High Time For Katsina State To Join Open Government Partnership – By Bishir Dauda Sabuwar
SIR: Katsina State is one of the few states that are yet to join Open Government Partnership (OGP) in spite of the commitments of the state government to implementing governance reforms that meet OGP prerequisites.
For example, Katsina State government has domesticated Public Procurement Act; and a public procurement agency has already been established headed by a director-general. Another component of OGP is fiscal transparency. In order to ensure transparency in governance, the Katsina State government has domesticated the Fiscal Responsibility Act. What remains now is the take-off of the commission in the state. To boost the state economy and promote ease of doing business, an investment promotion agency has been established.
Other important initiatives that are in tandem with OGP guidelines which are fully in place in the state include Basic Health Care provision fund for the poor and vulnerable, state contributory healthcare fund for the civil servants, Katsina State Bureau of Statistics; a law for Katsina State anti-corruption agency has been passed since; what remains now is the take-off of the agency.
On public participation in budget circle, citizens are fully involved. For example, during the preparation for the 2021 budget, the state government had conducted town hall meetings in the seven old local government areas; and citizens were opportune to make their inputs. On its part, the state House of Assembly has been organizing public hearings on the budget since 2017.
Another issue is that of public access to a copy of the budget; now one can access a copy of the budget both online and offline.
Now, having achieved all these, one is bound to ask: why is the state is officially not among OGP states? We have met all the criteria, then what are waiting for? This brings us to the point where need to call on His Excellency, Governor Aminu Bello Masari to help us by signing the OGP. By signing OGP, Katsina State will save cost of governance as wastages, corruption and inefficiency will be drastically reduced. Citizens will fully participate in governance, therefore, policies and programmes of government will reflect their needs and aspirations. OGP will also help in building trust between the leaders and the led.
Now the ball is in the court of Governor Masari. He has a great opportunity to write his name in the sands of time by signing the OGP for Katsina State.
Comrade Bishir Dauda Sabuwar Unguwa, Katsina.