From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The World Bank’s Senior Governance Specialist, Nigeria Country Office, Mr Roland Lomme has commended the Kaduna State Government for initiating a digital citizen feedback platform for monitoring government projects.
Lomme, gave the commendation at a two-day Kaduna State Open Government (OGP) State Action Plan Workshop in Kaduna, described the initiative as“a breakthrough” in terms of citizen’s engagement in governance.
He also expressed his delight that the state government in March launched “Kaduna Citizens Feedback App” under the state’s Eyes and Ears Project for monitoring of government projects.
The App, available on Android Play Store, according to him is designed to serve as a means of communication between the government and the residents of the state.
It focuses on the status of various ongoing projects across the state.
According to him, the step is a sure way of strengthening government’s responsiveness toward its citizens, adding that, “there is no better way of engaging the citizens than this.”
“The initiative not only connects government with its citizens, but equally gives people a platform to make inputs in respect of projects located in their communities.
“This form of engagement promotes inclusive governance and gives every citizen a sense of belonging,’’ he said.
On effective utilisation of the App, Lomme advised the state government to carry out massive campaign to intimate the citizens on the existence of the App.
He said that citizens needed to know how the App worked and the kind of feedback expected from them, adding that government must also ensure timely response to the citizens’ feedback.
Lomme also urged the Federal Government and other state governments to take a cue from the initiative of Kaduna state.
He described the APP as “the first of its kind in improving inclusive governance “in the country.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi, said that the imitative became necessary to improve performance-tracking of government project to ensure value for the money spent.
Abdullahi said that the Eyes and Ears Project was government’s project-monitoring platform that provided feedback on budget implementation.
He said before the Citizen Feedback initiative, only government officials monitored and reported progress of work on government projects across the 23 local government areas of the state.
“But we realise that as government, we don’t have the needed capacity to effectively monitor all ongoing projects in the state. We don’t even cover up to 50 per cent of the ongoing projects.
“So in March this year, we launched this initiative where the entire citizens with access to internet services were brought on board through various platforms; social media, text messaging, phone calls to participate.
“The Citizen Feedback App particularly gives citizens a platform to monitor and report observations about a project on the spot, including pictures with precise location.
“So far, we are getting daily feedback on the quality or otherwise of our projects across the state through citizens’ engagement and provide early warnings on failing projects,” the commissioner said.