Some states may not be able to access a $700 million grant from the World Bank if they fail to publish their 2019 budget online before the end of February next year.

The Director General of Niger State Open Government Partnership (OGP) Alhaji Sirajo Said disclosed this in a collaborative meeting with Niger state Open Alliance OGP Civil Society Organisation group in Minna.

According to Sirajo, the grant which would come under the states’ fiscal transparency accountability and sustainability programme was collected by the federal government on behalf of the states.

“For states to be eligible for this World Bank grant there are 17 DLIs to be met and achieved but most importantly, states will have to have published their audited financial statements for 2017 on or before December 2018 while the budgets must be published online before the end of February 2019.”

The DG said that the purpose of the grant was to encourage government to be more open, transparent and accountable to its citizens.

He declared that when government is closed to giving out information, it makes the citizens question the motive of government stressing that the Open Government Partnership is aimed at focusing on government transparency and citizen participation.

Sirajo said the Niger state government is working towards ensuring it gets the grant which is the reason for the early submission of the 2019 budget to the House of Assembly who are being urged to expedite action on it to enable the approved budget to be ready before the end of January 2019.

The Project Director of Center for Communication and Reproductive Health Services – Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale (CCRHS-PAS), Dr. Aliyu Shehu expressed its readiness to partner with OGP in Niger State on openness of the health budget and spending in Niger State.

He said that this would improve on government accountability and transparency in health sector as well as access to information.