Mrs Abiodun Essiet, a former Special Adviser to the Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), is among 25 dynamic leaders considered as pioneers of the Open Government Leadership Collaborative (OGLC), an official of the group has said.
Mr Sanjay Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer, Open Government Partnership (OGP), said this in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, the group of leaders will become Africa’s and Middle East’s pioneers for the OGLC.
He said “Open Government Leadership Collaborative is designed to build a refreshed and ever-growing coalition of open government leaders spearheading transformative reforms and advancing the open government movement”.
He explained that their roles would be to shape the future of the initiative and fashion ways of how it could be broadened and deepened over time.
He also said thst the Essiet choice was indicated in her role in promoting open government partnership with its citizens in AMAC.
“Essiet, in collaboration with some civil society organisations, ensured that the 2022 approved AMAC budget captured priority projects listed by the communities themselves,” he said in the statement.
AMAC became the third government institution in Nigeria to join the OGP global platform to build an all inclusive governance.
An all-inclusive governance includes allowing women, marginal groups, vulnerable people to contribute to the development of the council.
Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), has charged state governments to key into the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative to enhance transparency and accountability in governance.
Mustapha made the call on Thursday at the 2nd Quarterly Meeting of Secretary to Government of the Federation and Secretaries to State Government (SSG) in Asaba.
The meeting has as its theme, “Democratic Governance and Sustainable Development in Nigeria: Opportunities in Key Sectors of the Economy”.
He said the quarterly forum strived to build the required synergy between the federal and state bureaucracies, to enhance harmony and improve relationship between the tiers of government.
He said the appraisal provided a better appreciation of the scope of the office mandate and functions and more innovative ways of delivering them.
“In addition, the feedback process is also in place where citizens participate to have a greater say in public decision-making as well as the desire by many governments to improve inclusivity and responsiveness led to calls for more openness in governance.
“Pursuant to this, the Federal Government has been collaborating with an international transparency and accountability organization known as the OGP.
“This is to ensure that budget planning, approval, implementation monitoring and reporting meet the needs of citizens and that citizens have open access to budget information in a format that is both human and machine readable.
It is also “to improve accountability and transparency of government procurement process through the implementation of open contracting and public participation in the public contracting process, among others”.
Mustapha added, “Federal Government would continue to give priority to high employment generating sectors, business improvement environment and youth development and that social investment programmes will continue to be given the required attention.
“The active support and collaboration of sub-national governments is therefore very critical as we strive to resolve the present economic challenges of our country, Nigeria.
“The Sustainable Development Goals are being steadily implemented and substantial progress has been attained in a number of goals.
” As we work towards meeting the 2030 target, states are also encouraged to partner with the Federal Government in this area.
“I urge you to utilise the instrumentality of your office as the policy coordination hub of government to fast-track the initiation and implementation of policies and programmes.
“The states can as well harness the various opportunities in key sectors of the economy, offered by the federal government to improve the lives and well-being of our people,” Mustapha said.
He said the forum provided an atmosphere for critical discussions and policy articulation, experience sharing, peer review and adaptations.
“As you are aware, Nigeria operates constitutional democracy, which has characteristics such as guaranteed freedoms, equity, justice, transparency and accountability among others.
“Democracy also promotes an open participatory process, feedback mechanism, rule of law, thereby guaranteeing better and fairer government policies, programmes and project implementation.
“As Leaders charged with responsibility of servicing government machinery, policy coordination, monitoring implementation of programmes and policies and reporting in our respective jurisdictions.
“We need to address the question of how to effectively deliver democracy dividends in form of well-articulated policies, programmes and projects.
“At the Federal level, the realisation of the critical role of the SGF office in the coordination of government policies, programs and projects led to conduct of an institutional appraisal in 2019,” he said.
In his remarks, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by the SSG, Chief Patrick Ukah, said that only an effective democratic governance helped to advance sustainable development.
