The Open Government Partnership (OGP) Secretariat in the Office of the President on Friday 19th August, 2016 presented certificates to Civil Society Organizations, the media and other partners at State House in Freetown, as part of government’s acknowledgement of the outstanding role being played by the OGP Steering Committee comprised of government, CSOs and the fourth estate.
Vice President Ambassador Dr Victor Bockarie Foh thanked President Ernest Bai Koroma for the establishment of the Open Government Initiative (OGI), and observed that the OGI platform has demonstrated government’s maximum level of commitment towards strengthening transparency and accountability. He said there is nothing to hide from the public hence encouraged the OGP directorate to capture in its annual work plan more than the obvious.
Director OGP/OGI Khadija Sesay said the OGI/OPG process has closed communication gaps between government and the people through transparency, accountability and firm partnership with CSOs as well as the participations of the Steering Committee. She recalled that eight years ago President Koroma created the space to share government’s activities in areas of socio-economic development, by bringing the people closer to government, and the government closer to the people through facilitated discussions and dynamic participatory secessions.
Madam Sesay disclosed that with support of the Steering Committee Sierra Leone has been able to master the OGP practices and exchange ideas with other countries, noting that the OGP process is being driven by the Steering Committee. She said the process has entered a stage where OGP now incorporate governance’s core practices to meet international best practices. Presidential Spokesman Abdulai Bayratay in an overview of OGP said President Koroma subjected himself to public scrutiny of civil society and the media close to the 2012 elections through peer reviews, to ensure public accountability and transparency in governance as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.
United States Embassy Economic and Commercial Officer, Scott Risner congratulated government for the first National Action Plan and for the country’s consistency in pushing transparency and accountability in the OGP process.
Special Adviser to the President and Coordinator Sierra Leone International Benchmarks (SLIBS), Dr Joseph Sam Sesay emphasized transparency and accountability in the management of donor funds allocated to local and international Non-Governmental Organization.
Dr Sesay said donor funds are being received by NGOs for and on behalf of the country thus the people deserve rights to know how such funds are being spent on national development programmes as transparency and accountability are major commitments of the National Action Plan. Budget Advocacy Network Coordinator Abu Bakarr Kamara said the OGP process will continue to make progress.
Marcella Samba Sesay of Campaign for Good Governance in a vote of thanks highly acclaimed President Koroma for signing the OGP letter of intent in 2013, saying that the OGP is here to stay. She commended Ministries Department and Agencies for their cooperation with the secretariat.
The certification ceremony was climaxed with the presentation of trophies to awardees by the Hon. Vice President Ambassador Dr Victory Bockarie Foh.
OGI/OGP Media and Communications Unit
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