From Emeka Anuforo, Abuja
AS part of efforts to entrench effective tracking and monitoring of public procurement in the country, the Federal Government is presently using the services of the World Bank to mainstream civil society organisations.
Special Adviser to the President on Relation with Civil Society, Chineme Ume-Ezeoke, who spoke in Abuja, denied that government was not carrying the civil society along in its programmes.
He spoke at a workshop on "Improving the state of civil Society in Nigeria."
The workshop was jointly put together by ActionAid Nigeria in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The presidential aide said, "In the area of procurement and good governance, we are working with the World Bank to mainstream civil society organisations in the public procurement process in Nigeria."
He added: "We intend to build the capacity of select civil society organisations to track and monitor public procurement so as to ensure value for money for public projects. At an advanced stage, we intend to organise CBOs and CDAs in pilot states not only to monitor projects that pass through their area but also to generate reports and milestones achieved for these projects with the ultimate aim of getting them to own these projects."
Reeling out a number of strategies being adopted by government to make the civil society more relevant in the Nigerian system, he added: "Given the current economic financial meltdown as well as the challenges of stabilising our country economically, it has become imperative for CSOs to collaborate with and complement the efforts of government in ensuring even and comprehensive growth and development in our country."
Also speaking, the new Country Director of ActionAid, Mr. Hussaini Abdu, stressed the need for CSOs to consolidate on the gains of democracy in the country, insisting that civil society groups need to internalise democracy themselves.
His words, "Democracy is not just about civil administration. It is more about empowering institutional structures, respect for human rights leadership credibility, free and fair election, equity and justice, accountability and other basic value and principle of democracy.