Monrovia – The head of Liberia Maritime Authority, Commissioner Eugene Lenn Nagbe has called on Liberians to take ownership and ensure the full implementation of the Open Government Partnership’s latest National Action Plan (NAP) for 2020 to 2022.
Liberia signed unto the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2011 with the commitment to adhere to all international standards relating to good, open and responsive governance.
Headed by a national secretariat, the OGP has five thematic areas: transparency, accountability and integrity, citizens’ participation and inclusion, policy reforms and harnessing e-governance. It focuses on delivering an open and inclusive government.
It works inclusively with the three branches of government including the Legislature, executive through line ministries and agencies and the Judiciary, as well as civil society organizations and international partners for the implementation of its action plans.
Launching the fourth NAP on Wednesday, Commissioner Nagbe said in order to successfully implement the plan, which is in line with the government’s national development agenda, Liberians should take the lead before seeking for external support, adding that something it has failed to do over the years.
“The OGP is not separate from the Government’s own National Development Plan. It is the prime responsibility of the Government to implement the National Action Plan,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Nagbe noted that before the development of the NAP, consultations were made nationwide with the citizens and stakeholders, and the next task now is to ensure that major stakeholders implement their responsibilities.
Giving the overview of the fourth National Action Plan, the OGP head of Secretariat, Ralph Jimmeh, Jr. said NAP has 12 commitments, ten from the Government of Liberia, one from CSOs and the other from the OGP Secretariat itself.
Mr. Jimmeh said the latest NAP 2020-2022 is the first full plan crafted by the current administration; adding the plan was drafted by the Liberian Government with support from the World Bank, Multi donor Trust Fund in collaboration with the OGP Secretariat and CSOs and feedbacks from experts on relevant issues.
For his part, British Ambassador to Liberia, Neil Bradley pledged his government’s continued support to the implementation of the National Action Plan. Ambassador Bradley said his government has always supported the OGP in several parts of the developing world.
For the Legislature, it has committed to increase citizen participation in the legislative process by making information accessible, monitoring and tracking laws and bills brought to vote, and also providing regular reports on the status of these laws and bills both through printed materials and online.
This, according to the plan, will increase public knowledge on bills introduced for passage. This commitment, as outlined in the plan, seeks to also address low public participation that led to the lack of public support for critical bills and little confidence from citizens in the legislative process.
In commitment two, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) agreed to open the budget process for citizens’ participation in order to increase understanding of government’s resource allocation and management.
This commitment, according to the OGP seeks to address issues of weak legislative oversight, auditing, and public participation in the budgetary process.
Other commitments include access to justice and Supporting Institutions of Integrity, among others.
For access to justice, the commitment will be fulfilled by the Judiciary and it aims to fill the existing capacity gap in the judicial system by creating jury management offices; and increase citizen engagement by training them to serve as jurors.
This, the OGP notes, is aimed at furthering public understanding of local laws and services available to them, adding this will increase accountability and help build citizens’ trust in the judicial system.
On supporting institutions of integrity, the commitment creates a legal framework in order to establish guidelines for public officials. The OGP says it seeks to increase training opportunities and creates a network of honest government officials to build the values of accountability and integrity within institutions and schools. In addition, it aims at strengthening institutional values and promote the culture of accountability as a hallmark for service delivery.