President Muhammadu Buhari says the Nigerian government is focused on securing its citizens from external forces and the provision of a strong economy that will enable their businesses to thrive.
He made the declaration on Wednesday, while launching a new application, known as ‘EYEMARK,’ the official tool for Monitoring and Evaluating Federal Government’s capital projects.
He said: “The aim of this Government is to secure its people through providing a strong economy, protection from external forces and an enabling environment for citizens and businesses to thrive. To achieve this goal, we embark on multiple large, medium and small-scale projects, running into tens of thousands of projects yearly. These projects are carefully planned collaborative efforts, each aimed at achieving a predetermined goal.
“This administration has invested more than any administration in infrastructure, but unless we closely monitor our investments, they will yield less value.
“It was with this backdrop that I mandated the Minister of State, Finance, Budget and National Planning in 2019 to address our issues and constraints of monitoring and evaluating capital projects.
“To ensure that these projects are successful and impactful to Nigerians and our economy, I believe it is critical for their implementation to be monitored and evaluated at their various stages.
He however, lamented that lack of proper monitoring of government’s projects and corruption were setbacks for projects implementation in the past.
“The state of the country’s Monitoring and Evaluation method has seen thousands of well-meaning capital projects abandoned or poorly implemented over the years.
“Although corruption, which this administration has fought and continues to fight, has played a role in the alarming number of the poorly executed and abandoned projects in the country, we must look beyond it and simultaneously tackle the other contributing factors.
“Top of which is our current paper-based method of Monitoring and Evaluation coupled with the overwhelming ratio of projects to Monitoring and Evaluation personnel. We cannot realistically expect a few individuals to effectively monitor tens of thousands of projects appropriated for during each budgetary cycle,” he added.
The President urged Nigerians to utilize the new application to promote transparency as well as participate in governance.
“Eyemark introduces a digital approach to M&E in the Federal Government that gives MDAs the ability to harness geospatial and project implementation data on a continuous basis.
“Furthermore, the constraint of limited M&E personnel is addressed by utilising a bottom-up approach through crowdsourcing geotagged data from Nigerians in every part of the country.
“Not only does this address the pressing M&E issues, but it also institutes accountability and transparency in the system, in line with my commitment to Nigerians and the Open Government Partnership.
“With the Eyemark application, Nigerians worldwide can access project information with the click of a button. Project data such as its status, timeline, executing contractors, the amount appropriated and spent so far, amongst others, are now available in the public space.
“With the ability for citizens to give reviews and feedback in real-time on projects around them, we are closing the existing gaps and promoting participation in governance,” he said.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, said the Eyemark project was inspired by the monitoring and evaluation during the Covid-19 pandemic by the ministry and realized by talented young Nigerians.
He said the “homegrown and nationally coordinated’’ application had transited governments from the era of “earmarking’’ projects, with little or no monitoring tools, to “eye marking’’, where all stakeholders will be fully involved at every stage.
Agba explained that citizen empowerment begins with ownership, where people can freely take photographs of projects, upload them for review and also post comments and the feedback loop will be sustained by all stakeholders.
The minister thanked President Buhari for his interest and endorsement of the project, which practically reflects his position on transparency and accountability, particularly with citizen participation.
Agba said the digital application will be extended to states and development partners for free.