The ECOWAS Commission held an Expert Consultation Workshop in Abuja, Nigeria, from 18 to 19 October 2022 to validate the African Union's Simplified Continental Results Framework (CRF) on Women, Peace and Security for West Africa.
The CRF was developed in response to gaps in the monitoring and reporting of progress in the implementation of the Global Agenda for Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in the Hemisphere.
The Workshop, therefore, was organized to begin the full implementation of the CRF on Women, Peace and Security in West Africa in order to accelerate the fulfillment of WPS commitments through systematic and sustained monitoring and reporting by part of the Member States.
In her welcoming remarks, the Director of Social and Humanitarian Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, welcomed the participants to the workshop on behalf of the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, Prof. Fatou Sow Sarr. According to her, “the success of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda depends on its implementation at the international, regional, national and subnational levels.
Recent years have witnessed systematic and coordinated efforts towards the implementation, at all levels, of the MPS agenda comprising UNSCR 1325 and nine other related resolutions aimed at preventing and resolving violent conflicts in a comprehensive manner and ensuring (among other aspects ) protecting the rights of women and enhancing their participation and leadership in conflict prevention and resolution, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction”.
He further added that the determination and commitment to the MPS Agenda in West Africa is evidenced by the localization of UNSCR 1325 and other related resolutions with several Member States developing national action plans to implement UNSCR 1325-traditional factors, including the proliferation of violent conflicts, extremism, pandemics, climate change and other threats to security and stability that have affected women and girls in the region, affirmed that the ECOWAS Commission, member states, development partners , experts and other actors continue to work to establish structures to ensure the realization of the WPS objectives.
She noted that “the African Union (AU) explicitly recognized that a key gap in the implementation cycle of the MPS agenda was the absence of a standardized monitoring and reporting framework; who led the AU in 2018 developed a Continental Results Framework (CRF) to guide implementation and provide a basis for reflecting on obstacles, progress, opportunities and challenges in implementing the MPS agenda.
For its part, ECOWAS, mandated to operationalize the CRF in West Africa with guidance from the Office of the AU Special Envoy (AU-OSE) on MPS, further tamed and attempted to simplify the CRF, as well as develop a roadmap that would allow its full implementation and use by Member States.
The process was supported by the ECOWAS Peace and Security Operations and Architecture Project (EPSAO), co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ.” He stated that the simplified CRF tool was designed to track progress towards the MPS agenda at the regional and national levels, it has 41 indicators divided into 2 categories and the training events on how to implement the CRF tool for monitoring and reporting by of the Member States will begin in 2023.
He assured that the ECOWAS Commission will continue to maintain its commitment to the MPS agenda through its various programs around the evaluation and development of a third generation Regional Action Plan, the implementation of the CRF and the institutionalization and operationalization of FemWise-West Africa.
In her brief remark, WPS - GIZ/EPSAO Integrated Expert, Ms. Tamwakat Elizabeth Golit, who spoke on behalf of GIZ, thanked the experts for finding time to attend the workshop and thanked the ECOWAS Commission for its diligence.
in exploiting ways to simplify the Continental Results Framework for monitoring and reporting on Women, Peace and Security in the sub-region.
She said that the ECOWAS Commission is being supported in this process through the ECOWAS Project Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO), co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ.
She declared GIZ's commitment to launching and institutionalizing the Framework in recognition of the important role of women in peace and security.
The two-day hybrid event that ended on October 19, 2022 with the validation of the continental results framework (CRF) and the Simplified African Union roadmap, which will serve as a guide for the implementation and reporting of the programs of MPS in the region.
In addition to validation, participants made useful suggestions and recommendations to operationalize the African Union Continental Results Framework, Monitoring and Reporting on the Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in West Africa.
Some of the results and recommendations of the Workshop are the following: that the ECOWAS ECOWAS Commission with the support of the EPSAO Project should finalize and publish the validated documents; whereas the validated simplified CRF needs to be further adapted at Member State level, including language simplification and translation into local languages, for popularisation; and that summary versions of the validated simplified CRF should be prepared, to serve as informational aids in advocacy with policymakers in member states.
Workshop participants include ECOWAS Commission staff from the Departments of Human Development and Social Affairs; Political Affairs, Peace and Security, MPS Focal Persons from Member States and selected Independent Professionals in Gender and MPS.
