co-chair announced that through the concerted efforts of the NSC, progress had been made towards the institutionalization of the OGP in Nigeria as a budget line for the operations of the OGP Secretariat and some NAP implementation activities were approved last year and that releases would be made shortly.

The NSC also acknowledged the importance of the changes made to NAP II, especially the additional activities added to the NAP II towards ensuring transparency and accountability in the expenditure of COVID-19 Funds and on Citizens-Police Dialogue aimed at rebuilding citizens trust in Police, in response to the threats to civic space occasioned by the response of the police and other security agencies to the #EndSARS protests.

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), which are also members of the NSC, were commended for their efforts towards implementing Beneficial Ownership Transparency (BOT) in Nigeria.

The NEITI BO register (bo.neiti.gov.ng) was noted to be fully operational as it contains oil and gas contracts and licenses information while the CAC platform now collects BO information for all new registration (search.cac.gov.ng).

BO information for other companies will be captured through the Annual Returns Form.

The NSC also directed the two institutions to collaborate with the OGP Secretariat and other non-state partners to ensure that a thoroughly inclusive and consultative process is employed in the utilization of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the establishment of Nigeria’s Beneficial Ownership Register.

On the commemoration of the upcoming OGP Week from May 17 – 21, 2021, the NSC approved the events proposed by the secretariat, particularly the Ministerial Media Launch of the Design and Development of Nigeria’s Open Register of Beneficial Owners of Companies and the Zonal Citizens-Police Dialogue on Rebuilding Trust in the Police as well as media appearances of some members of the NSC.

As a means of ensuring that the states are committed to implementing the ideals and principles of the OGP with a view to implementing sanctions for defaulting members, the NSC approved the development of a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the states that have signed up to the OGP Subnational Program.

The Director of Reforms Coordination and Service Improvement Department of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (National Planning Arm) Dr Anne Nzegwu, was appointed as the new National Coordinator of the OGP in Nigeria while the OGP Civil Society Adviser, Mr. Stanley Achonu was named as the Deputy National Coordinator.

The Committee commended the Director of International and Comparative Law of the Federal Ministry of Justice and outgoing National Coordinator, Mr. Benjamin Ogu Okolo, for his service while he headed the Nigeria OGP Secretariat.

For more information and enquiries from the Nigeria OGP Secretariat, please contact [email protected]