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Accountability: CSOs challenge education Agencies to publish contract information online

Some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have called on State Education Agencies to publish contracts information online in accordance with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS).

Making the call in a statement in Kaduna recently, the CSOs said the step would ensure transparency and accountability in the award of contracts and implementation.

The organizations are Follow Taxes, Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED), Dogara Community Development Foundation (DCDF), and Centre for Water and Environment Development (CWED).

They said that an analysis of the State’s OCDS portal showed that only the Ministry of Education, State Universal Basic Education Board, and State Library Board published projects on the portal.

They explained that the analysis was supported by the Public and Private Development Centre, under it’s Improving Transparency in Education Sector Service Delivery project.

The CSOs said that the three MDAs published a total of 271 projects worth over N21 billion, between 2017 and 2020.

“However, several of the published projects do not have the contract amount and those with contract amounts have discrepancies between the contracts and the amount of the contracts.

“Also, some of the projects do not have project locations, thereby making it difficult for citizens to effectively track and monitor implementation,” they said.

They identified education departments and Agencies with no contracts information on the OCDS portal as the Kaduna State Scholarship Loans Board, Kaduna State Quality Assurance Agency, and Kaduna State Teachers Service Board.

Others are; Kaduna State University, Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, and Kaduna State College of Education, Godan Waya.

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According to them, the inadequate data is discouraging citizens from monitoring public spending on capital projects in the State’s education sector.

“We are therefore calling on the affected Departments and Agencies to key into the commitment of the state government to ensure transparency and accountability in the award of contracts and implementation.

“This is because the Kaduna state government had made a commitment to publish contracts information on e-procurement websites in line with Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global accountability platform.

“The commitment was to comply with the OCDS by making full disclosure of relevant contracts information online for citizens to access to strengthen transparency and accountability,” they said.

The statement was signed by Mr. Mohammed Sani of Follow Taxes, Mr. Martins Dangwa of CALPED, Mrs. Lydia Saleh of CWED, and Mr. Simon Zagwa of DCDF.

When contacted, Mr. Mohammed Suleiman, Director, Compliance and Capacity Building, Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority (KADPPA), acknowledged the challenge and said that the government was doing something about it.

Suleiman told the Newsmen that some of the MDAs could not publish the contracts information due to capacity gaps on how to upload and manage contracts data online.

He said that the government had begun training procurement officers of MDAs, including the Local Government Council, on e-procurement.

He also explained that the training was in line with the OCDS to make procurement information and processes available and accessible to members of the public.

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