Nigeria Unveils 2024 Transparency Index for Improved Governance

Rahila Lassa, Abuja

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The Nigerian government has unveiled the 2024 Transparency and Integrity Index methodology handbook.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, George Akume, unveiled the handbook in Abuja, Nigeria, at a workshop organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms in collaboration with the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Public Trust, and other partners.

The SGF said the importance of the workshop is pivotal towards fostering integrity, transparency and accountability across public institutions, as well as promoting the values of good governance.

Represented by the Director, ICT, in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Isa Wasa, Akume said, “In an era where trust in public institutions is paramount, it is imperative that stewards of democracy and governance take proactive measures to ensure the highest standards of accountability and integrity. 

“The methodology index represents a significant stride forward in this endeavour. It is heart-warming to state that since the maiden workshop, improvements have been recorded in view of MDAs compliance to the fulfilment of the Index methodology assessment, an indication that the virtues of transparency and accountability has gradually been embraced as hallmark for delivering public goods and services.”

According to him, the issue of accountability and transparency is key to the strategic objective of the Eight Priority areas of the Renewed Hope Agenda on Improved Governance for Effective Service Delivery, as enunciated by the current administration led by Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Evaluating and enhancing governance

He stated that the components set out in the Transparency and Integrity Methodology Index form a comprehensive framework for evaluating and enhancing governance across public institutions.

“By implementing this methodology index, we can catalyse a paradigm shift towards greater accountability, transparency, and inclusivity in governance,” he stated.

The SGF added that conducting an annual presentation of the Transparency and Integrity Methodology Handbook will elicit the interest of more Public Institutions towards proactive compliance and deepen the level of transparency in discharging official business.

George Akume urged stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity to usher in a new era of governance characterised by integrity,  transparency, and citizen-centricity.

The Director General, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr. Dasuki Arabi said the Handbook is a comprehensive guide designed to promote integrity and transparency across public institutions.

He noted that the handbook embodies the collective commitment to fostering an environment of trust, accountability, and ethical conduct.

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“Core to this initiative lies the recognition of the vital role that transparency plays in building public trust and confidence. By embracing transparency, we not only uphold the principles of good governance but also empower citizens to hold us accountable for our actions,” he said.

He further stated that the handbook also encompasses a range of critical areas, including website integrity, fiscal transparency, open procurement, anti-corruption measures, citizen engagement, human resources practices, and inclusivity.

“These pillars serve as the foundation upon which we can build stronger, more resilient institutions that serve the interests of all citizens.

“Similarly, the underlying objective of the development of Pillar III of the National Strategy for Public Service Reforms, on Public Financial Management underscores the importance by the Federal Government on the development of a robust set of metrics to assess the clarity, comprehensiveness, and timelines on financial disclosures by Public Institutions, empowering citizens and stakeholders to scrutinize expenditure and revenue patterns effectively,” he said.

National Anti-Corruption Strategy

Dr Arabi emphasized that the Bureau of Public Service Reforms activities around the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACs), sensitization of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy (NEIP) and the score- card ranking of MDAs websites is informed on the need to promote a peer review mechanism upon which the MDAs would provide proactive disclosures of public information and uphold the core values in conducting official business.

One of the Key partners, the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Public Integrity in its presentation said the Transparency and Integrity Index, TII, which was launched in 2021 serves as a thorough means of gauging the transparency of public institutions while also enhancing the effectiveness of existing accountability measures.

Represented by the Programme Manager, Tamara Berepubo, the Centre said it has identified five thematic areas of focus for government institutions at the national, sub-national and local government level.

She said these variables include Financials; Open Procurement; Control of Corruption; Citizens Engagement; and Human Resources and Inclusion which will be used for the assessment to ensure and encourage openness in government.

“Transparency is essential for good governance as it guarantees that the public can access and understand decision-making processes and outcomes, fostering accountability, trust, and citizen participation in governance,” she said.

Berepubo said that the variables were carefully designed to align with applicable laws and statutory instruments, ensuring a robust and comprehensive assessment process.

The guiding principles behind the variables are drawn from a range of legal frameworks, including the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended); the Public Procurement Act 2007 (as amended), the Freedom of Information Act 2011; the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007; Executive Order No. 001, 2017; and Federal Character Principles.

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