When it comes to enhancing participatory governance and budget access through technology, our work within Nigeria’s civic-tech ecosystem is to ensure that public data is demystified and accessible by an average Nigerian. This is what we hope to achieve with the govspend platform and other platforms that will come after it.
Recall that in December 2019, the Federal Government launched the Open Treasury Portal to increase transparency and accountability in government spending. The portal provides a space for collating data by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on budget implementation financial records and transactions above the threshold of N5 million by MDAs and N10 million by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. While the platform is innovative and commendable, much work is still needed to ensure that the portal achieves its purpose of improving fiscal transparency in Nigeria, especially in navigation and usability for the public.
On Monday August 30, 2021, we launched govspend.ng, a visual platform that provides citizens, CSOs, the media and stakeholders access to simplified data from the FG’s Open Treasury Portal.
The Federal Government has done a great job in ensuring that the government’s daily spendings are in the public domain. However, data on the portal are mostly in non-machine readable formats and not downloadable. We developed the govspend.ng portal to rectify this issue
While the Open Treasury portal provides public access to collated data on government spending at the federal level and for MDAs, govspend.ng simplifies and visualises treasury reports uploaded on the portal for citizens and civil society organisations to access, monitor and understand Federal Government’s real-time expenditure.
The portal also highlights anomalies that BudgIT discovered on the open treasury website, including payments made to multiple beneficiaries, payments without descriptions, payments made to personal accounts and payments with incomplete information.
This platform is useful for everyone. Citizens can access information on companies that have been awarded public contracts and amounts paid by MDAs to such companies. At the same time, CSOs can build conversations around government spending based on simplified data uploaded on the website. We also hope the media would leverage information on govspend.ng for advocacy and investigative journalism.
We, therefore, urge you as an active citizen to leverage this portal for demanding transparency and accountability from the government on the usage of public funds. We also hope that fault lines on the open treasury portal will be standardised by the government.
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