On this auspicious UN International Day for Universal Access to Information, the Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW) is excited to announce its efforts in promoting and entrenching the culture of transparency and open governance in the nation’s public service through its Transparency and Integrity Index (TII) report.
The TII, the Center’s flagship project supported by the Macarthur Foundation, was borne out of the need to strengthen existing preventive mechanisms in combating corruption; especially given the concern that huge resources are deployed every year to prosecute corruption without corresponding slowdown of incidences. Hence, the TII was developed to enhance good governance by making public institutions as transparent as possible.
The maiden report presented to mark the 2021 International Day for Universal Access to Information (28th September), clearly underpinned the need for government agencies to be more open with information as required by enabling local laws and international treaties/conventions; with the highest ranked organization, Family Homes Fund Limited accumulating a total score point of 34.92%.
Over the last year, the Center has sustained its advocacy by promoting the principle of the project, and the need for MDAs to proactively publish information on their website as a means of preventing corruption and enhancing transparency. Besides engaging media and other civil society players to propagate the index, an enhanced Assessment Methodology Handbook was also presented to serve as a comprehensive guide on how to ensure conformity with the relevant guiding principles which form the bedrock of the research.
We are glad to state that the preliminary outcome of the 2022 TII research has shown remarkable improvement in the performance of MDAs in core areas of open governance and transparency.
As part of our strategic engagement to get an inroad and buy-in of government agencies, the Center is partnering with the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), an agency mandated to initiate, coordinate and ensure the full implementation of government reform policies and programs. This year’s TII presentation will equally feature a keynote address by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha as part of efforts to deepen fiscal transparency measures in the public service.
This year’s UN International Day for Universal Access to Information theme: “Artificial Intelligence, E-Governance and Access to Information” presents another opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on work done in the past one year and scale up efforts towards improving access to public information. Indeed, artificial intelligence and e-governance can considerably bridge the “digital divide, by giving citizens access to tailor-made and accessible information.”
When government information are automated and electronically made available on public websites, there will be transparency and efficiency, which would ultimately reduce corruption. It is on this note that we call on stakeholders to join the advocacy for universal access to information, and support the effort at digitizing the nation’s public sector.
On the continental level, our position as the sub-Saharan African representative at the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Coalition places a burden on us to replicate the TII model in other African countries. The Center seizes this opportunity to call on development partners and African governments to support our efforts at replicating and mainstreaming the TII as a continental tool for measuring compliance with access to information laws, promote transparency and e-governance in a bid to prevent corruption.
Apart from enhancing the implementation of the UNCAC treaty, the TII will also facilitate the implementation of SDG 16 which aims to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels,” on the continent.
Head, Public Affairs