ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has missed the fourth deadline given by the Open Government Partnership to submit a National Action Plan (NAP) on fiscal transparency, access to information, asset disclosures and citizen engagement.
After missing three deadlines, the government on August 31 missed the fourth deadline for formally presenting the NAP for implementation up to June 30, 2020.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative launched in 2011 which brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans to make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable.
Pakistan joined the OGP in December 2016 on the direction of the former finance Minister, Ishaq Dar. Pakistan committed to adhere to four key principles: Fiscal transparency, access to information, asset disclosures and citizen engagement.
To date, the OGP has more than 70 member countries, including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Ghana. The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a civil society organization which maintains an ‘OGP Watch Desk’, said that Pakistan has missed all the deadlines set by the OGP to submit the NAP.
The Economic Affairs Division held multiple consultative sessions to draft the NAP and a formal meeting of a multi-stakeholder forum was held in October 2017. On January 18, the OGP secretariat penned a letter to Miftah Ismail, the then advisor to the Prime Minister for finance, saying it had not received a NAP from the Government of Pakistan by the end of 2017. It informed Islamabad that Pakistan had been shifted from the odd-numbered year grouping of OGP member countries to the even-numbered year grouping scheduled to submit plans in 2018, 2020 and so on.
“Our government eagerly joined the OGP in 2016 but couldn’t do much on the path of co-creating the NAP except missing the back-to-back deadlines. Civil society organizations have been advocating for the cause but nothing substantial can be achieved till the government gets to grips with the issue,” said Amer Ejaz, Executive Director of the CPDI.
Afghanistan joined the OGP in 2017, submitted a NAP on time and is now in the process of implementation. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has claimed it would bring an end to corruption, and bring about transparency and openness in government affairs, Amer said. The OGP upholds similar values for its member countries, he said.
He asked Finance Minister Asad Umar to immediately look in to the causes of the repeated delays and establish contact with the OGP support unit regarding the submission of the NAP.