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Business News of Wednesday, 29 September 2021


NIPC, BPSR, NEPC, 2 others top 2021 FOI ranking

Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has emerged first position out of 213 Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) ranking on access to Freedom of Information (FIO).

The report which was published by the Public and Private Development Center (PPDC), on Tuesday in Abuja, said International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR); Right 2 Know (R2K) and other development partners, indicated that NIPC emerged winner with 68.5 points.

The Bureau Of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) came 2nd with 60.5 points; National Orientation Agency came 3rd with 51 points, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) came 4th with 48.5 points while Accident Investigation Bureau came 5th with 47.75 points out of the 213 MDAs that were accessed.

Speaking during the unavailing of the report, a Senior Legal Officer who was part of the drafting of the FOI Act, Maxwell Kadiri said a law was as good as having the political will to implement it.

Kadiri said the gabs in the FOI was lack of having a specific guide to push for its compliance.

Kadiri said the ministry of Justice had been issuing guardlines on how the MDAS can adhere to the FOI request, adding that in almost 10 years, institutions are not complying with the Attorney General’s office guardlines on information disclosure.

“Article 9 of the African Charter makes it mandatory for access to information.

“You can have a commission to push for the implementation of the law, but if there is no political will, nothing can happen,” he said.

Also speaking, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of PPDC, Mrs Gift Maxwell, said to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act, in 2013 her organisation launched the first Freedom of Information Act Compliance and Transparency Rankings and in 2019.

Maxwell informed that a Freedom of Information Ranking cohort was formed, which was currently made up of Basic Rights Watch (BRW), Budgit, The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Right to Know (R2K) and the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC).

“The ranking assesses the level of compliance of public institutions to the provisions of the FOIA. The MDAs are ranked based on the proactive disclosure of information, the responsiveness to requests, and the level of disclosure.

“This year, a total of 213 public and security sector institutions were ranked.

“These rankings are not in any way meant to tarnish the reputation of any institution, rather it is aimed at encouraging all public institutions to comply with provisions of the Freedom of Information Act by improving their disclosure practices to improve citizen participation,” she added.

Mr Sabo Isiaku, Asst. Director, NIPC, who received the biggest price on behalf of his organisation said if the chief executive of an establishment was committed to ensuring the information was disclosed, the staff of the organisation would have no option than to release it.

He informed that in 2019 and 2020 NIPC took second in the ranking, adding that they were happy to get the biggest price in 2021.

“Public service rule is not a law but the FOI is a law. Civil servants are to adhere to it,” Sabo said. (NAN)