Monday, 24 March 2014

Invitation to the Civic Pre-CodeAthon Brainstorming Session




I write to invite you to the Civic Pre-CodeAthon Brainstorming Session. This event is in preparation for the Civic CodeAthon, a technology and policy event where data-driven applications that can scale citizen engagement and institutional reform will be built. For more information, please visit http://civiccodeathon.com/ for more details.

 This event is a brainstorming session aimed at using data-driven analysis in improving citizen access and also understanding of government information related to crime, public safety, justice, security and corruption. Six thematic areas of focus in developing technology applications and creative approaches to analysing citizen-held data are expected to be identified from this brainstorming session.  The brainstorming session is scheduled as follows: 

Date:       March 26, 2013
Time:       10:00am
Venue:     Jades Hotel, 24 Ndola Crescent, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja, FCT

We look forward to your kind confirmation and participation in this event. For more information and to confirm your participation, please contact Chigozirim Odinkalu (chigozirim.odinkalu@cleen.org, 08137520521) or Oluseun Onigbinde (info@yourbudgit.com, 08185983325).

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

MONITORING AND ADVOCACY ON SECURITY GOVERNANCE IN WEST AFRICA



TRAINING ON TOOLS FOR MONITORING AND ADVOCACY ON SECURITY GOVERNANCE IN WEST AFRICA

Introduction
The CLEEN Foundation on behalf of Altus Global Alliance is organising the week long training for selected civil society representatives from West Africa on tools for monitoring and advocacy on security governance. The trainees will be thirty in all comprising of program officer level staff from civil society groups involved in conflict management, human rights advocacy, conflicts and violence prevention, security sector governance reform and demilitarization in West Africa.
Are you a program officer level staff from civil society groups involved in conflict management, human rights advocacy, conflicts and violence prevention, security sector governance reform and demilitarization in West Africa? Training on tools for monitoring and advocacy on security governance in West Africa at the Altus/CLEEN Foundation office would provide you with rich experience in this regard.
The weeklong training will be divided into two phases. Phase one which will cover the first three days will focus on how to assess and monitor security governance, with emphasis on effectiveness and accountability of security sector in conflict situations, including issues around Political control, financial accountability, legal framework for oversight, operational accountability and performance.

The second phase of the training, which will last for two days, will dwell on social media tools for mapping early warning signals and monitoring and disseminating information on security governance. These include how to set up crowd sourcing and event mapping platforms using Ushahidi applications; how to use text messaging, Twitter and Facebook accounts in mobilizing communities to protest unacceptable conduct by security forces, holding them to account as well as in pressing for vital reforms within the sector as well as ethical issues in the use of social media platforms.

Techniques that will be used in the weeklong training in order to make it experiential will include role-plays, audio-visuals, breakout assignments and simulation games. At the end of the training, the trainees will be given certificates of participation by Altus. A virtual network of NGOs working on security sector governance in West Africa will be established and supported by social media platforms and new technology to ensure that participants continue to engage and support one another in enhancing capacity of CSOs in the region to work on governance issues within the security sector.

Intending applicants should possess a minimum of first Degree or its equivalent from any recognized higher education institution from Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone with qualifications in the field of human rights, conflict prevention, management, peace building, social sciences and other related fields.
Purpose of the training
The training programme is intended to:
-    Increase beneficiaries knowledge of concepts, issues, strategies and good practices in Human Rights monitoring of security institutions, advocacy and reporting;
-    Enhance their depth in knowledge in governance, security sector reform, conflict prevention and management, demilitarization in West Africa;
-     Network beneficiaries with civil society actors and other strategic partners in supporting governance, SSR, monitoring and advocacy activities in West Africa.
Who Can Apply?
-     Program officer level staff from civil society groups involved in conflict management, human rights advocacy, conflicts and violence prevention, security sector governance reform and demilitarization in West Africa;

-          Civil society organizations that have participated in CLEEN Foundation’s internship programs and oragnisations working on regional wide issues closely linked to peace and security within ECOWAS states.  
Application Procedure
Interested applicants who meet the above requirements can download and fill the application form from the website of CLEEN Foundation (www.cleen.org) and forward the form with the following documents to the email address masog@cleen.org
-          A recent resume
-          A cover letter describing the nature of what the applicant has been engaged in and also areas of interest;
-          A recommendation letter from the organization
The duration of the training is one week. Every completed application will be valid for 10days from the date of submission. Candidates need not make fresh submissions within this period unless there have been significant developments altering the submitted application. Successful applicants are notified for the training on or before Monday 31 March, 2014

Financial Aspects
The Altus/CLEEN Foundation’s training programme on monitoring and advocacy for security sector governance in West Africa is on a non-remunerative basis. However, the cost of airfare, accommodation, and feeding for the period of six days would be provided by Altus for those selected through support from Ford Foundation. Training materials will also be provided for the selected persons. However, applicants that need travel and medical insurances will have to make the arrangements on their own before or on arrival and will bear the costs.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Survey shows Nigerians want transparent tax system

Afrobarometer Network, in collaboration with the CLEEN Foundation, on Wednesday released its most recemt global data on taxation .
 
