DECENTRALIZED GOVERNANCE: THE NIGERIA EXPERIENCE

21/04/2016

According to Falleti (2005) decentralization is a process of state reform composed by a set of public policies that transfer responsibilities, resources, or authorities from higher to lower levels government in the context of a specific state. Thus in the context of multi-ethnic state like Nigeria, decentralization seek to ensure balance of power as well as national integration.  Nyendu (2002) defined decentralization as the transfer of power and authority from central government to sub- national units, either by political, administrative, economic and fiscal means. Decentralization Governance refers to the restructuring of authority as to have system of co-responsibility between different institutions of governance at the central, state and local levels. (UNDP, 1998:p6)

TYPES OF DECENTRALIZATION

DECONCENTRATION: It is a shift responsibility from central government official to those working in regions or local districts.

DELEGATION: Delegation is a more extensive form of decentralization. Through delegation central government transfer responsibility for decision- making and administration of public function to semi- autonomous organizations.

DEVOLUTION: This involves the transfer of discretionary authority to legally constituted local governments or provinces.

ECONOMIC DECENTRALIZATION AND SEIF-GOVERNANCE: This involves the shifting of responsibilities for economic production and activities from the public to private institution.

ADVANTAGES OF DECENTRALIZATION

  1. Decentralization Governance facilitates greater participation in governance to the people, by brings government closer to the people.
  2. Decentralization Governance helps in taking away too much of centralization of power by the central government conferring power to unit of government.
  • Decentralization Governance gives much attention in term of participatory style of local governance.
  • Decentralization Governance focuses on solutions for local problems to local conditions.

DISADVANTAGES OF DECENTRALIZATION

  1. Problem of Coordination: Decentralization Governance of authority creates problems of coordination as authority lies dispersed widely throughout the organization.
  2. Uniform Policies Not Followed: Under the decentralization governance, it is not possible to follow uniform policies and standardized procedures.
  3. Required Qualified Personnel: Decentralization Governance becomes useless when there no qualified and competent personnel.
  4. Inter-Regional Inequalities: Inter-regional inequalities may increase, and thus widen intra-national poverty gaps.

DECENTRALIZATION POLICY IN NIGERIA

In Nigeria, traces of decentralization dates back to a long-time before independence. At independence in 1960, Nigeria had only a central government and three regional governments, namely, the Northern, Eastern, and Western regions. The need to bring governance closer to the people led to the creation of a fourth region— the Mid-West, in 1963. However, to achieve further decentralization and enhance the federal structure of the country, Nigeria changed from a two-tiered federal arrangement comprising three unequal regions to a three tiered federal system of a central, State and Local governments. Since then, the number of states and local governments has increased.

Table 1. Re-structuring of Nigerian Federal system since 1946 to date

Year Federal government Regional/State governments                  Local governments          
1946 1 4* n/a
1960 1 4* n/a
1961 1 3** n/a
1963 1 4 n/a
1967 1 12 229
1970 1 12 229
1976 1 19 229
1979 1 19 301
1981 1 19 703
1984 1 19 301***
1987 1 21 449
1991 1 30 500
1991 1 30 589
1996 1 36 774****

Source: Central Bank of Nigeria, (2000: 158);

The Nigerian 1999 constitution heaped far reaching responsibilities on the local government, though with the seeming undertone that it is an economic development partner of the state government. Thus, Section 7(3) and (2) provide that: (3) It shall be the duty of a local government council within the State to participate in economic planning and development of the area referred to in subsection (2) of this section and to this end an economic planning board shall be established by a Law enacted by the House of Assembly of the State. Section 7(5) of the 1999 constitution describes the functions to be conferred by Law upon local government council which shall include those set out in the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution.

The situation in Nigeria is that local governments often do not have the resources to carry out most of their functions as the federal and state governments provide only limited funding. The state and LGA joint account is administered by the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC), which determines what goes to each local government. Typically, states have joint projects with the LGAs and deduct funds for such projects through JAAC. The balance of their allocations from the federation account, which is usually only enough to pay salaries and manage administration costs is then transferred to the LGAs. Consequently, the LGAs have a challenge financing their constitutional duties and social services. – Oludare Adedeji Ogunbanwo, Austria.

REFERENCES:

  1. Falleti, T:G (2005); A sequential theory of decentralization: Latin American cases in comparative perspective, American political science review 99(3), 327-346.
  2. Nyendu M. (2002), Democratic decentralization in Ghana: The need for a policy review, journal of Asian and African studies 47 (2), 221-235.
  3. UNDP, Decentralized Governance monograph: A global sampling of experience, management development and governance division, bureau of policy development, April, 1998, p.6.
  4. Source: Central Bank of Nigeria, (2000: 158)

what are the social media channels used by the government and why are they important?

