By Reuben Sei Waylaun
As part of efforts to enhance the understanding of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on public participation and knowledge of public financial management, the Non-State Actor Secretariat (NSA) at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in collaboration with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Wednesday January 13, 2021 kicked off two days training for CSO actors in Monrovia.
The two days training hosted under the theme: “Public Financial Management Reforms for Institutional Strengthening Projects and OGP National Consultative Meeting of CSOs,” is bringing together over twenty CSO Actors.
Established 2012, the aim of the Secretariat is to strengthen the capacity of CSOs on the idea of Public Financial Management Process, openness, the essential principle of Public Financial Management among others.
Giving an overview of the training, the Coordinator of the Non-State Actor Secretariat at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Madam Caroline Myers-Zodua said the training will further increase the roles of CSOs in Monitoring and promoting public participation and how public resources are spent.
Madam Myers-Zodua further said the NSA gives funds to CSOs to monitor the workings of the government which is one of the essences of Open Government Partnership (OGP).
“We want public participation for full democratic values and we are providing the technical assistance to the OGP. We are just providing the technical and financial supports. One of the challenges is that people are not aware of the OGP. We want to see government open and participatory,” she said.
She called for the total involvement of the CSOs in the processes; something she said will further enhance the full participation envisioned by them. However, she expressed sadness that the Civil Society organizations are not really playing their roles as expected. “CSO is not really playing its roles in the OGP,” she said.
For his part, the Head of Secretariat of the Open Government Partnership, G. Ralph Jimmeh, Jr. admitted that there have been ‘adverse relationship’ between the CSOs and the government.
Mr. Jimmeh however said the OGP is bringing everybody together to work. According to him, the OGP is looking at the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) by working with the government to achieve her agenda to roll out commitments.
“Currently we have eight or nine institutions that have made several commitments within two years. We will publish those commitments for everyone to have access so we can be able to track those commitments,” he said.
The OGP is a multilateral initiative with a co-creation platform for dialogues between government and Civil Society Organizations to collaborate and promote transparency, accountability, integrity, increased citizens’ participation, good governance, inclusivity, anti-corruption, e-government and engender policy reforms using innovative ways,
The OGP eliminates corruption and wastes in government. It is also geared to improve performance of how government works.
Mr. Jimmeh further said “We want to make sure that everyone works through civil society for the voices of the people to be heard. The OGP is saying let the citizens be on the table. When information is lacking, you give people the opportunity to assume. There are some information that should be readily available and shouldn’t be asked for. The OGP wants public institutions to have an active websites. Not that everything in the public sector is bad, but give citizens the reality which will allow them to know. OGP has to build networks. OGP communicates openly and honestly, promptly and efficiently. Most of the noise is about poor service delivery, we must take responsibility for results.”