by crossriverwatch admin
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Benin City, in collaboration with Green Concern for Development (GRRENCODE), Calabar, convened a 2-day capacity enhancement workshop for CSOs in Cross River State, from the 23rd to 24th September, 2013.
The workshop which was attended by over 20 civil society organizations in the State was declared open by the Special Adviser to the Governor of Cross River State on Civil Society and Non-governmental organizations, Mrs. Margaret Ebokpo on behalf of Cross River State Government and Mr. Adie Akabisung, Secretary House Committee on Finance and Appropriation/Due Process, gave a goodwill message on behalf of Cross River State House of Assembly.
The workshop with the theme “The Role of CSOs in the Enforcement of Cross River State Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws,” was held in pursuance of the “Strengthening Oil Revenue Management in Niger Delta Project Phase II” which ANEEJ is implementing with support from EED Germany and Royal Norwegian Embassy.
According to the communiqué signed by Effiom Duke of Green Concern for Development (GREENCODE), Ben Usang of African Dignity Foundation, Barrister James Ibor of Basic Rights Counsel, Kingsley Eworo of Budget Transparency and Accountability Initiative, Nigeria (BTAN) and Innocent Edemhanria of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), the organizers, the primary objectives of the workshop include:
a. To enlighten and enhance the capacity of participants on the importance of transparency in Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility regime as an anti-corruption strategy through the application of the extant laws;
b. To provide a platform that will create awareness on the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws of the state as good governance tools for combating large-scale corruption in the public sector;
c. To complement the state Government’s efforts in her Economic Transformation Agenda via sound procurement practice.
After careful deliberations on the two laws by the participants, the following observations were made:
• Participants noted that the statutory agencies/boards provided for by the law such as the Boards on Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Commission are yet to be constituted. The implication of this is that the implementation/enforcement of these laws is not taken seriously by the government.
• Participants noted that there is no legally established independent agency entrusted with the responsibility for the disposal of public property in the State as is the case at the Federal Level and some other states.
• Participants decried the low level of awareness amongst some civil society organizations, public servants and the general public on the provisions of the Cross River State Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws.
• Participants observed the lack of smooth rapport and synergy between the Cross River State Government and CSOs considering that both institutions play crucial roles in representing the people and promoting democratic governance
And in the light of the observations, participants therefore resolved as follows:
• Call on the Cross River State Government to comply with the provisions of the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws by immediately constituting the Board on Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Commission to pave way for the smooth implementation of both laws.
• Call on the Cross River State Government to establish an independent board for the disposal of public properties in the state.
• The Cross River State Government should consider a review of Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws of the State in the near future to address identified gaps by engaging the services of professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management (CIPSM) to serve as a technical resource in support of the amendment.
• Urge Civil Society Organizations in the State to step up their level of collaboration with stakeholders especially the media to canvass for effective implementation of the public procurement and fiscal responsibility laws in the state.
• The civil society organizations working on good governance areas to help drive the process by partnering with the Cross River State Government in helping the state in the effective implementation of the laws.
• Call on donor agencies and relevant CSOs to engage in public enlightenment on the provisions of the Cross River State Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws.
Participants also commended Cross River State Government for enacting the Public Procurement and Fiscal Responsibility Laws amongst others and urge the State’s Legislative and Executive arms of the government to do more in ensuring that good governance is delivered to the people.
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