The Kaduna State Government has commenced the implementation of the Open Governance Partnership, OGP, of the federal government aimed at enhancing transparency, accountability and citizen participation in governance.

The state’s Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi, said this in Kaduna on Monday at the inauguration of the partnership in the state.

Mr. Abdullahi said that the state subscribed to the OGP to principally improve fiscal transparency, anti-corruption, access to information and citizens engagement and empowerment.

According to him, the step will improve the state’s ability to attract foreign investment and enhance access to additional development funds.

“OGP was earlier launched by eight countries namely Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, UK and the U.S.

“Nigeria subscribed to OGP on May 11, 2016, making it the 70th country to join.

“Kaduna State is, therefore, the first in the country to subscribe to the OGP, because of the willingness of the government to be open and transparent.”

Mr. Abdullahi said that the state subscribed to seven of the 14 commitment areas for implementation.

He listed them to include ensuring citizen participation in budget circle, open contracting, adopt common reporting standard, promote ease of doing business and improve compliance with Freedom of Information Act.

Others are to develop permanent dialogue mechanism on transparency, accountability, and good governance between citizens and government and adopt technology-based citizen’s feedback on government project and programmes.

The commissioner said that state OGP Steering Committee, the Technical Working Committee and the Civil Society Organisations would be trained on its principle.

“They are equally expected to develop the Annual Work Plan that would guide the state in the implementation of the OGP commitments,” Abdullahi said.

In his remarks, Nuhu Shadalafy’a, Chairman, House Committee on Information and Human Affairs, Kaduna State House of Assembly, said the assembly was committed to supporting reforms that ensured development in the state.

“We are partnering with the state government to provide the dividends of democracy to improve the lot of the people.

“We are, therefore, committed to the outcome of the meeting as long as it will add value to the life of the people of the state,” Mr. Shadalafy’a said.

Earlier, the OGP National Coordinator, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, described the programme as a symbolic partnership’ between government and CSOs, to bring about effective reform and good governance.

Represented by Haruna Abdullahi, OGP Sub-National Consultant, Ibekaku-Nwagwu, said that the programme was critical to democratic dispensation, given the unstable socio-political situation in the country.

“Kaduna State Government is, therefore, leading the way as the first state to sign into OGP at sub-national level, which will launch the state into global pioneer state of open government,” she said.

She commended Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i for setting the pace and initiating several reforms in the area of good governance, thereby enhancing service delivery and infrastructural development.