The Presidency on Wednesday restated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to run an open and transparent government.
The Special Adviser to the President on Judicial Reforms, Mrs Juliet Ibekaku, said this at the 2016 ranking on access to information in relation to procurement plans, procurement processes and capital expenditure.
She said, “Nigeria is at a point in time where we are striving very hard to be more transparent and accountable, not just to the outside world but to our citizens.
“And part of that goal that we seek to achieve this is what led Nigeria to be part of the Open Government Partnership Initiative.
“This initiative is to show that Nigeria wants transparency and accountability to be part our everyday life, particularly in the public sector.”
She commended the Bureau of Public Service Reforms for setting a good example for the rest of the MDAs.
She urged others to follow suit because freedom of information is the cornerstone of democracy.
The ranking was done by the Public Private Development Centre, a civil society group, based on data from 131 public institutions using the Freedom of Information Act.
The ranking was based on the responsiveness of the Federal Government’s Ministries, Department and Agencies to request for information on procurement matters and their level of disclosure.
Based on the ranking, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms was first and others at the top were National Pension Commission and Universal Basic Education Commission.
At the bottom, was Federal Ministry of Works, Housing, Power; Federal Inland Revenue Service, Federal Capital Territory Administration and Ministry of Petroleum Resources, among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria was ranked 37th and the Nigeria Television Authority was ranked 97th.
The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Joe Abah, said government should be open with information especially in relation to contracts and procurement because people deserved to know how their money was spent.
He said, “Citizens actually know very little about what government does and how they do it, and that breeds suspicion. When you proactively disclose information, it lessens that suspicion.
“A story once broke about the outrageous salaries of political office holders, but when we put out the information, it was very clear that the figure was far less than what was stated in the report.
Also, as government agencies, being open with information requests helps us to engage better with citizens.”
Meanwhile the Chief Executive Officer, Public Private Development Centre, Miss Seember Nyager, said the ranking was to increase Nigerian citizen’s participation in government through procurement monitoring.
Heads of some Federal Government Agencies were present at the meeting.