He said the theme was apt as government at all levels strived to strengthen democracy and make the idea real.
Okowa lauded the SGF for keeping fate with the cause of advancing the Forum through continuous engagements with Secretaries to State Government.
The Keynote Speaker and former Head of Service of the Federation, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, said to ensure good governance, rule of law, social accountability, transparency and integrity, independence and high moral values must retake the centre stage.
He urged all leaders to provide direction, maintain order and put the interest of the people above self, adding that anything contrary would be counter- productive.
President Muhammadu Buhari in the course of the week, expressed reservations over the degenerated welfare and working conditions of the nation’s judiciary, saying it was serious and would be addressed.
He said this would be done despite the dire state of the country’s economy “currently battling insecurity, corruption and economic challenges,” aggravated by the COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine.
Buhari stated this when he hosted the chairman and representatives of the Body of Benchers, a body of legal practitioners of “the highest distinction in the legal profession” in the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
According to the president, a democratic government like the one he leads, “standing on a tripod comprising the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, cannot stand where one of its three pillars, the Judiciary is not properly nurtured, maintained and sustained to deliver on its very pivotal constitutional duties.
” The president had earlier on July 25 hosted outgoing President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, at the Presidential Villa Abuja.
He lauded him for the role he played in ensuring that the sub-regional body remained united.
Buhari said: “You showed great commitment to the unity of ECOWAS, and of the sub-region.
”Your tenure has been very successful, and I wish you and the family more successes ahead.
” The president departed Abuja on Tuesday for Monrovia, Liberia, to attend the 175th independence anniversary of the country.
Buhari, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, joined other world leaders and organisations to rejoice with the people of Liberia at the event with the theme: “Fostering Unity, Protecting Our Peace for Development and Prosperity.
” Nigeria played a leading role in the stabilisation of the West African nation in the early 90s, leading to the establishment of democratic rule and has continued to assist the country in many ways, especially through the Technical Aids Corps scheme.
At the event in Monrovia, Buhari called on leaders in West Africa to do all within their powers to ensure that elections were conducted in their countries in an atmosphere of trust, freedom and transparency.
According to the president, this is the only way the sub-region can be insulated from the scourge of unconstitutional take overs that reared its head in three countries recently.
The president affirmed that democracy and good governance must take their roots on the African continent to sustain peace, stability and development while leaders must redouble their efforts to guarantee the irreversibility of democracy.
On July 27, President Buhari presided over virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The Council approved an augmentation of N16 billion for the completion of the dualisation of the Kano-Katsina Expressway.
The Council also received draft copies of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2023-2025 from the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for onward transmission to the National Assembly for approval.
The ministry presented the draft for the country, for the next three years to the Council.
President Buhari also summoned emergency meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday in Abuja, where he expressed serious concern over the current security challenges facing some parts of the country and would stop at nothing to change the tide.
The president also hosted a delegation from the OGP Support Unit, led by the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sanjay Pradhan, on Thursday in Abuja.
During the meeting, Buhari itemised the benefits Nigeria had derived from joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Support Unit since 2016.He said when he committed Nigeria to the membership of the Open Government Partnership at the London Anti-Corruption Summit, he was very clear about the role that the initiative would play in the fight against corruption.
According to him, since that time, “we have developed and implemented two National Action Plans on the Open Government Partnership.
The Nigerian leader concluded the week with a congratulatory message to Archbishop Daniel Okoh, General Superintendent of Christ Holy Church (Odozi-Obodo), on his election as the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
According to him, the election of Okoh by the very important Christian body is a testament to his devotion to the Church of God in the country and beyond.
President Muhammadu Buhari has itemised the benefits Nigeria had derived from joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Support Unit since 2016.
The president listed the benefits when he received a delegation from the OGP Support Unit, led by the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sanjay Pradhan, on Thursday in Abuja.
He said when he committed Nigeria to the membership of the Open Government Partnership at the London Anti-Corruption Summit, he was very clear about the role that the initiative would play in the fight against corruption.
According to him, since that time, “we have developed and implemented two National Action Plans on the Open Government Partnership.
“By next month (in August), I will sign the third Action Plan, which is in the final stages of development.
“I am eager to sign the document so that we can continue to sustain the progress of reforms that we have recorded in the past six years of implementation.
” The president also outlined some of the successes that the country had recorded since it began to implement the Open Government Partnership in 2016.
“Our budgeting processes have become more open, citizens-centred and participatory.
“In accordance with the objective of fiscal transparency, all stakeholders, including the public are involved in the country’s budget making process, have access to the details of our budgets, and have opportunity to make inputs into it.
“As a proof of our progress, Nigeria was ranked among the best improved countries for transparency in the latest global Open Budget Survey.
“We have made significant progress in the beneficial ownership transparency in Nigeria.
“We produced a roadmap of Beneficial Ownership Reporting in 2016.
By December 2019, we established Africa’s first Beneficial Ownership Register in the extractive industry.
In 2020, we amended our laws to expand Beneficial Ownership Reporting to all sectors of the economy.
“We are currently building a robust national Beneficial Ownership Database, which will be deployed to combat global criminal activities including illicit financial flows and terrorism financing.
“We are equally convinced the Beneficial Ownership disclosure policy will support our domestic resource mobilization.
” The president noted with delight that the Nigerian Government was encouraged at the last OGP Global Summit in Seoul, South Korea, as the country won the OGP Impact Award for commitment and progress on Beneficial Ownership Transparency.
“As part of our commitment to sustain the progress, I have just approved Nigeria’s membership of the Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group,” he said.
On extractive industry transparency, he said Nigeria as a leading member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, was appointed recently to chair the global network of 20 countries implementing contract transparency.
“Also, as part of a broader commitment to extractive industry transparency, we passed the Petroleum Industry Act which introduced sweeping reforms to enhance transparent and accountable governance of the oil and gas industry.
“In public procurement, we have established the Nigerian Procurement Portal, where citizens can monitor all government procurement processes in a transparent manner.
We are currently improving this system to achieve greater effectiveness,” he added.
He observed that one of the reasons the country had made this much progress was because “we have backed our verbal commitments with deliberate action, by including OGP implementation in the national budget to ensure sustainability of the partnership in Nigeria.
“With these steps we have taken, our administration will bequeath to the next government a culture of transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation in governance.
“We have worked hard to institutionalise the OGP by mainstreaming open government practices across our governance systems.
” He commended the national OGP team led by Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, who is the Government Co-Chair, and the Civil Society Co-Chair Dr. Tayo Adeloju, for their relentless efforts in advancing transparency and accountability in governance processes.
Earlier, Pradhan recalled that he was there in London in 2016, when President Buhari committed to the 77-member organization as Number 70.
He described Nigeria as “an excellent performer, one of the most open across the partnership”.
Pradhan also lauded the country for opening up its budget processes, contracts, procurement, and the extractive sector.
He advocated more reforms in disclosure of audit, establishing an e-procurement platform, and institutionalisation of OGP, among others.
Pradhan described Nigeria as a country “with open hearts, open arms of friendship and partnership’’.
The Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative, has commended the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), for operating ‘citizen-centric’ administration.
Mr Sanjay Pradhan, OGP’s Chief Executive Officer, gave the commendation when he led members of a delegation to the area council.
Pradhan said the OGP is aimed at building trust in government by ensuring that government activities are transparent to citizens.
He also said that the citizens must be allowed to shape and oversee activities that affect them.
Pradhan added that OGP was results-oriented, as it would encourage the citizens to do their part by paying their taxes.
“It is clear from this that you are committed to transparency, accountability, fighting corruption and I really salute you for that because that is the spirit of OGP.
He said the concepts of good governance and citizen centric administration are intimately connected.