The Public Accounts Commission of the Senate acquitted the Directorate of Public Companies, BPE, of the complaints of financial irregularity filed against it by the Comptroller General of the Federation, OAuGF.
This is contained in a statement issued by Ibeh Chidi, Head of Public Communications, BPE on Friday in Abuja.
According to Mr. Chide, the committee cleared the board of the charges when its CEO, Alex Okoh, appeared before him.
He said the committee, chaired by Senator Mathew Urhohide, described the allegations as spurious, adding that the OAuGF failed to reconcile its records before publicly accusing BPE of a misdemeanor financial crime.
He recalled that the OAuGF had accused the bureau of some financial violations, especially the non-remittance of income from port concessions amounting to 679.4 million dollars.
“On port concession payments, Mr. Okoh informed the committee that the office was only part of the concession, as all revenue generated from the exercise was paid directly to the Landlord-Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA.
"He said the office was never part of the revenue collection during and after the award, adding that the OAuGF arrived at the figures simply by looking at the contract documents and assuming the revenue was paid to the office."
He said Okoh was sorry that the accusations against the office had tarnished his reputation and integrity and demanded a retraction and apology from the OAuGF.
"After hearing the presentation from the DG, BPE and the inadequate response from the OAuGF, the committee cleared the office of all charges."
However, the committee advised the OAuGF to always meet with the relevant agencies for post-audit reconciliation before going public.
He also reprimanded the OAuGF for not diligently fulfilling its duties.
The committee began investigating the BPE for allegedly failing to remit $679.4 million earned from the concession of various ports to 23 companies by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, over a 10-year period.
The investigation was based on the OAuGF Annual Report on Non-Compliance Issues/Internal Control Weaknesses in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDA, of the Federal Government for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The office launched an investigation against BPE, where it was found that 23 companies were granted concessions in various ports under the NPA for 10 years or more.
Its annual income of 679.4 million dollars was payable to the ANP as of December 31 of each year.
However, the office said an audit showed there was no evidence that the amount was collected at the appropriate time and remitted to the government's Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF.
By Emmanuella Anokam
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) said it paid 5.36 billion naira to the Consolidated Income Fund (CRF) from its Internally Generated Income (IGR) between January 2016 and March 2021.
The NIPC revealed this in a report released Thursday on the summary of its IGR and CRF payments since 2016.
The report said the amount represented 46 percent of the total IGR of N11.61 billion it generated during the period.
Following the addition of the NIPC to the annex to the Fiscal Responsibility Act in November 2016, the Commission was subject to the payment of 80% of its operating surplus to the Treasury.
The report also noted that as part of its commitment to better governance, proactive compliance and transparency, NIPC proactively discloses material, financial, legal, procurement, personnel information on a quarterly basis. and operational.
He noted that the NIPC generated 5.59 billion naira, its highest income in 2018, due to the backlog of lifting the two-year suspension on the administration of its pioneer incentive ( PSI).
According to her, the PSI service charge represented 96 percent of NIPC's IGR during the reporting period; with its average annual IGR over the period estimated at 1.93 billion naira.
“In 2020, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Compliance and Transparency Award, the NIPC was ranked second out of 213 ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) assessed, maintaining the impressive ranking, achieved for the first time in 2019, for the second year in a row.
“The commission was the most consistent among the top ranked MDAs in 2019 and 2020,” he said.
The report cited the NIPC's ranking and improvement, from its 2016 ranking of 90th out of 131 MDA, as validating the efforts of management and staff to improve internal transparency and compliance with FOIA. (NAA)(NAN)
By Kingsley Okoye
Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are yet to remit over N3 trillion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government between 2014 and 2020, says the Senate.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Sen.Solomon Adeola (APC- Lagos), made the revelation in a statement by Kayode Odunaro, his Media Adviser, on Sunday in Abuja.
The senator spoke at the ongoing investigation of remittances of revenue by MDAs and payment of 1 per cent stamp duty on contracts between 2014 and 2020.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms Zainab Ahmed, and Director-General of Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, appeared before the committee.
Adeola said the unremitted revenue may have been trapped with the MDAs or spent on frivolous expenditures.
He said this is contrary to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007.
He said the minister, director general, budget office, and the Accountant General of the Federation, were invited to speak on the unremmited funds which was revealed from investigations of the committee.
According to Adeola, the investigation has so far revealed that many agencies were involved in illegalities relating to expenditure of funds that should be remmited into CRF.
