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Hi Kathrin, it is heartening to read about the great work and potential that lies for CSOs in Mongolia to actively contribute to the management of public resources. I am really impressed with the initiative that allows CSOs to observe the evaluation stages of procurement processes. I cannot help but compare this with my home country Nigeria, where CSOs have a statutory mandate to observe every procurement process; however, in all the cases that I know of, you are invited for bid openings and that is it. CSOs, therefore, have to rely on the minutes of evaluation reports (if their request for information is honoured) which from what I have seen, does not contain much detail that could enable the CSO critically report on the process. Moreover, in accordance with the Nigerian Procurement law, CSOs need to wait until the contract is awarded before they get post-bid opening procurement documents; meaning that the contract would be awarded before any infractions are found out. This creates a lot of difficulty because for practical reasons of efficiency and the need to implement the budget, it would be extremely difficult to rescind on the contract after implementation has commenced; and also considering that the evaluation reports given out only contain the bare minimum of information or that you may not even get the information you have requested for, then transparency, accountability, value for money are called into question. The observations you have raised in the extractives also ring true in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, we realized that networks involved in the NEITI process (the Nigerian version of EITI) put most, or all of their efforts into the revenue that is being generated from the oil and gas sector (In Nigeria, oil and gas is the sub-sector of the Extractives sector where the most attention is paid) and pay little or no attention to the expenditure that happens through the procurement process in that sector. This is in spite of the huge reliance Nigeria has on oil. To address this incomplete Public finance monitoring cycle, we recently, trained and mobilized CSOs working in the oil and gas sector to commence procurement monitoring in the oil and gas sector.

Although I am aware of the general assumption of non-transparency in the process of awarding oil and gas related contracts and reports which allude to resource wastage, we will have some facts by the end of the year to tell if there is any transparency and sense of accountability in the Nigerian oil and gas sector at all.

On a final note, I would just like to say that the gains of procurement monitoring would have an impact when citizens not only have access to information but the access to information is timely, accurate, complete, relevant and verifiable. Happy Right to Know Day albeit a day late….