In his remarks, Mr Christopher Maikalangu, Chairman, AMAC, appreciated the group for the visit.
He assured of his administration’s commitment to focus on OGP, in order to build a strong institution devoid of corruption.
The chairman said that he had since carried out a comprehensive audit of all the financial activities of the technical partners with the council on the revenue generation sector.
“This is to make an appraisal and recommendations that would promote best practices in the sector.
”This is in our efforts to attune to the focus of OGP which is to build a strong institution devoid of corruption.
“What is in the pipeline is the digitisation of all revenue generation and collection activities.
”We shall unveil this, in no distant time, in a bid to revamp performances of all revenue heads,” he said.
Earlier, Mrs Abiodun Essiet, OGP’s Focal Person in AMAC, said that the area council was committed to promoting fiscal openness in its engagement with clients.
According to her, this would improve services, manage public resources, promote innovation, create a safer community and improve citizens participation in governance.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from national and sub-national governments.
This is to promote open government, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
NAN also reports that Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) became a member of Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2020.
AMAC was the first local government in Nigeria to become a member of OGP.
The Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM), an accountability platform, has sought a working synergy with Kaduna State Ministry of Education to strengthen transparency and accountability in education service delivery.
KADBEAM citizens Co-chair, Malam Tijjani Aliyu, said during a courtesy call on the Commissioner, Hajiya Halima Lawal, in Kaduna, that the partnership was to improve the quality of education services.
Aliyu explained that KADBEAM was a permanent dialogue platform for government and citizens to co-create and co-implement programmes and policies in the education sector.
She added that the mechanism was being driven by citizens, civil society organizations, media, academia, SBMC, PTA, community leaders, education professionals and government officials with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry as the government co-chair.
This, according to him, is in line with the principle of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) that the state government had signed onto.
He added that the goal was to strengthen citizens’ engagement, transparency and accountability in the governance process and education service delivery in particular.
Aliyu called for the full participation of relevant departments and agencies under the ministry in the activities of the mechanism based on the formulation of the platform.
He said that the advocacy visit was also to improve working synergy and collaboration with the state government in delivering education policy priorities.
“We also want the ministry to support the OGP principle of co-creation, accountability, and transparency initiative of Gov. Nasir El-Rufai administration.
“Our expectation is for the ministry to enlist KADBEAM on the Project Monitoring Unit of the education sector.
“We equally want the ministry to deploy personnel and staff under the ministry, its departments, agencies and institutions in the Technical Working Groups of KADBEAM namely Evidence, Knowledge Management and Advocacy.
“KADBEAM also wants the ministry to facilitate the enrolment and placement of persons who have presented themselves for the state’s Second Chance Initiative,” he said.
He explained that KADBEAM had been providing feedback platform to the government on education investment, foster collaboration between state and non-state actors for improved service delivery in education He said that the mechanism also carried out advocacy, sensitisation, awareness creation and community mobilisation for education programmes and support policy formulation and implementation.
“We also involve in systems strengthening and capacity building for community-based groups, project and programme implementation monitoring, school support mechanism, institutional strengthening, stakeholder, and community engagement.” Mr Adejor Abel, State Lead Facilitator, Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn, a governance programme, said the programme would continue to support a positive working relationship between the government and the citizens.
Abel thanked the government and the ministry for opening the doors to work with citizens in line with the principle of open government partnership.
Responding, the commissioner thanked KADBEAM for supporting the state to improve the quality of education service delivery.
“We acknowledge the good work KADBEAM is doing in the education sector.
“The government would continue to open its doors to work with KADBEAM in the quest to improve the quality of education service delivery,” Lawal said.
Ms. Amaka Uzodinma of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) has called on Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra to use his security votes to prevent insecurity rather than quell it.
Uzodinma made the call at the Anambra Peacebuilding and Security Summit held in Awka on Saturday.
He said the fastest way to achieve resounding success in security and peacebuilding in the state was for the government to extend its security votes to other agencies that have responsibility for peace and conflict resolution.