He said many of the agencies abused the concept of operating surpluses to shortchange government, relying on ministerial circulars over and above the constitution and FRA-2007 as passed by the National Assembly.
The Minister said the huge budget deficits accompanying our yearly budgets has forced government to resort to huge borrowing to finance these deficits.
“The committee decided to probe the revenue remittances by agencies of government.
“The government cannot continue to borrow yearly while the revenue from agencies that the government is financing with the borrowings are spent contrary to the laws of the land.
“From submissions already made and calculations from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, about 60 Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs), may have about N3 trillion of government revenue still unremitted in their coffers. Or already spent on frivolous expenditure contrary to the Constitution and FRA 2007,” Adeola said.
He said since the commencement of the investigation, some agencies had complied in paying back millions of naira with receipts from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
The senator said if these revenues were paid to the CRF for proper appropriation by the parliament during budget considerations, the size of the nation’s deficit would be reduced and hopefully minimise borrowing.
“We cannot continue to run government business as we used to do in this time when there are huge demands for government to fund needed infrastructure and other socio-economic programmes” he said.
Adeola also revealed that the investigation has also led to the willing exit of some agencies from the budget of the government, while relying on their generated revenue to fund aspects of their operations.
He noted that this would reduce their dependence on the federation budget and assist in reducing budget deficits.
Responding, Ahmed commended the committee for the ongoing probe of revenue remittances.
She noted that in recent times, there had been a noticeable increase in revenue from agencies to the CRF as required by law.
The minister, however, explained that the executive arm is also examining the application of the template of calculating and deducting operating surpluses by agencies of government.
She said this is to ensure that the right amount was paid to government. (NAN)(NAN)
By Philomina Attah
ICPC does not spend recovered funds, but pays them into Federal Government’s coffers, it chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has said.
Owasanoye told the Senate Committee on Finance investigating activities of revenue generating agencies of the Federal Government that ICPC had no retention powers over funds or assets recovered from corrupt people.
ICPC spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, said in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday that Owasanoye told the committee that ICPC had a dedicated account for the recovery of proceeds of crime.
All recovered funds are paid into the dedicated account called “ICPC Recovery Account’’ for onward payment into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government once there were no encumbrances, he explained.
“ICPC is not contemplated as a revenue generating agency. In the course of our work, we do recover funds. However, ICPC does not spend recovered assets. We do not use part of it for our work,’’ he stressed.
He also told the committee that apart from recovering proceeds of crime, ICPC had also helped to boost tax revenue by bringing defaulters to book.
He said ICPC had been able to bring defaulters into the tax net while investigating tax components of some transactions and that recovered funds were paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Committee Chairman, Sen. Solomon Adeola, had earlier expressed concern that the country’s budget was becoming too dependent on loans, partly due to non-compliance to financial regulations by revenue generating agencies of government.
He said the investigative hearing aimed to ensure that all revenue generating agencies complied with the Fiscal Responsibility Act which stipulated that 80 per cent of operational surplus be paid into the CRF.
“Revenue generating agencies of government have taken solace and pleasure in diverting government’s money; taking care of frivolous expenditure and making provisions for them in audited accounts that are fictitious in nature.
“The 2021 budget has a deficit of N6 trillion; government cannot continue this way,’’ Solomon said. (NAN)(NAN)
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and partners have agreed to strengthen their commitment to gender equality.
The agreement is on the theme: “Development Banks as Actors for Change towards Gender Equality.”
AfDB Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, Vanessa Moungar, joined high-level representatives from global financial institutions and UN Women in signing a joint declaration on gender equality.
The declaration was one highlight of a Finance in Common Summit panel hosted virtually by the French Development Agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), during the Paris Peace Forum on 12 November, the bank says.
Panel organizers said gender inequality costs sub-Saharan Africa $95 million each year.
Moungar and other panelists addressed the critical role and impact of public-private development banks in achieving gender equality for inclusive economic growth.
She said to change the status quo, the AfDB is taking the lead in accelerating efforts to address gender inequality and drive inclusive economic transformation for women across Africa.
It is doing this through mainstreaming gender in its operations as well as targeted initiatives, all supported by evidence-backed policy dialogue.
“If women can participate in the continent’s economic growth and transform their livelihoods, Africa’s economies will be transformed,” she said.
Moungar said that the Bank is investing in empowering women entrepreneurs through it Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme.
It is designed to tackle the challenges women in business face, from access to finance and training to the lack of an enabling environment.
Meral Murathan, Executive Vice President of the Turkey-based investment and development bank, TSKB, said her organization is mainstreaming gender approach to increase impact at the grassroots level.
“We believe development bank actors hold the key to drive the gender equality and equity agenda,” she further added.
Seblewongel Deneke Negussie, Gender and Social Specialist at Green Climate Fund, told the audience that the organization only considers funding proposals that include consistent gender analysis.
GFC also considers, assessment, action plan, and gender-responsive policies in project design and implementation.
It also views women as key drivers to build back better, resilient communities
The meeting recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on women had widened gender inequality around the world.
It provides a fast, flexible and effective financing mechanism to help African governments and the private sector.
Representatives from The Green Climate Fund said the Fund’s gender action plan and funding policies for development banks had set a strong commitment to linking gender equality with climate change.
Edited By: Vincent Obi
NCC Executive Vice Chairman,Prof. Umar Danbatta said this, when the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications, led by its Chairman, Mr Akeem Adeyemi, paid him a legislative oversight visit in Abuja.
Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC Director, Public Affairs said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
Adinde said that Danbatta attributed the successes of the commission in the last five years to its harmonious relationship with the National Assembly.
He said that the telecommunications sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from 8.5 per cent in 2015 to 14.30 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.
”Through the support of the lawmakers, especially the Committee on Telecommunications, which the NCC leadership has worked with in the last five years, the commission has been able to generate and remit N344.71 billion into federal government’s CRF.
“The remittance is from spectrum fees and operating surplus.
“In financial value, the 14.30 per cent translates to N2.272 trillion in Q2. The telecoms investment grew from around 38 billion dollars in 2015 to over 70 billion dollars currently,” he said.
Danbatta said that the NCC has also helped promote financial inclusion by encouraging Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), to actively participate in providing financial services towards actualising federal government’s 80 per cent financial inclusion target by 2020.
“Through collaborative efforts with critical stakeholders like the National Assembly, the NCC has been able to increase broadband penetration from 6 per cent in 2015 to 45.43 per cent as of September, 2020.
“Basic active internet subscription grew from 90 million to 143.7 million.
”Between 2015 and September, 2020, active voice subscription has increased from 151 million to 205.25 million with a teledensity standing at 107.53 per cent,as at the end of September, 2020.
“We are also empowering and protecting the consumers and ensuring we are able to sanitise the industry of improperly-registered Subscriber identification Module (SIM) cards through our impartial regulatory approach,” he said.
Earlier, Adeyemi, said the over sight visit was in line with relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which empowered the House to carry out its role of checks and balances on the executive.
Adeyemi urged the NCC to sustain its current template of ensuring effective regulation of the telecommuniations sector, in a manner that would be more mutually beneficial to the industry players, the consumers and the government.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ali Baba-Inuwa
The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has called for speedy amendment of the law establishing it to ensure effective implementation of its operational mandate.
The Acting Chairman of the commission, Mr Victor Muruako made the call at a three-day management retreat of the FRC on Monday in Abuja.
“We already have the challenge of the Act. We have taken bold steps to request and we are pushing and I am happy that Mr President has already triggered the process of amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA).
“We are aware that the amendment has been in process but we think the country needs a stronger FRA now more than ever.
“That is one of the concrete actions that could help in our drive,” Muruako said.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 states that for the purpose of performing its functions under the Act, the commission shall have the power to compel any person or government institution to disclose information relating to public revenues and expenditure.
It also states that it shall have power to cause an investigation into whether any person has violated any provision of the Act.
If the commission is satisfied that such a person has committed any punishable offence under the Act, it shall forward a report of the investigation to the Attorney-General of the Federation for the possible prosecution.
Muruako said that the commission in line with the Act, had the mandate of ensuring prudent management of Nigeria’s resources and the stability of the nation’s economy.
He said that the Federal Government added 92 corporations to the initial 31 in the Schedule of the FRA 2007 which made it possible for the agencies to remit N1.7 trillion to the Consolidated Revenue Funds (CRF).
He, however, added that in 11 years of the commission’s existence, most of the agencies had spent funds “without tracing through unorthodox accounting systems and all forms of financial manipulations”.
