Economic Justice

Enhancing Transparency in Procurement Processes and Project Implementation Through the FOI

In a concerted effort to enhance transparency and accountability in public procurement and project implementation through the use of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) organized a one-day workshop. The workshop convened community leaders, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) as part of the Niger-Delta-based Social Justice, Accountability, Good Governance, and Anti-corruption initiative, urging citizens and stakeholders to embrace their civic responsibilities.

This enlightening one-day workshop took place on Monday, September 17, 2023, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, under the theme: “Utilizing the Freedom of Information (FOI) to Enhance Transparency in Procurement Processes and Project Implementation.” with support from Macarthur Foundation.

A cross section of participants at the workshop in Uyo

Addressing the diverse assembly of participants from various communities, Botti Isaac, Social Action’s Program Coordinator, expressed gratitude for their attendance. He emphasized Social Action’s ongoing commitment to partnering with community leaders, community-based organizations, and Civil Society Organizations to promote transparency and integrity within the public sector.

Providing insight into the project, Isaac Botti stressed the importance of comprehending the intricacies of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. He underlined its potential to bolster grassroots advocacy across the Niger-Delta region and empower individuals with the knowledge needed to employ FOI mechanisms for fostering transparency in public procurement processes and project implementation.

Isaac Botti remarked, “You have been thoughtfully selected to utilize FOI to engage with duty bearers, employ the knowledge acquired to champion accountability, transparency, and good governance. Our aim is to drive a forward-looking force and explore avenues for reinforcing community actions that ensure effective functioning of Governments, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and other regional agencies.”

Ann Udonte, the workshop moderator, encouraged participants to share their expectations and prior experiences, as well as challenges within their communities. Participants lamented the lack of essential amenities such as good roads, healthcare facilities, water supply, and reliable power in their communities. They expressed hope that FOI training would equip them to effectively engage with the NDDC and other government agencies to address service delivery issues in the Niger-Delta region.

Key takeaways from the workshop included a comprehensive understanding of the Public Procurement Act and FOI Act, along with insights into how the provisions of these legal frameworks facilitate access to documents, records, and information. This newfound knowledge equips participants to engage with governments, advocate for their communities, and enhance service delivery.

Participants expressed profound gratitude to the organizers, highlighting that they had acquired practical skills in drafting FOI requests to government agencies. They pledged not only to apply the knowledge they gained but also to disseminate it among other members of their communities, furthering the cause of accountability, transparency, and good governance in the Niger-Delta region.