Uzodinma said governors should use their security votes to quell security challenges rather than prevent conflict, consolidate peace and address insecurity challenges in the country.
He said governors spent so much on security equipment just buying bulletproof vehicles for security officers to combat insecurity challenges instead of preventing crimes that lead to conflict and insecurity.
“Governors spent so much money to quell security challenges without being stopped by security officers, they need to re-strategize their methods to address the impasse,” he said.
He said there was a need for governors to use their security funds wisely to harness the services of various peacebuilding and conflict resolution agencies and security watchdog groups to prevent crime.
Uzodinma said that the agencies tasked with peace-building and crime-monitoring responsibilities were underfunded and could not do much, but suggested that the government should use some of its security funds to support these agencies and achieve great results.
She said governors should support agencies that could reach out to the grassroots to educate them on the need to be peaceful and how to be a good neighborhood watch.
“Civil societies, National Guidance Agencies, human rights organizations, IPCR are the agencies that need funds to work very hard to ensure that crimes are prevented and peace is achieved in the state.
“Peace is very important in the growth and development of any nation, therefore, these groups must be empowered to assist the government in its ability to prevent crime through factual reporting on security issues and conflict resolution.
She said the government needs to have strong inter-institutional programs and capacity building so that women's organizations are well trained on what to do to help prevent crime and build peace.
She said women should be trained in early warning and early response and information gathering so that they can provide quality information to the government once they notice any wrong behavior instead of living in fear.
“If women are well trained on what to do whenever they notice anti-progressive attitude, they will play the role of sending urgent information about any misbehavior to the relevant agencies.
“If women, especially mothers, are well informed, they would be in a position to question their children and relatives who have antisocial behavior.
“The ability of mothers to question the strange achievements of their children would instill fear in their minds and make room for the good behavior of the young adult.
"Such controls would stop engaging in activities deemed anti-development, out there in society," he said.
Uzodinma said that the IPCR was located throughout the country, as the Head of the Southeast Peacebuilding Zone Office was domiciled in Anambra.
He said that it was the duty of the IPCR to partner with the governor to achieve peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
Uzodinma commended the governor for the strategy applied to address the state's security challenges and urged him to partner with the IPCR and related agencies to achieve resounding successes in areas of peacebuilding and consequences of insecurity.
Dr. Paschal Agbodike, Deputy Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, representing Ihiala II Constituency, urged all Biafran agitators to adopt the path of peace so that their goal is achieved at the table. of the dialogue.
Agbodike said that the area had suffered many economic and social development problems since the fighting began in August 2021 and that nothing significant would be achieved due to war.
He praised the governor for his inclusive leadership and asked for his support in seeing the state and other states in the southeast experience lasting peace and a return to normal business life.
Mr. Chris Azor, President of the Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET) and Co-Chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), said he was happy for the group's active participation in the Security and Peacebuilding Summit, organized.
Azor said that the event was born as a result of pressure from civil society for the state government to embrace dialogue as an imperative means of finding a lasting solution to the current insecurity in Anambra and, indeed, in the entire southeast.
“Civil society is of the opinion that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), should be released on bail to allow for further discussions and a lasting settlement.
“We are also of the opinion that the southeast should be given the opportunity to produce the next president of Nigeria for justice and fairness.
"You cannot say that the civil war is really over, when an Igbo man cannot have a chance to lead Nigeria, since the end of the civil war," he said.
“He implored the state government to institutionalize Social Protection and security, since there is currently no social protection policy in the State.
“Retired people do not receive a pension at the time and form. Elderly and unemployed youth are not served. Citizens are not willing to die for the state and the country.
“Good governance, transparency and accountability, a consultative and inclusive Permanent Dialogue Mechanism, and commitment to citizens are necessary.
“The government needs to partner with civil society and non-state actors for growth and sustainable development,” said Azor.
