The World Bank in collaboration with Open Government Partnership (OGP), and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) – Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) Program has organized a national workshop on Citizens Accountability Report (CAR) template for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and government representatives in northwest Nigeria to meet SFTAS indicators.
States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) is a program of the Federal Government that reward States for meeting any or all of nine indicators that demonstrate improvements in Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability.
The objective of the workshop is to for participants to learn how to develop their individual states’ CAR using the template developed by the OGP Secretariat in collaboration with FCDO-PERL, and the various processes involved in the Disbursement Link Results (DLRs) as well as collect information on how make the template more user friendly.
In his good will message at the workshop on Friday in Abuja, the National Program Manager, FCDO-PERL, Mr. Ifeanyi Peters Ugwuoke said PERL is delighted to be part of the progressive efforts being made through the World Bank-Assisted SFTAS program for results, towards advancing the frontier of governance reforms in Nigeria.
He said: “PERL, works with its partners such as the World Bank, the Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF), Open Government Partnership (OGP) and of course the Federal Government, to identify critical blockages to the delivery of public services and develop practical ways to address identified bottlenecks and enhance transparency.
“Through these partnerships, the program links government accountability mechanism to systems and processes of public administration and stimulate pragmatic synergy between the government actors, organized private sectors/citizens, to promote effective utilization of public resources in delivering public goods and services to the citizens.”
FCDO-PERL aims to ensure that government are more responsive and accountable to the public, and that government institutions involves citizens in decision-making processes more effectively. This is the goal that led it into collaborative work with the OGP Secretariat in developing the CAR template.
The importance of the CAR is accentuated by establishing correlation between democratic cum good governance and accountability, which as a matter of fact increase the trustworthiness and legitimacy of government in the eye of the governed.
According to Ugwuoke, CAR is designed as a SFTAS DLI with incentives to enable the government to report the utilization of public funds in the last completed fiscal year in a manner that could be digested by the citizens and used to engage the government for improved results.
He said the idea behind the CAR is to present the audited financial statement and fiscal performance, in a way that is understandable to the public by considering the information contained in the Auditor General’s Report, highlighting the key issues that the citizens would be interested in, and seemingly creating an opportunity for informed engagement and participation.
“This is of course in keeping with Citizens Budget, which sits at the beginning of the PFM cycle whilst the CAR sits at the end.”
Mr. Ugwuoke further stated that the CAR will also enable the CSOs, the Media and the organized private sector players to ask the right questions about how our commonwealth or public funds are being utilized government to provide public goods and services.
He then urged participants to grab the opportunity by paying rapt attention, build the requisite capacity needed to develop their individual state’s CAR and receive the rewards that will follow.
On her part, the OGP National Coordinator, Dr. Anne Nzegwu who was represented by the OGP/SFTAS Program Officer, Tari Willis said SFTAS is an incentivized program aimed at supporting the implementation of Fiscal Sustainability Plan and the OGP at the subnational level.
“The program has four key result areas (KRAs), for which the OGP is providing technical assistance to states to increase openness and citizens’ engagement in the budget processes which include increase fiscal transparency and accountability, strengthened domestic revenue mobilization, increased efficiency in public expenditure and strengthened debt sustainability.
“Under each KRA, there are disbursement linked indicators, which states are expected to achieve using the disbursement links results (DLRs).
“The Nigeria OGP secretariat is the implementing agency of SFTAS charged with the mandate of providing technical assistance to states to enable them achieve disbursement link indicator (DLI) 11 – increased openness and citizens’ engagement in the budget process,” she said.
Dr. Nzegwu explained that for states to meet the DLI 11 in 2021, they are expected to achieve:
- Citizens Input from formal public consultations are published online, along with proposed FY22 budget AND citizens’ budget based on approved FY21 state budget published online by the END of April 2021 with functional feedback mechanism.
- Citizens Accountability Report based on audited financial/statement reports published online for FY20 not later than END of September, 2021.
Some of the states that won the Federal Government performance-based grant under the World Bank supported SFTAS Program for results in the past are Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe.
The stakeholders that participated in the just concluded CAR Workshop were drawn from Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara.