On Thursday, February 17, 2022, I was opportune to speak to nearly 100 persons both physically and online from the Open Gov Hub, Washington, DC. The conversation dissected what healthcare accountability looks like in the African context and how the project I am managing across nine countries in Africa- the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project- (CTAP) feeds into this broader agenda.
Discussing with the Director of the Open Gov Hub, Nada Zohdy, we touched on the broader issues affecting accountability in Africa; opaque procurement process, corruption, lack of transparency and accountability, Nepotism, frivolous items and duplicity of projects in proposed budgets.
The conversation also featured Andie Okon, Program Manager for Africa, Open Contracting Partnership(OCP) and Renzo Falla, Senior Research Officer, Open Government Partnership (OGP)
The conversation allowed me to narrow my answers to the following questions.
Question 1: What were some of the pre-existing challenges with PFM & fiscal governance accountability systems that have exacerbated these challenges, contributing to the types of issues we are seeing today with Covid accountability? Have you seen any positive developments? (Public Finance Management)
While we understand that PFM aims to manage limited financial resources to ensure efficiency in delivering outputs required to achieve desired outcomes, we need to know that the process that feeds the overall goal still stands challenged.
Using Nigeria as a case study, only 7% of the total 2021 budget was allocated to health which already sets us back by 8% as regards the Abuja declaration, which stated 15% of the budget must be assigned to the health sector. All these issues need a holistic overview to get sorted. However, to make things better, BudgIT has been involved in advocacy to ensure that the government institutionalises the culture and systems of transparency and accountability. Our advocacy work gave birth to Gov Spend, Tracka and the Open Treasury Platform. These platforms help keep the government accountable and allow citizens to ask questions.