By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to ensure strict compliance with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, and to improve access to information.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who made the assertion, said the ministry is working with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Secretariat to enforce compliance with the FOI Act.
Speaking yesterday at the 2nd national steering committee meeting of the OGP, in Abuja, Malami disclosed that already, the ministry, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR) have started proactive disclosure of information, to reduce delays in the response time of FOI requests.
Malami, who is the co-chair of the OGP, noted that the ministry of budget and national planning has shown remarkable improvement in both the timeliness and citizen’s participation in the budget process.
He added that the budget office has published a user-friendly citizen’s guide for understanding the federal government 2017 budget, which according to him, can be found in their websites.
According to him, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has equally recorded improvement in implementing open contracting principles and has recently won an international innovation award in recognition of their efforts.
The minister revealed that his ministry is also working with the Ministry of Finance and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to implement tax transparency.
He stressed that Nigeria has made progress in the adoption of common reporting standards in taxation.
“The Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is meeting minimum standards required by the global Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and has extended disclosures from the oil and gas sector to the solid mineral sector.
“The recommendations from the NEITI audit report have led to far reaching reform in oil and gas industry, especially in the processing of oil bids,” he said.