By Ogar Monday and Mary Bassey
Cross River State has been lauded for making lots of progress on financial reporting, but the state has been asked to improve on its application of the Single Treasury Account (TSA) as the lack of full implementation of the policy has left room for leakages.
The assertion was made by Mr. Tijah Bolton-Akpan, the Executive Director of Policy Alert at a 2-day capacity building workshop for non-state actors on Open Government Partnership (OGP) and Strategy Engagement.
Tijah noted that Cross Cross used to be a very important State in the process of Open Government across Nigeria, but regretted the state no longer occupies the enviable position, which according to him “is problematic.”
Mr. Tijah revealed that “only 7% of Cross River’s revenue passes through TSA and that has left a gap for revenue leakages.”
Earlier speaking, the Special Adviser on Budget to the Cross River State Government, Mr. Otu Otu Ita, revealed that the State signed up for the OGP in June 2019, and has been working to ensure transparency and accountability in the state’s financial reporting.
“I joined the government of Cross River State in 2021 and I am happy to announce to all of us that the Cross River State Government has signed up to the OGP. Open Government Partnership is about the government being participatory. It’s about inclusion. It’s about transparency and accountability.
“For some of you that have been following our activities, and looking at our budgets, precisely we have ensured that our budget estimates are published online year-on-year. Even the implementation and performance of the budget are also published on a quarterly basis. For us, in Cross River State we are doing the little we can with the support of the civil society organizations, especially the Budget Transparency and Accountability Network (BTAN), which has been providing a lot of support.” He said.
Ita added that the state is open to collaborations with players in the civil society space to ensure that the gains it has recorded in terms of transparency and openness are sustained.
On his part, Mr. Mooreini Diftuffe enjoined members of the civil society in the state to continue their advocacy towards the state getting a State Action Plan (SAP) and work towards full implementation of the OGP. so the state can enjoy what its peers have been benefiting.
The workshop held between Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 November 2022 in Calabar the Cross River State capital, which drew participants from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), governmental institutions, and the media, has its theme, “Deepening Open Government Reforms at the Subnational Level: What Non-state Actors Should Know.”
The training was organized by Policy Alert with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through Palladium.