By Etuka Sunday
The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Benjamin Dikki has said that government at all levels were custodians of collective resources of the people therefore, must give account to the people to justify the confidence reposed on them.”
Dikki who spoke while delivering a lecture on “Accountability in Governance and National Development” to course 23 of the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja, said “Governments ought to owe the ultimate owners of the resources an explanation on how the resources have been used in developing the people.” A statement by the Head, Public Communications, BPE, Chigbo Anichebe quoted the DG to have opined that in Nigeria, the articulated development objectives were indicated under Sections 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 24 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The BPE boss believes the role of accountability in governance was to build confidence and trust between the government and the governed and ensure optimization of use of resources through dialogue and consultation and meeting of the actual needs of the people.
Others he said, was to encourage the practice and culture of financial and systems checks and balances that ensure consistent good behavior of those entrusted with our collective resources from one generation to another and to also ensure public understanding of government policies and support for them.
Dikki further pointed out the critical role the BPE had played in enthroning accountability and good governance in the new Nigeria to include: Formation of Pencom which ensured accountability of staff pension deductions.
The sector has accumulated over N4 trillion in stable deposits now ready for development investment; Formation of the Debt Management Office which resulted in the continued determination of Nigeria’s total external borrowings and made a concrete case for debt cancellation and rescheduling; Formation of the EFCC that has increased accountability and has assisted in reducing theft of government funds now freed for development and has secured the conviction of many corrupt officials; The unbundling of PHCN into 18 successor companies and the successful privatization of the Electric Power Sector.
This has taken the power sector out of government budget and now we can calculate the revenue shortfalls in the power market, among others.
He said Nigeria needed to do more in the following areas to sustain accountability and good governance: Ideological articulation of the concept development and ensuring its general acceptance; Sustenance of value re-orientation: fight against Indiscipline and corruption; Conservation of the Environment as a critical resource for development; Development of entrepreneurship and reduction of unemployment; Improvement in Security and its perception; Sustaining of development initiatives; Improvement of communication between the leadership and the led.