He emphasised that most agencies were in default of their remittances to the CFR, which currently stood at N1.2 trillion.
“These agencies that are funded by the government, they have to appreciate the fact that the government must survive and on its own account, not by continuously borrowing.
“If these multiple agencies of government decide today that we will not be wasteful again and incur certain luxurious expenses… that is where I think the need to reduce the cost of governance is very critical at this time.
“These agencies owe the government over N1.2 trillion and if these funds are properly rendered into the CRF, I believe that the government and our citizens will be the better for it.”
Muruako urged the members of staff to support the Federal Government to enable the speedy amendment of the FRA.
He appreciated both chambers of the National Assembly and also called for “speedy legislative action on the repeal and re-enact of the FRA, 2007”.
He also urged members of staff and management to review the strategies on how to utilise N380 million of the commission’s appropriation, which he said was paltry.
“It is only unfortunate that while the agencies on the Schedule of the FRA, 2007 have been increased from 30 to 122, the yearly appropriation of the budget of the commission is consistently dwindling hence making it very difficult for the it difficult to fully discharge its mandate.”
Muruako said that the retreat would focus on best ways to utilise available resources to ensure the economy does not “fall to the predictions of international financial institutions”.
The retreat theme is: “Promoting Prudence, Accountability and Economic Stability in a Post COVID-19 Economy’’.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf
The Federal High Court Abuja on Tuesday, granted the Centre for Social Justice leave to file a suit against the Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja.
The court equally gave the centre permission to commence legal action against the Director- General, Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC).
The court compelled the vice chancellor and DG of SEC, who are the respondents, to grant the centre, (the applicant) access to details of documentation evidencing the remittance to the Consolidated revenue Fund (CRF) the sum of N603 million.
The applicants said the sum was 25 per cent of the internally generated revenue.
The applicants said they brought the application for an order of mandamus against the vice chancellor and the DG, SEC pursuant to Order 34 Rule 3 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedures Rules 2019.
The applicant is praying for a declaration that denying it access to the details of the documentation evidencing the remittance of the funds is an infringement of its right guaranteed and protected by section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
In the suit against the DG of SEC, the centre is asking for a declaration that denying it access to the details of the documentation evidencing the remittance to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) the sum of N160 million being the interests from investing into Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs) by the respondent and which was not remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as required by law.
The centre contends that the non-remittance was also a contravention of the recommendation of the Auditor General of the Federation in page 179 of the Auditor General’s Annual Report on the Accounts of the Federation of Nigeria for the year 2017.
The judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu adjourned the matter until July 23.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved 20 million dollars in grant funding to build capacity to curb and stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in five countries. The funding, from the African Development Fund, is to achieve the purpose in Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.The bank’s Communications and External Relations Department disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.It said that the operation would provide funding for the project which would also boost resilience of vulnerable communities, including internally displaced persons, refugees and their host communities, in the countries, also known as the Sahel zone’s Group of 5 (G5).It said the project would support epidemiological surveillance and case management capacity and make available medical products for COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment.This is to ensure the deployment of social protection measures in targeted communities, especially, internally displaced persons, refugees and their host communities, to strengthen food and nutrition systems.The bank said that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) would provide operational support for the project.“This operation will complement the development and humanitarian actions of the huge partnership of the Sahel Alliance Initiative and will support the most vulnerable.“An additional 1.372 million dollars of grant funding from the Bank’s Transitional Support Facility, will also be deployed in G5 countries to strengthen the delivery and coordination capacity of the G5 SAHEL Permanent Secretariat and support training on biosecurity and biomedical waste management in the concerned countries.“This extension of grant funding to the G5 Sahel zone countries falls under the framework of the Bank’s COVID-19 response facility of up to 10 billion dollars, which is the institution’s main channel to provide assistance to African countries to cushion the economic and health impacts from the crisis.“Recent CRF assistance packages have been directed to a group of Economic Community of West African states as well as to countries in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa zone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.“The region has been hit by COVID-19, if less hard than some other regions of Africa. As of June 6, Niger had recorded 966 cases, Burkina Faso 885, Mali 1,485, Mauritania 883 and Chad 836, for a total of 5,055 cases in the five countries.“G5 countries have begun to lift emergency measures that had been put in place to halt and contain the spread of the disease. The entire continent has seen 175,423 cases and 4,862 fatalities” the AfDB said.Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)