Bauchi Launches OGP Action Plan To Promote Citizens Engagement In Governance

By Khalid Idris Doya

Bauchi State Governor, Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed Thursday launched the State Action Plan 2023- 2025 of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to promote accountability, transparency and citizens engagement in governance to remove suspicion and mistrust hitherto exacerbated by bureaucratic bottlenecks.

Launching the action plan at the State Executive Council Chamber Governor Bala said the plan would focus on the four commitment areas which include, Open Access to Information, Citizens’ Engagement, Fiscal Transparency and Strengthening Social Protection System. 

He explained that the commitment areas have been broken down into activities and targets for easy implementation by the state relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), saying the state government had, even prior to joining the OGP in July, 2022 made concerted efforts to institutionalize the OGP principles within the operational processes of government in all sectors.

The governor said Bauchi under his leadership, had demonstrated a minimum level of commitment to the OGP by ensuring that budget processes are improved and supported to deliver efficient budget preparation, participation and timely publication of budget documents.

“I wish express my deep appreciation to USAID funded State2State activity for its commitment and continuous support throughout the process leading to the state joining the OGP and to all government officials, the civil society organizations (CSOs), Development Partners, Communities and Religious Leaders and Global OGP for the support and collaboration in the processes of development of this first Action Plan.

“I am pleased to note that we have, with support from USAID State2State Program, developed a State Budget Operation Manual, Standard Operating Procedures for Public Engagement and for Publishing Budget Reports, and a Guide to the State’s Fiscal Responsibility Law to guide the processes.”

These, the governor stated, were in addition to working and producing an internally generated revenue (IGR) expansion strategy that was formulated through a highly consultative and participatory process involving a wide range of stakeholders.

On inclusiveness, he said the state government has since developed and approved a State Social Protection Policy through the passage of the Violence against Persons Prohibition Law; as well as as the domestication of the National Gender Policy to ensure the inclusion of marginalized groups in governance, among other things.

“It is my hope that the co- creation and co-implementation of the plan by the Government and Civil Society actors will further enhance the relationship between the citizens and government, and ensure the citizens’ belief and trust in the governance process.”

The  Action Plan Co-chair and Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Ibrahim Mohammed Kashim had earlier in a welcome address said the main objective of the plan is to bring the citizens more closely to the government thereby ensuring cooperation in adopting active management in governance.

Kassim said that following the successful completion of training from 19 -25th December, 2022, the State Action Plan of the OGP was developed through multi-sector stakeholder engagement of both the state and non-state actors with key MDAs and civil society groups sufficiently represented.

Kassim congratulated Governor Bala Mohammed for the launching of the Action Plan and urged members of the Steering Committee to give their maximum support for effective and efficient implementation.

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