USAID State2State, OGP actors develop implementation plan

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Ebonyi State has developed a draft implementation plan for Open Government Partnership Initiative’s action plan in the state.

The draft implementation plan was finalised during a 3-day workshop/retreat held from the 27th November to 1st December, 2022 in Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state.

The workshop was organised by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID-funded State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness, (State2State) Activity, in collaboration with Ebonyi State government.

The workshop brought together state actors: relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government as well as non-State actors: Civil Society Organisations, to brainstorm on strategies and actions to effectively actualize the goals of OGP in Ebonyi State.

Recall that the state government with support from the USAID-State2State had recently recorded great progress in OGP issues.

The collaboration had birthed the reconstitution and re-invigoration of the OGP Steering Committee which among other achievements, produced a new OGP State  Action Plan, SAP.

Speaking at the workshop, the Ebonyi State Team Lead, USAID State2State, Dr. Sam Onyia, appreciated the state governor, David Nweze Umahi, and the new OGP Steering Committee for their positive disposition towards the current efforts to revive OGP implementation in the state.

He also commended partner CSOs for their dedication to the cause of OGP.

Dr. Onyia in an interview, explained that the implementation plan was a breakdown of the wider state Action Plan to an implementable document in terms of actual activities, costs, funding plan, timeline, expected output, key performance indicators, those responsible, possible risk factors and mitigation strategies.

Dr. Onyia further added: “The Steering Committee which we supported has developed the State Action Plan. After that, the next is to develop the implementation plan from the State Action Plan, and that is why we are here. So, this workshop is for them to brainstorm on how to make sure that OGP, this time around, is effectively and successfully implemented in Ebonyi State.”

In their separate remarks, the two OGP co-chairmen, Chief Emmanuel Obasi, for State Actors, and Oliver Aja Chima, for the CSOs expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting.

Chief Obasi, the principal Secretary to Ebonyi State governor, confirmed that provisions were made in the 2023 budget for OGP implementation and pledged government’s continued cooperation and support towards implementing and sustaining OGP principles in the State.

Describing CSOs as partners in progress with government, Chief Obasi expressed optimism that the outcomes of OGP activities would continue to strengthen understanding between the government and the governed in both fiscal and physical policies.

Also, Mr. Chima added: “Government is a social contract having a demand side and the supply side.

“At the demand side are the citizens represented by the CSOs while the supply side is the government. Our goal in OGP is to improve governance and service delivery, as well as lead citizens to play active role in governance, thereby removing the mutual mistrust which impedes development.”

Speaking to newsmen, another key participant at the workshop, and Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Stephen Odoh, stated that OGP was an advancement of the principles of democracy, which the state government has been upholding.

“What makes the activities of OGP to be very fair is that it tries to reduce the suspicion between the citizens and government, two groups with seemingly contradicting interests.

“Most often, the citizens make demands without recourse to capacity of government, especially in the budget process.

“People most often, fail to understand that budgeting does not practically translate to funding.

“I think with these interactions, the people, represented by NGOs and CSOs, will begin to appreciate the fact that it is not always the way they think.

“It is also helping us the government, a lot, because people are now understanding what we are talking.”

The workshop was facilitated by Hajia Ramatu Unoiza Bello, the Sub-National Adviser OGP National Secretariat, Abuja.

Highlight was the inauguration of a think-tank committee  to peruse and edit the draft implementation plan before transmission to OGP national secretariat for follow-up actions.

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