The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu has sought for cooperation and support of stakeholders for development of Open Data Policy (ODP) of the Federal Government.
He stated this during day-2 of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) week titled “Improving Service Delivery through the use of Technology” in Abuja.
The Minister said, the policy, when approved by the FEC, would align the country to the Data Revolution that is happening across the world and further urged stakeholders to key into the process of policy formulation on Open Data.
He said an Open Data Action Plan (2016-2019) has been developed by the Ministry and was aimed at stipulating the principles of the Nigerian Open Data Initiative.
In his words “The Action Plan focuses on 4 Key Result Areas of Access to Public Sector Information, Data Driven Governance, Public Engagement and Practical Innovation & Job Creation. The first two Key Result Areas constitute the supply side while the latter two pertain to the demand side”.
Barrister Shittu recalled that, in 2015, the Ministry of Communications launched an Open Data Portal (ODP) aimed at allowing MDAs to upload their non-sensitive datasets into a machine-readable format to be accessed by the citizens in accordance with the FOI Act but due to non-compliance by MDAs, the FMOC has begun the process of developing an Open Data Policy which when approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would ensure effective compliance.
The Minister pointed out that Federal Government of Nigeria adopted the principles of the “Open Data Charter” so as to encourage the building of stronger, more interconnected societies that better meet the needs of our citizens and allow innovation and prosperity to flourish.
He added that an Open Data Working Group (ODWG) consisting of members from MDAs, CSOs, Academia and the Private Sector has been established and the mandate was the provision of oversight and coordination of the Nigerian Open Data Initiative.
The Minister commended the effort of OGP Secretariat for successfully hosting this maiden edition of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Week in Nigeria adding that it would create awareness on OGP and also to showcase the progress made in the implementation of the National Action Plan in the past 1-year.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Pyrich Group Limited, Hon. Ejike Njeze pointed out that OGP process was not just a merely talk shows they had in the past in this country in the name of policy reforms adding that with attendance of Mr. President represented by Vice President Yemi Osibajo shown the extent of commitment of this administration toward Open government.
He said the present government has ensured that government process is transparent, inclusive and citizens engaged in the process which was quite different from what obtained in the past when people talked about transparency the actors turned their back because they do not want the book to be open for scrutiny.
In his words, “since 2016 we have moved forward to developed National action plan and work plan with a clear budget. The budget for implementation of OGP was captured in 2018. We have started the implementation of technology framework that has been developed and there is a lot of commitment from government to see that the implementation of OGP is successful.