21/04/2016

According to this globalized world everything is changing and becoming easier than before for instance social media is a rapid moving technology which helps governments and other organisations to manage their activities in an ease way day by day.

Similarly, my Somali government uses a lot of social media for its public service such as; Facebook, Twitter, websites and all channels used through internet connection. For example each government official from president up to subordinate staff uses a Facebook account and they publish event and advancements for their offices.  A lot of people are flowing to them by commenting and expressing their attitude about what has done so far.

Somali government officials use social media to measure their dignity in front of public they represent. This helps them to identify their political future and the vote they may expect in the coming elections.

There are a lot of newspapers and web based applications used by Somali government to publish daily news and events also market shares and currency exchange. These sources help for public to know daily circulations and activities of the country.

Moreover, during charity collection; government publish bank accounts through social media for money accumulation to address a standing need such as; drought, famine or any other hazard facing to the society.

There are a lot of importance and advantages for social media in governments, for instance Somali government uses social media to ask people their views about a particular topic. After people expressed their attitude on the offered topic, government analyses the peoples’ ideas into meaningful way which lead to the government to take vital decision about that particular topic.

Somali government uses social media as channels for public education and passes massages and other important information to the public with less or no cost. Using a social media keeps not to use much time for delivering information to the public it is useful for public to deliver massages to the public in an easy and wide manner. Also, it is good for citizens to go with government activities without losing time and energy.

In opposite of that, Somali government uses social media to prevent crimes and planed attacks. It uses as a tool during the time of crime investigation by referring the social media used by suspected individuals.

There are numerous advantages in social media in governments such as; facilitating way of administration, public education, citizen engagement in political participation, crime prevention and investigation, political campaigns in election periods and so on.

In conclusion, social media helps Somali government to deliver its service to public in an easy way with less cost and time. The government uses the social media in a different ways and purposes such as; public education, citizen political participation, crime prevention and investigation. Social media has great importance to both government and public. It is the bridge between government and public for transferring massages and sharing ideas. – Mohamed Hirey, Somalia.

 


Which for of corruption (bribery, trading in influence, extortion, favoritism, misuse of public property) is the hardest to combat? And which form of corruption presents the biggest challenge for State reform?

11/04/2016

Corruption is a term which needs to be avoided for developing a nation.  But this is a regular schedule nowadays in our State in each and everywhere.  From the starting of grass-root level to the top level of administration, corruption is being a flow of direction without which any kind of work cannot be directed or implemented by the authorities concerned.  At present, different Medias are collecting the news and highlighting various types of corruptions and the involvement of different personnel or group of personnel regarding their commitment and reality of implementation with deceptive conspiracy.  Different people of different classes are doing corruption to achieve their personal gains which need not be taken for our social needs.  Political leaders as well as ministers are highly corrupted in their assigned tasks of the society.  Every time they are working dishonestly and taking the facilities of corruption as much as they can avail.  They are committing social crimes as well for their gainful work like rape, murder, dacoity etc. which are usually known as heinous crimes of our human society.

There are different types of crimes like bribery, trading in influence, extortion, favoritism, misuse of public property etc.  Extortion is very hard to combat among the type of crimes in our social definition.  Each and every time common people are the victims of crimes by different provocation initiated by State Cadre Leaders / Ministers.  Indian leaders are working as a social worker or social activist in front of public domain but most of the times a few leaders as well as ministers are working for their personal good by taking the financial support from the large number of common masses behind the public domain.  This situation is increasing day by day and the administrators are also unable to cope up with the situation of rule of law as the local leaders or national leaders or ministers even are taking part in influencing the work of the administration illegally.  These are completely illegal, immoral and opposed to public policy.

The solution can also be there to control for these types of undesirable situation in our State.  Different Types of Statutory and Autonomous Bodies needs to be established so that leaders or ministers can not influence on the work of the administrators.  In addition to this, the power of anti-corruption department should be increased and the digital media should be accessible so that people may avail the help from anyone easily.  Transparency report of all departments should also be directed by a separate team or authority (statutory or autonomous) or agency so that people may know the true facts and figures as far as their requirement concerned.  Most of the transactions should be done through digital communication so that the record of everything can be stored for future contingencies and availability.  Nobody should interfere in the activity of another unless and until the power is assigned with proper justification.  If we can take these types of initiatives, it will be easy to eradicate these types of corruptions from our State as well as Country or from our human society. – Tapas Kumar Debnath, India.


legislation on personal data protection in Armenia

21/03/2016

Armenia is now on its way to digitization. During the last five years there is a substantial progress in this sphere in private, public and government sectors. More and more commercial and public services are provided online. According to United Nation Public Administration Network’s E-Government Surveys, E–Government Development Index (EGDI) of Armenia manifests a sound rise during 2005-2014 and currently it is included in the list of countries with high EGDI.

