According to reports, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) has challenged the National Assembly to publish the annual budget online to encourage transparency and accountability in governance,
The BPSR Director-General, Dr Joe Abah, gave the advice at the reform seminar on Open Government and Transparency organised by the bureau in partnership with Right to Know (R2k), an NGO, on Wednesday in Abuja.
He urged the National Assembly to learn from other developed nations, adding that doing so would make public servants and political office holders accountable for any decisions and actions made.
He noted that most civil servants cite the Official Secrets Act and refuse to disclose relevant information to the public.
Abah said that the bureau was working with the Ministry of Justice to ensure transparency in the system, adding that it would expand the reform to other arms of government.
“The Federal Government is committed to transparency in seven key areas including public participation, government integrity, freedom of information, fiscal transparency, public service delivery, extractive and open data.
“We will extend the reform to other arms of government to allow for transparency in all sections of the economy.
“We are in the process of developing a national action plan for Nigerians that will foster participation, government integrity and public service delivery.’’
He called for inter-agency coordination and high level political support to be able to achieve transparency in government business.
The director-general urged Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to establish FOI units and provide funds to finance the unit.
He said that this would erase the bureaucratic bottlenecks in MDAs.
He also urged on MDAs to be proactive in responding to application seeking for information within 7 days except for requests that require a large volume of records.
Abah further called on MDAs to promptly submit annual reports as this would also aid accountability and transparency.
“In 2012, 16 MDAs submitted annual report and in 2013, only 32 MDAs submitted reports.
“Also in 2014, 51 MDAs submitted, in 2015, 60 MDAs submitted while in 2016, only 44 MDAs submitted reports, which is not too good for our agencies.
He, therefore, encouraged agencies of government and public institutions to comply with the law by submitting their reports in 2017.
Meanwhile, a bill seeking to repeal the Federal Road Maintenance Agency Act and rename it Federal Roads Authority has passed through second reading on the floor of the Senate.