April 23, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Members of the Steering Committee of the Open Government Initiative (OGP) yesterday started a week-long nationwide consultation on the status of the implementation of the National Action Plan which was launched by President Ernest Bai Koroma few months ago.
The OGP process was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens. Since then, OGP has grown from eight to 65 participating countries.
Government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms. Sierra Leone joined the partnership in 2013. Since then, 17 ministries, departments and agencies and civil society organizations have formed the OGP Steering Committee which has developed a NAP (national action plan) with the aim of implementing 11 commitments. The plan addresses three grand challenges as agreed upon in the National Steering Committee: improving public integrity, effective management of public resources, and improving corporate accountability.
Addressing residents of Waterloo in the Western Rural district yesterday, Programme Manager of Campaign for Good Governance and member of the OGP Steering Committee, Marcella Samba-Sesay, said the committee came up with robust action plans for the government to be transparent and accountable to its citizens. She said the committee was set up to ensure that the 11 commitments of the OGP were achieved to improve public integrity, corporate accountability and effective management of public resources.
Mrs. Samba-Sesay further stated that as part of the process, a nationwide consultation was held to sensitize and seek inputs from the public.
“In this consultation we are engaging community people and stakeholders on the status of the implementation of the NAP,” she said.
Chairman of the committee, Retired Dean Canon Adjai Nicol, said during the consultation data would be collected and inputted into a report which would highlight the implementation of the plan. He added that various teams would move from district to district to engage community people and stakeholders on what could be done to achieve commitments in the Action Plan.
Director of the Open Government Initiative, Ms. Khadija Sesay, reiterated that OGI was organizing the sensitization in a bid to put together a National Action Plan, adding that sensitizations and consultations were held in all the 14 districts across the country, with people given the opportunity to choose their own priorities with regards the grand challenges.
“Similar consultations were also held with Sierra Leoneans living in the Diaspora, including those in neighbouring Guinea,” said Ms. Sesay. She spoke of the passage of the Right to Access to Information Act and the Open Portal, Local Content Policy, and the EITI bill, which is being discussed at Cabinet level.