NERC Ranks Top In Transparency As 58 Agencies Score Zero

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By Felix Kassim

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has come top in the ranking of Federal Government’s agencies compliance to the tenets of Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act and the culture of transparency.

NERC came top with a total score of 67.5 points and was followed by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) who were tied on 57.50 points.

The ranking was carried out by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) in collaboration with other reputable non-governmental organisations in the country that include BudgIT, Basic Rights Watch (BRW), Media Rights Agenda, Connected Development (CODE) and the Right to Know (R2K).

Unveiling the National Freedom Of Information Ranking in Abuja on Thursday, Mr Hamzat Lawal of CODE, said parameters used in the assessment of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) cut across proactive disclosure of information, level of disclosure and timeliness.

Hamzat, who also listed FOI training for staff, establishment of FOI Desk office and FOI annual reporting as other criteria used in the exercise, challenged government institutions to always make available information on procurement and service delivery to the people in order to ensure transparency in all government activities.

The 2019 compliance ranking shows the Federal Ministry of Information, State House, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, among others in the bottom position with zero point.

Some other notable agencies with zero points include National Television Authority (NTA), National Examination Council (NECO), National Christian Pilgrim Commission, Nigeria Copyright Commission and the National Broadcasting Commission.

The list also includes National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Special Duties Officer (SGF), Ministry of Niger Delta, Ministry of Environment, among others.

L-R: Founder Techher Nigeria, Chioma Agwuegbo; Dep. Director, Corporate Service, NIPC, Sabo Isiaku; Editor, International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Ajibola Hamzat and others at a panel discussion during the FOI ranking event in Abuja on Thursday.

On the security sector ranking, the Federal Fire Service came top with 22.5 points, followed by Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps with 15 points while Ministry of Defence, Nigeria Immigration Service, Ministry of Interior, among others ranked lowest in the rung with zero point.

Highpoint of the event, which also witnessed panel session themed ‘Data, Institutions and Good Governance’, was the presentations of award to the three agencies that came top in the ranking.

Another highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of Open State Government Ranking by Bridget O’Loughlin of Partners Global. Kaduna and Ekiti states were presented award in the category for their strides in providing access to information to the public.

The LABOUR reports that before now, the ranking of MDAs had been independently hosted by PPDC every 28th September since 2013 to commemorate the International Right to Know Day aimed at entrenching accountability and transparency in government’s dealings. Over 200 MDAs were ranked in this year’s exercise.

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