Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said COVID-19 should help governments to learn to use resources better, and put citizens.
She called for more open governments and better concern for people by leaders of nations in the world.
Okonjo-Iweala said governments should “publish all tenders and all contracts” and “companies receiving funds should not be anonymous”.
The former World Bank director stated this in a piece titled, ‘To Beat Covid-19, Governments Need to Open Up’ published on Bloomberg.
The former World Bank Vice President is contesting for the position of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In the article, she wrote; “Getting medical equipment, and eventually vaccines, to those that need them most poses a major governance challenge. Already, many countries are battling price gouging, collapsing supply chains and even corruption in the procurement of supplies, including personal protective equipment. Out of desperation, governments have contracted with suppliers who have no track record of delivering the equipment they need. Too often those suppliers have failed.
“The only way to make emergency procurement fast and efficient is to do it in the open by publishing all tenders and all contracts.
“This openness should extend to the emergency budgets that have been established to fund healthcare systems and economic stimulus packages. Even in normal times, finance ministries need to publish their budgets in a way that encourages accountability and citizen engagement. Right now, it is even more important to reassure taxpayers that funds are being spent on the right priorities.
“Opening up procurement and budgets can only have the desired effect if citizens and civil society are empowered to follow the money.
“During my tenure as Nigerian finance minister, we worked hard in a difficult governance environment to open up information and tackle corruption. Though it was not easy, we saved billions of dollars that were channeled to other priorities.
“At a time when many governments are rapidly mobilizing financial resources from their own budgets, international markets and donors, it is vital that funds are not wasted. Working in an open way will build trust with citizens and lenders, and it will ensure money reaches the neediest.
“When this pandemic is brought to an end, one legacy should be an expectation for more open government that makes better decisions, uses resources more wisely and puts citizens first.”