Ms. Franca Nwigbo, General Chairperson of the Nawfia Community in the Njikoka Local Government Area, who was present, said that the Governor's idea of calling all interested parties, regardless of political parties, was incredible.
Nwigbo said the governor's inclusive style and dialogue leadership skills will produce progressive results in security and conflict resolution.
Mr. Cyprian Okereke, Chairman of Orumba South Anambra Local Government Area, pledged his support to ensure normalcy in education, work and business fully returns in the state.
"The force can never achieve better results in human management," he said.
He praised the governor's ability to apply wisdom in handling the state's insecurity challenges.
Stakeholders from the Open Government Partnership (OGP) have called on the National Assembly to swiftly pass the SERVICOM Bill to improve its services to Nigerians.
Stakeholders made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, at a zoom meeting attended by MDA nodal officials, actors and non-state actors, among others.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the agency's achievements and the preparations for the public hearing on the SERVICOM bill, on February 9 in the National Assembly.
They said that a lead agency like SERVICOM needed legal backing to operate effectively and ensure service failure issues at MDAs were addressed.
Ms. Nnenna Akajemeli, National Coordinator of SERVICOM, expressed satisfaction with the engagement of stakeholders at the meeting aimed at driving service improvement for Nigerians.
“The meeting is in preparation for the public hearing on the SERVICOM bill that had gone through a second hearing in the National Assembly.
"The bill will enhance the agency's services to further impact Nigerians when it finally becomes law," he said.
According to Akajemeli, SERVICOM is the leading agency that is committed to improving service delivery in a strong partnership with all stakeholders, citizens for inclusion in government.
“We are working to connect citizens with the government and the government with the citizens; we are working to make service providers more responsible.
“It's time to start measuring, it's time to start collecting data on customer service experiences and bringing it into the public domain.
"And it's also time to empower the citizens who come to take government service," he said.
Mr. Chris Ugwuala, a non-state actor, expressed his optimism that passing the bill would guarantee the commitment that the Federal Government had made under the OGP Buhari initiative, which is registered with other world leaders.
“This will further ensure that Nigeria ranks highly as one of those countries that have met their obligations under OGP initiatives,” he said.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the Compact with All Nigerians, also known as SERVICOM, was instituted in 2004 as a mechanism to ensure the delivery of effective public services in Nigeria.Keep reading
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has ended the year on a bright note after it won an award as the overall best company in oil and gas reforms at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) global awards which was held in Seoul, South Korea.
Nigeria picked the award at the expense of other countries in Africa and the Middle East that were implementing the OGP at the summit of member countries, for setting up a Beneficial Ownership (BO) registry to end anonymous companies in the country.
The Deputy Director/Head Communications & Advocacy of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Obiageli Onuorah, said in a statement that a lot of factors were considered before Nigeria was picked for the award.
Onuorah said the summit considered the government’s overall commitment to reforms in the oil, gas and mining sectors and its support to NEITI to establish a beneficial ownership register of companies in business in Nigeria’s extractive sector.
Also considered were the broader reforms in beneficial ownership disclosure through the amendment of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the recent Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Commenting on the feat, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, expressed delight that the international community was beginning to assess Nigeria’s efforts at fighting corruption and deepening its democracy.
He described the award as impressive and encouraging, considering the political will and enormous resources the government had deployed to reposition the extractive industry to benefit all Nigerians.
The Minister of Fice, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, congratulated Nigeria on the award and noted that establishing a beneficial ownership register had helped Nigeria “track, reduce and arrest corrupt practices that are undertaken either beneficial owners of companies.”
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a partnership of 78 countries and 76 local governments – together representing more than 2 billion people – along with thousands of civil society organisations.NNPC at OGP Global Summit
They work together to make governments more transparent, less corrupt, participatory and responsive to its citizens.
Over 8,000 members of the OGP community voted in the Impact Awards, which had Tunisia and Ghana coming second and third respectively.
