510 Agencies Score Low on Transparency Index

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Around 510 government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) scored low in the latest Transparency and Integrity Index report for 2022, Daily Trust findings have shown.

As a result, the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Bank of Industry (BOI) and National Pensions Commission (PENCOM) became the top three organizations in the Transparency and Integrity Index ranking 2022 for MDAs.

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DBN topped the leaderboard with 58.74 points, while BOI and PENCOM scored 48 and 33 respectively to finish second and third. The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Bureau of Civil Service Reforms were ranked among the top five agencies.

In the same vein, the last five agencies that have no points are the Sokoto-Rima River Basin Development Authority, the Tafawa Balewa Square Management Board, the Maiduguri University Hospital, the ‘Upper Niger River Basin Authority and the Vertical Council of Nigeria.

The ranking was produced by the Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW), supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

The Executive Director of CeFTIW, Mr. Umar Yakubu, said the Transparency and Integrity Index provides the benchmark to assess public sector institutions in Nigeria and, at the same time, empower Nigerians to demand accountability. responsibility at all levels.

How MDAs were evaluated

Checks by Daily Trust show that of the 511 MDAs assessed in the report, only the Development Bank of Nigeria scored above 50 points, which is an average score; the other 510 scored less than 50 points, which is below average.

Checks by Daily Trust also show that variables used to assess MDAs include website integrity, fiscal transparency (financial data), open public procurement, anti-corruption, citizen engagement and human resources and inclusion

Commenting on the report, Mr. Yakubu said: “511 MDAs were rated on six major variables, and the ranking aims to prevent corruption in the public service as it focuses on procurement, budget, human resources, inclusion and website integrity.

“We used this to check the level of transparency regarding public finances, especially in public procurement; how MDAs spend their money, raise taxes and recruit people. It also generally rates them on effectiveness.

“It is on this balance sheet that we came up with the ranking of the 511 establishments that you saw; where some have done well and some have not. We hope they will engage Nigerians more on their websites; it is a means of preventing corruption.

Yakubu regretted that most MDAs chose to present information on their civic engagement, but refused information on public procurement, which turned out to be the area where corruption was more focused.

He also objected to the non-availability of information on the federal character of MDAs to enable Nigerians to know the representation of the states in the various public offices.

he said: “These are the things that are missing, but citizen engagement and social media relations are very active, but our goal is for MDAs to provide procurement information and publish their audited reports.

“The center had already involved the EFCC, ICPC and Code of Conduct Office to compel defaulting MDAs to give information on purchases and things concerning their finances.

Main findings of the report

Providing more insight into the ranking, research team leader Mukhtar Abdulhameed said the key variables in the assessment were central to the report’s findings.

Regarding website integrity, he said, “The variable seeks to assess accessibility issues of MDA websites, as a standard website should be well structured, functional and accessible at all times.

“It should have well-organized landmarks, headers, styles, content, images, links, tables, forms, widgets, scripts, audio and video, and it should be easy to navigate.”

Regarding the assessment based on budget (financial) transparency, Abdulhameed noted that “Budget transparency is an essential aspect of entrenching transparency in the public sector as it involves the timely disclosure of budget and other documents which explain the financial situation of public institutions”.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) defines fiscal transparency as “the completeness, clarity, reliability, timeliness, and relevance of public reporting on the past, present, and future state of public finances.”

According to him, the requirement for budget transparency “implies having budget documents that are complete, accurate, reliable and available in the public domain.

Regarding open procurement, the research team leader stated that “the requirement of open procurement is that MDAs and other government institutions publish, among other information, tender announcements, the method of applying for contracts, the bidding process and other details of the contract awarded. contracts, the status of contracts and contractors.

For the fight against corruption, he said that the fight against corruption and bribery in all its ramifications should be part of the cardinal responsibility of all institutions.

He added, “The anti-corruption variable aims to assess the publication of policies and guidelines to combat corruption in MDAs and other government institutions. There are two (2) sub-variables which are as follows: Anti-Corruption Policy and Whistleblower Policy.

He also noted that citizen engagement constitutes another important aspect of good governance by providing an open environment for citizen participation in decision-making processes.

“Citizens’ contributions generally play an important role in entrenching transparency and accountability in public institutions. MDAs are expected to provide an open environment to engage citizens.”

In the area of ​​human resources and inclusion, he explained that “the human resources variable aims to assess the publication of various categories of information. Section 2(3)(c)(vi) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 requires public institutions to publish the names, salaries, titles and dates of employment of all employees and officers of the institution.

Scoring methodology

Providing more information, he said: “Each sub-variable was given a score of 0 to 1 and the variable was aggregated to have a percentage score of 100, after which it will be scaled to carry the weight assigned to each variable.

He added that only the top six institutions scored 45% and above, while 505 institutions scored below 45%.

He added: “The sector ranking is used to show the performance of each institution in its sector, coming out on top for the institutions with a low percentage does not mean that they have performed well, it is just to show how the institutions have performed in their sector. ”

He added that only 20 MDAs have published information regarding anti-corruption policy or whistleblower policy on their websites, with the other 491 having no such information on their websites, noting that “this is why they scored 0 in the anti-corruption variable”. .

How the 2022 ranking differs from the 2021 ranking

The Centre’s Executive Director, Mr. Yakubu, noted that there was an overall improvement in 2022 compared to 2021.

He said: “There is an improvement in overall performance. In 2021, the highest score was 34.92%, while in 2022, the highest score was 59.74%. In 2021, all establishments scored below 45, while in 2022, six establishments scored 45% and above.

“Additionally, all scores across all sectors improved in 2022.”

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