Such development implies a massive data collection and storage in a digital way. Undoubtedly it has a quite positive effect by facilitating the citizens and customers, money and time saving, transparency which in its turn gives life to productivity.

However, on the other side digitally stored personal data increases concern on personal data security. Who and how can access the personal data stored in the servers (databases).

Within the Armenian private sector, especially banks, such electronic systems have already been used for many years and have proved their effectiveness and security as besides legislative regulations they are vitally interested in their clients’ satisfaction and personal information leak may cause a significant customer turnover.  A constant monitoring reduces the risks of corruption and abuse.

Other situation is in the governmental sector which makes its first steps to the way of digital data protection and sharing. Moreover effective e-government requires that different governmental and public entities practice information systems interoperability which implies access to the data by more members and enhances security risk.

However, in order to solve this issue, during the last years Armenia has made several steps, including adoption of legislative acts aimed to regulate access to and protect personal data.

The first sound step in this direction the country made in 2012 was the joining the Council of Europe’s convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data. The convention was initially adopted in Strasburg in 1981 with the aim to protect individuals’ right to privacy and security of the personal data in spite of their nationality and residency.

On May 18, 2015 Armenia adopted the law on personal data, which regulates collection, usage and dissemination of citizens’ personal data by the government organizations, local self-governance bodies and all other legal entities.

The law formulates the main terms and concepts related to personal data and its usage, including the following:

  • Personal data
  • Processing of personal data
  • Transmission of personal data to the third parties
  • Use of personal data
  • Depersonalization of personal data- (meaning operations, making impossible to identify the data subject to whom they belong)
  • Blocking of personal data
  • Destruction of personal data -(the restoration of the content of personal data contained in an information system impossible)
  • Data on personal life
  • Biometric personal data
  • Special category personal data (information relating to race, national identity or ethnic origin, political views, religious or philosophical beliefs, a trade-union membership, health and sex life of a person)
  • Publicly available personal data

The law defines the principles of processing and collecting the personal data. The main principles state that the data must be collected solely in a legal way, be precisely correct and provide the minimal involvement of the person whose data is collected. The latter statement is one of the important components of the e-government, which allows citizens to avoid inconvenient and time consuming collection of various references from different state bodies.

According to the constitution of the Republic of Armenia the law includes the rights of citizens to know what data related to them is collected and stored, allows them to demand this data, and complain if the data is incorrect or other issues are detected.

It should be noted that this Law does not regulate relations connected with processing of personal data considered to be of state confidentiality.

The main conclusion of the author is that Armenia makes all efforts for the effective personal data protection, regulating the process by the constitution, legislation and joining the above noted European convention, however the country still has a challenging way to develop the necessary secure infrastructure, that will allow the country to resist various malicious and hacker activities and counter other cybercrime dangers. – Anna Banduryan, Armenia.

 

 

 


Ensuring e-Government Uptake through Internet-Access-for-All in Togo

21/03/2016

Since the year 2012, when the Togolese Government adopted a proposition from the then Post and Telecommunications Ministry now Post and Digital Economy Ministry to modernize the public sector, the commitment for an efficient and more citizen-centered public administration have not changed. The e-Government project in Togo was then divided in 2 phases. The phase 1 was launched in March 2015 and consisted of connecting 500 administrative sites with fiber optics over a 1 year period. These administrative sites include Ministries, Government agencies, public and private institutions, hospitals and schools. As at today,  the Togolese Government can boast of an online presence for almost all its ministries, institutions and government agencies.  Other projects have subsequently been also put in place to address the problems of access divide and to ensure citizens’ adoption of online services.

  • Helim Zone project

This project consists of providing affordable Wifi hotspots in major places of the Country. Developed by Togo Telecom, a State-Owned Telecommunications Company, through this project,  the Government is aiming at ensuring an internet access for the citizenry in a country where as at 2011,  less than 5% of the population had access to the Internet. The  project has started in the Capital City and is set to expand to other cities in the Country.  This project will ensure internet access to low-income individuals who previously considered Internet access a luxury.

  • Bluezone Togo

The project Bluezone Togo is one of the major breakthrough in the Internet-Access-for-All in Togo. Initiated by Bollore Group, the project offers free internet access to people around an access point called “Bluezone”. Debuted with the first access point in Cacaveli, a neighborhood in the Togolese Capital City Lome, the project is  set to expand to major places in the capital and to the whole country.  In a country where the cost of Internet is relatively high this project will help the youth and adults get access to internet for free.

