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For Open Government Initiative: Non-State Actors Secretariat, OGP Build CSOs Capacities

By Alex Yomah
The Non-State Actor Secretariat (NSA) at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in collaboration with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) on yesterday commenced a two-day training for Civil Society Organizations in Sinkor.
The training which is expected to end on today, Thursday, January 14, is being organized under the theme: “Public Financial Management Reforms for Institutional Strengthening Projects and OGP National Consultative Meeting of CSOs.”
NSA was established in 2012 with the aim of strengthening the capacity of CSOs awareness on public financial management processes, openness and its essential principles.
OGP is a multilateral initiative with a co-creation platform for dialogues between government and CSOs to collaborate and promote transparency, accountability, integrity, increased citizens’ participation, good governance, inclusivity, anti-corruption, e-government and engender policy reforms using innovative ways.
The OGP which eliminates corruption and wastes in government is also geared towards improving the performances of government’s operations.
The Coordinator of the Non-State Actor Secretariat at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Carolyn Myers-Zoduah accentuated that the training among other things will increase the role of CSOs in monitoring and promoting public participation and as well create awareness on how public resources are disbursed.
Myers-Zoduah explained that the Non-State Actors gives funds to CSOs with an objective of monitoring the workings of the government which is one of the cruxes of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).
Myers-Zoduah said, “We want public participation for full democratic values and we are providing the technical assistance to the OGP. We are providing technical and financial supports. One of the challenges is that people are not aware of the OGP. We want to see government open and participatory.”
Madam Myers-Zoduah however is calling for the total involvement of the CSOs in the processes which will further enhance their full participation while at the same time expressed regrets that the CSOs in Liberia are not really playing their roles as expected in terms of monitoring the OGP.
The Head of the Secretariat of the Open Government Partnership, G. Ralph Jimmeh, admitted that there has been ‘adverse relationship’ between the CSOs and the government.
According to Mr. Jimmeh, OGP is bringing everybody together to work looking at the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and at the same time working with the government to achieve this agenda.
“Currently, we have eight or nine institutions that have made several commitments within two years. We will publish those commitments for everyone to have access; so we can be able to track those commitments as well,” he assured.
Mr. Jimmeh further said, “We want to make sure that everyone works through civil society for the voices of the people to be heard. The OGP is saying let the citizens be on the table; when information is lacking, you give people the opportunity to assume. There are some information that should be readily available and should not be asked for. The OGP wants public institutions to have an active websites. Not that everything in the public sector is bad, but gives citizens the reality which will allow them to know. OGP helps to build networks,” Jimmeh said.
“OGP communicates openly and honestly, promptly and efficiently. Like most of the noise about poor service delivery, we must take responsibility for results,” he indicated.

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