Using technology to promote inclusiveness in governance | The Guardian Nigeria News

To improve the participation and integration of citizen feedback into the government’s performance management system, the Central Delivery Coordination Unit (CDCU) of the Office of the Federation Government Secretary launched the application and the Presidential Delivery Tracker website.

Federation Government Secretary, Boss Mustapha, speaking at the app and website launch, said that over the past two years, CDCU has successfully spearheaded the government delivery initiative government to incorporate a systematic citizen feedback mechanism into the design. and the operationalization of its performance management system.

“This is in recognition of the essential role of citizens in promoting inclusive and citizen-centred governance. The CDCU was established to periodically monitor, review and report to the President on the performance of Ministries in delivering the Ministerial Mandates signed by Ministers and Permanent Secretaries with the President in 2019 towards the achievement of the nine government priorities federal government of Nigeria. ”

According to him, the Presidential Delivery Tracker (PDT) app was therefore a co-creation platform that aims to connect citizens to governance in Nigeria by increasing citizen access to government presidential priority policies, programs and projects. federal government by incorporating citizens as a third reporting layer to offer vital information that will facilitate effective service delivery.

“The PDT is not designed to cover all Federal Government activities, but its scope is limited to policies, programs and projects implemented by Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies towards the achievement of Presidential Priority Programs such as the nine priority areas of the current administration.

“The objective of developing the Citizens app and website is to enable citizens to, among other things: accurately report and provide feedback on the implementation of government programs and projects; participate in the coordination of federal government interventions in their localities and in the implementation of government projects; highlight critical issues with government programs and projects that impede the delivery of key services to citizens; advocate and educate other citizens and stakeholders on their civic responsibilities by encouraging the use of the Citizen Feedback Platform to hold government to account; and become partners in progress with the government in the delivery of quality services to all citizens.

“It is important to clarify that the tracker has been robustly designed to allow citizens to report on presidential priority projects and programs in their surroundings implemented by the government. It also offers the possibility for citizens to provide an assessment on the level of implementation. This will allow the CDCU to triangulate feedback from citizens with reports obtained from line ministries. »

He argued that the Citizen Engagement Initiative is in line with the growing global demand for civil society and citizens to actively participate in public decision-making, and the desire of many governments to improve trust, engender inclusiveness and responsiveness to citizens’ needs.

“This has been reinforced by the rise of technological innovations that provide unprecedented new opportunities for citizens to directly engage policy makers to facilitate closing the ‘feedback loop’ between citizens and governments. The key is to strengthen people’s participation in local decision-making processes in a sustainable way, which goes beyond listening to people but making the development process and institutions more inclusive.

“As we all know, citizen engagement allows us to broaden the dialogue on development to include the views and perspectives of traditionally marginalized groups leading to more inclusive institutions – governments, development organizations and donor agencies . Therefore, the expected outcome will be the most lasting results, when citizens become active agents rather than passive recipients.

“The CDCU intends to empower citizens to have their voices heard, to build a program of citizen engagement that works and participation that increases the benefits if discussed with the people, because citizens are strongly motivated by psychological and intangible factors, such as trust as well as a sense of civic duty and belonging.

“The Presidential Delivery Tracker and CDCU website will be used to disseminate information on the delivery of public services to citizens, receive feedback from the public and identify/suggest ways of improvement. It will also foster citizen voice, discussion and debate to demand service improvements.

“In a democratic nation like ours, it is imperative that our citizens know their rights and obligations and demand and access quality services through government. This will not only promote effective project implementation, create a desire for high standards, but also deepen accountability and transparency at all levels and stimulate ongoing policy dialogue and strategic engagement among all stakeholders.

Mustapha called on stakeholders, especially CSOs and the media, to strengthen engagement in promoting and sensitizing the platforms to have a wider reach across the country, stating that the platform will achieve its goal when citizens will use them effectively as intended. . “We therefore assure our stakeholders and indeed the general public that the feedback received from both platforms will receive due consideration.”

Also speaking at the event, Christopher Pycroft, Director of Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office in Nigeria, said the Presidential Delivery Tracker represents a milestone in transparency and accountability in government affairs.

“The UK has been a strong ally in the Nigerian government’s efforts to improve transparency and accountability. Delivery tracking is an important incentive and should be encouraged across all three levels of government. It is important that citizens not only provide feedback on the implementation of government projects, but can demand action if projects are not delivered.

“Officials and contractors should face penalties or costs if programs are not implemented, it is important that prior to project implementation, citizens are an integral part of program design and that government projects reflect the needs of its citizens is essential to building the social contract between citizens and government.

He noted that citizen participation in governance ensures that there is an explicit understanding that the government will provide essential services and that in return citizens will fulfill their civic duties.

“Effective social contact is essential for a system of mutual accountability where citizens demand quality services, where politicians and civil servants strive to meet these demands, and where citizens hold duty bearers to account through mechanisms such as this delivery tracking when things go wrong. Improving the delivery of basic services builds public confidence and encourages citizens to contribute to society by paying taxes.

“At this critical moment in Nigeria’s history, public trust is an important part of building democracy in Nigeria. If well implemented and supported, the President Delivery Tracker could be a powerful tool for establishing constructive engagement with citizens. That said, it is important to recognize some of the challenges we face, increasing citizen participation in the management of the project creates expectations, government must live up to expectations or be distrusted by citizens, government must demonstrate that active citizen participation will result in a positive state response.

Pycroft suggested that to sustain the initiative, the government needs to invest in building partnerships with networks of civil society groups across the country, without the institutional presence of consistent government information and citizen engagement from civil society networks could fade.

“This initiative aligns with the principles of the Open Government Partnership to improve transparency, accountability, citizen engagement and responsiveness through technology and innovation. As we approach the period of election broadcasting and political transition, there is a risk that this initiative, including performance management systems, will be abandoned. Institutionalizing this initiative and demonstrating its effectiveness will be essential for its sustainability. Let me end by commending the Office of the Secretary to the Federation Government for its focus on improving public sector performance management systems.

“We hope the Presidential Delivery Tracker will encourage greater government, citizen partnership and a shared understanding of how to improve governance in Nigeria. For its part, the UK government will continue to support incentives that promote citizen participation in governance, openness and transparency and an effective social contract based on mutual accountability.

For her part, the Nigeria Co-Chair (Civil Society), Open Government Partnership, Obialunanma Nnaobi-Ayodele, revealed that a number of thematic organizations were involved in the design and review of this tracker, so they are very delighted that the innovative project will now be available for use by the public.

“As already stated, this application will track project delivery across nine priority areas, all very closely aligned with the commitment co-created by government and non-state actors in National Action Plan 1, completed in 2019, the National Action Plan 2, in the final stages of implementation and National Action Plan 3, which is being finalized since President Buhari signed Nigeria’s membership in the partnership initiative for open government in 2016.”

According to her, the Presidential Delivery Tracker and web application addresses key types of open governance, accountability, transparency, improving public service delivery, citizen engagement and participation in government through the use of technology.

“On our part in civil society, we are committed to continuing to work with the government to ensure that the values ​​for which this project was designed are upheld, while continuing to hold the government to account. Some of the tangible results we would like to see from using this app would be results that reflect that measure of transparency in government so how much does this app improve disclosure and we would like to see measure of transparency trust, to what extent are citizens confident that their engagement with this app will result in positive outcomes? »

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