  • e-Village Project

The Togolese Government recently started debating on a plan to put in place an e-Village Project. This project consists of making at the disposals of villages’ chiefs and remote communities’ leaders a number of free cellphones with a monthly credit allowance. The aim of this project is to enable quick responses in remote areas in period of natural disasters or security concerns. The success of this project will reduce the gap of information-divide as people leaving in remote areas are often left out. – Apetogbo Komlan Aklikokou, Togo.


e-Services in Spain

29/02/2016

In the last years, I have used frequently several public services on line in my country, Spain.

The mechanism that I have used to be related to the Administration has been a digital certificate regulated by the Law 59/2003 of Electronic Signature. In this regard, digital certificate is a sequence of information attached to a document, which applies a set of mathematical algorithms and which allows to offer certain guarantees of safety on the signed document, crediting the one who is his author (authentication) and that there has not existed any later manipulation of the information (integrity).

From a more technical perspective, certificates are a set of information that link a public key with the identity of a natural or juridical person, so that it is possible to verify that a public key really belongs to the one who says to possess it. By means of a digital certificate it is not possible that another person uses a public key that belongs to another individual. In certain sense, a digital certificate is the Id Card or Passport in the world of the new technologies.

In practice, digital certificates allow citizens to identify themselves telematically and to be able to sign or code electronic documents.

Saying this, it is worth noting on the securing and working of the digital certificates in Spain.

First of all, it is necessary to request the certificate from a certification services provider, who is the natural or legal person who sends electronic certificates, that in my case was the public entity of certification CERES.

Secondly, it is necessary to download and install the digital certificate software and to provide the personal information asked by the certification services provider.

In the third place, the software provides a private key which is installed in the browser and which provides an alphanumeric code that it is necessary to retain.

In the fourth place, appointment must be requested in an office of the Tax Agency and present so much the alphanumeric code obtained as a copy of the identity card.

In fifth place, after 24 hours we will be able to download and to install the digital certificate in our browser.

Once obtained and installed the digital certificate, citizens can realize all kinds of online administrative procedures with the Administration. In my case, I have used the digital certificates for the following purposes:

1) Acquisition of documents, as for example a copy of the social security number, an insurance history, etc.

2) Inscription as employer to hire a servant.

3) Presentation of the Personal Income Tax.

4) Access to my health reports.

Apart from the advantage that bears the use of the digital certificates, I must emphasize as disadvantage that, sometimes, Administration web pages do not allow an effective use of the digital certificates, since javascript code problems are frequent, making the loading of the page impossible.

In spite of this, the use of the digital certificates turns out to be advisable for the saving of time and for the serviceability to realize administrative procedures. – Cristian Raul Sanchez Curto, Spain


Case Study Report : United Nations E-Government Survey 2014: E-government for the future we want (Chapter 7: E-Government for the post-2015 era: the usage perspective)

24/02/2016

E-government is a part of our digital communication nowadays throughout the whole world.  It is known to everybody that there are lots of publications in the World and it expresses different views either technically or traditionally.  Traditional publications are not as fast as comparing with technical publications.   In our old decades, various publications were come into picture but in today’s world the data publications by different digital media are much faster than those days.  The demands of using these types of information are also increasing with the pace of digital publications.  Lots of developing countries are making their entire efforts to implement the digital media through which various types of initiatives can successfully be enhanced advertently after the 2015 era of digitization where the developed countries have already finished their infrastructures of E-government for sustainable implementation and growth of successful project missions.  As per our economic point of view, demand indicates the desire which is backed by purchasing power but in another sense it depends on other factors as well.  In the same way, the demand side for E-government also depends on other socio-economic infrastructures of a country in this digital era of civilization.

The overall objective of implementing the E-government uptake is to make the tangible benefits of the people and society of the countries.  On this basis, the Government of a country should make well infrastructure as well as well-resourced training for the implementation of different societal projects for the development of the people of the country.  People have different needs and requirements from different corners.  The Governments should inquire about those things and after the proper analysis E-government policies are framed for the public good.  In this way, the development era of E-government infrastructures has increased in this world.

The framers of the policy may change their outlook and overview from time to time.  On that basis, the communication is the main part on an immediate basis.  On that time, the policy of E-government infrastructure helps the trained resources of a country to develop among them.  By knowing that information through the world of technology, trained resources can easily implement their action plans as far as the mission is concerned over there.  They can also apply their strategic outlook as per their requirement and also communicate with higher authorities from time to time.  So it can remarkably be reiterated that E-government uptake has learnt a new chapter in our daily life where we can learn much more than our traditional knowledgeable point of view of learning within a very short span of time as per our convenient way of walking. – Tapas Kumar Debnath, India

 


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