The Round 5 Survey, which covered 29 countries in sub- Sahara Africa including Nigeria, has the theme: “Africa’s willing taxpayers thwarted by opaque tax systems and corruption.”
It shows that a majority of Africans  see tax generated government revenue as an important national development resource, but perceived corruption also plays a role in people’s willingness to pay  taxes.
Presenting the survey findings to journalists, civil society groups and government officials, Rose Aiko, the  Director of Research on Governance and Service Delivery at REPOA Policy Research For  Development in Dar Es Salam, said a sample of 43,500 representing the views of half of the African population provided answers relating to taxation in their countries.

The findings show that though majority of the citizens  are of the opinion that paying taxes is important for development , however majority  of citizens who  participated in the survey expressed concern that it is difficult to know how much tax they pay and would like government to be transparent about how  taxes are spent.

The participants also expressed concern over perceived corruption by tax officials which hinders and prevent taxable citizens from fulfilling their tax obligation.

“Six in ten people say it is difficult to know how much tax they pay and a seven in ten do not know how the government spent the taxes”

Further findings shows that two- thirds (66%) of the people interviewed say citizens pay taxes for their country to develop. A majority (52%) favours paying higher taxes in exchange for better services; just one in three (35%) who would give up services in favour for low taxes.
Also seventy percent say authorities have the right to make people pay taxes. Across 16 countries, tracked since 2002, this figure has increased from 64% to 71%. Half (49%) say it is wrong and punishable for people to avoid paying the taxes they owe the government.

Equally, a large majority report that tax systems remain opaque; 625 say it is difficult to find out what taxes they owe, 76% say it is difficult to find out how governments use tax revenue.
“The perception that tax officials are corrupt was expressed in 39%of the respondents saying that “most” or “all” tax officials are corrupt and another 39% think that at least some of them are. This perceived corruption among tax officials according to the findings appears to undermine commitment to the integrity of the tax system. Distrust in the conduct of tax officials increases tolerance for tax avoidance in principle and reported non-compliance with tax obligations in practice the findings have shown.
Carolyn Logan ,a deputy director of Afrobarometer  and an assistant professor at the Michigan state university  also participated in the survey .

The survey shows that mobilization of resources top priority on Africa’s development agenda however for most countries, the revenue available from taxes is far less than actual public –sector spending needs.

“Revenue averaged 24% of gross domestic product from 2000 t0 2010 with a peak performance at 28% in 2008. When compared with the tax efforts in OECD countries (33.8%), it is clear there is room for Afr4ican countries to expand tax revenue generation. Reform of domestic taxation systems has been accorded high priority across the continent over the past two decades; Afrobarometer  findings suggest that Africans are largely on board; people affirm that national development should be built on  domestic taxation, rather than relying solely on other sources of revenue , moreover , tax authorities enjoy widespread and growing legitimacy among African citizens “

“The Afrobarometer  findings suggest that government need to improve the transparency and accountability of revenue authorities if they want to strengthen the foundations of a sound revenue system.

The finding also suggests   that as governments face growing demands for better services and improved living conditions, there is a need to aggressively reform tax and public finance drive to improve revenue collection as top development priorities.

By Patience Ogbo

Source

Survey blames shoddy tax regime for taxpayers’ apathy in Africa

By Funmi Falobi Senior Reporter, Lagos

Corruption and vague tax systems have been identified as factors preventing Nigerians and other Africans from paying taxes.

Integrity of tax authorities and officials also thwart citizens in Africa from paying their taxes which are germane for the development of the continent.

A survey conducted by Afrobarometer, an international network in collaboration with CLEEN foundation Nigeria, revealed that from the 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa comprising Southern, East and West Africa, there was widespread citizen commitment to the principle of taxation.

Speaking at the presentation of the survey data in Lagos, Rose Aiko, Director of Research on Governance and Delivery at Policy Research for Development, Tanzania, said seven in 10 people found it difficult to know how the government spends the taxes and that distrust in tax officials increases tolerance for tax avoidance in principle.

“A majority of 52 per cent across Africa supports taxation provided it will guarantee more services for the citizens except from Malawi and Lesotho which have minority.

“Africa region is facing taxation challenge. From the survey, majority of Africans are willing to pay taxes but are frustrated that the way governments spend its money is not accessible.

“Integrity of tax authorities and officials is very important. To enhance tax payment, integrity is vital. Tax payment will help Africa to have more revenue to develop the continent.

“Mobilisation of resources through taxation is a top priority on Africa’s development agenda. Many countries have had to rely on foreign donors to fill the gap.

“As governments face demand for better services and improved living conditions from growing populations, reform of tax and public finance systems to improve domestic revenue collection are likely to remain top development priorities,” she said.

Nengak Daniel Gondyi, Programme Officer of CLEEN, said the survey data revealed a worrying report that 18 per cent of citizens made payment to non-state agents, saying, “This should be stopped because it will be damaging the image of tax officials. The essence of the presentation is that policy makers can work with and respond to some of these findings.”

Source

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