The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a one day CSO-Media Orientation Workshop on National Reform Policies and Legislative Agenda with support from Federal Public Administration Reform (FEPAR). Jaiye Gaskiya and the Ag. Director General of the National Assembly Budget Research & Research Office, Enok B. Jarumi co-chaired the meeting. The one day dialogue session drew participants from Ghana High Commission, National Council for Women Society (NCWS), NABRO, Civil Society Organizations and the media. There were 35 participants in attendant. After exhaustive deliberations on the issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:
1. There is a huge gap between the legislative agenda and the reform policies of the government.
2. The Legislative Institution itself is weak thereby making the functioning of its oversight function very ineffective.
3. The seventh (7th) Legislature has not met the covenant signed upon assumption of office to meet the expectation of the people.
4. The growth in the Nation’s economy has been consistently above 6% over the last decade, this is one of the highest on the continent [continental average of 5%] and across the globe [global average of 3%]; yet this has not impacted positively on the life of the citizenry. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, with the top 10% richest Nigerians owning 40% of national wealth, and the bottom 20% owning a mere 4.1% of national wealth.
5. Political Transitions and reforms in developed countries had been serious and significant catalyst for economic growth and transformation of the social, economic and cultural well-being of the people.
6. There is a challenge with financing the 2013 budget as it is currently suffering a setback owing to challenges declining revenue due to issues of force majeure in the oil sector, and incidences of oil theft leading to loss of over 300,000 barrel per day of crude.
7. There is social and economic exclusion of the people from the legislative process and this has created serious trust gap between the electorate and the elected which has enabled a situation resulting in unsustainably high poverty, unemployment and insecurity levels in the country.
8. The civil service has been converted into a barrier to development and reform process in Nigeria owing to endemic corruption, bureaucracy and sit tight syndrome in the civil service.
1. The CSOs must refocus , network and strategize to strengthen legislative reforms by bridging the gap between the citizens and the Legislative and Executive arms of government through effective advocacy/lobbying and participation in the policy making process.
2. There should be better engagement of the legislature by all stakeholders to understand the need for increased and more effective oversight on the executive using budget performance mechanism as an instrument to monitor and evaluate the reform process.
3. There is need for effective grass root participation in the policy making process as a key driver to developing a more people oriented and robust legislative agenda that is will be implemented, and is measurable, achievable and time bound.
4. The CSOs, media and diplomatic community must review the midterm report of the Federal Government as presented for evidence based action using the reality on ground in conjunction with the Key Performance Indicators in the service contracts for the MDAs as measurement criteria.
5. The electorate should be educated to understand the powers of their votes and that these votes could be used to bring the desired change in the polity and political processes, thus ensuring genuine pro-people socio-economic reform.
6. Government should pat more serious attention to the diversification of the economy, weaning it away from a dependence on oil, and vigorously invest in the manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation and solid minerals sectors, while ensuring a more equitable distribution of wealth to tackle poverty issues which is the root cause of insecurity.
7. Fiscal consolidation and inclusive growth should reflect holistically in the development of reform programs while CSOs also need to develop reform agenda platforms with which to engage the Government; while also agreeing consensus indicator frameworks for purposes of monitoring.
8. CSOs must strengthen advocacy to the Civil Service Commission, SERVICOM, and Office of the Head of Service and anti-graft agencies to develop capacity for a system that prevents impunity rather than wait for impunity to occur and then look for culprits.
The workshop was entirely interactive. Participants expressed their appreciation to CISLAC for organizing and applauded the support from FEPART in organizing this important CSO-Media Orientation Workshop on National Reform Policies. . – transfer this to the report
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre
United Action for Democracy (UAD)
Gender and Economic Advancement Initiative (GEANI)