Still in the week under review, the Image Merchants Promotion (IMPR) recognised the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) as the best organisation in Community Relations activities.
This followed records of its impactful community relations projects across the country.
Speaking at the Award Ceremony in Abuja, the Chief Executive Officer of the IMPR, Mr Yushau Shuaib, said the recognition of the national oil company as the overall best in Community Relations category was purely based on visible multi-billion-Naira projects executed at its different operational locations and beyond.
Shuaib stated that the NNPC had ensured adequate utilisation of Public Relations strategies in the execution of community relations services, noting that the people-oriented initiatives were professionally driven.
“The award of N6bn worth of contracts to six oil and gas communities in Niger Delta and the revival of 5.4 hectares of land for the construction of a 200-bed capacity hospital and a diagnostic centre in Gombe State among others received wider publicity and commendations from beneficiaries,” he said.
Receiving the award on behalf of the NNPC Limited, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division and former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr Garba Deen Muhammad, said as a socially responsible entity, the company would continue to embark on CSR interventions that would add value to the society.
He pointed out that NNPC was one of the few establishments that had a policy document on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), saying that in spite of the current reality of Petroleum Industry Act that stresses profitability, the company would remain committed to its payoff – touching lives in many positive ways.
Some of the organisations in attendance were, Defence Headquarters (DHQ), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Security Service (DSS), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), among others.
In another development, the Works and Housing Minister Mr Babatunde Fashola dispelled insinuations that the NNPC was taking over the job of the ministry, stressing that the arrangement was coming under Executive Order 7, which existed during the last administration, but was never deployed.
The Minister made the disclosure during the symbolic presentation of cheque for the 21 critical roads funded the Tax Credit Scheme at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Shedding light on the scheme, the Minister said, “NNPC is not taking over roads, NNPC is not constructing roads, NNPC is just putting forward its tax liabilities to the authority who is supposed to collect, which is the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS).Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola
Fashola further made it clear that this is a tax credit intervention and essentially, the private sector company is putting forward what should have been its tax compensation for liabilities to government.
He explained that the scheme was not for one company alone as any company that was interested in it can apply to Federal Government.
Fashola said the Buhari administration amended the Executive Order 007 to give room for the roads to be impacted to be diverse and also allow smaller companies to come together as a group to use their tax liabilities for smaller roads that would aid their businesses.
He expressed happiness that the amendments attracted the interest of conglomerates like Dangote group, the oil industry which was stepping in with 600 billion Naira to address 21 roads covering over 1, 800 kilometres.
Speaking further on the amendment made , Fashola revealed that a governing process had been put in place that required the Ministry of Works and Housing to look into the certification, send them to FIRS for verification within five days, after which NNPC was expected to pay within 30 days.
He also said that an agreement had been reached with the contractors that nobody would ask for price variations even though some of the contracts were over 10 years old.
Also speaking, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC Limited, Malam Mele Kyari, described the initiative as remarkable because of the difference the funding would make in the country’s roads.NNPC GMD/CEO, Malam Mele Kyari
Represented Ficial Officer, Mr Umar Ajiya, the GMD noted that due to the incessant vandalism of the NNPC’s pipelines, the national oil company had resorted to hauling products by road.
“This is a very remarkable event simply because the condition of the road network in the country is affecting our business in our quest to participate in the energy security of Nigeria.
“These roads have also suffered some failure over the years and sometimes we find it difficult to pass the road.
“It is on that note, that we found it necessary and very important to step in to support the federal ministry of works in funding these numbers of roads,” he explained.
The Chairman, FIRS, Muhammed Nami, explained that the scheme would encourage taxpayers to use company income tax payable fix Nigeria’s critical infrastructure in exchange for tax credit.
“This tax credit is issued after a confirmation process has taken place using our audit procedures that verifies that monies that ordinarily should be invested in these roads are actually invested in the roads.
“Once that is done, we then issue a tax credit to the taxpayer.
“This is also to support the fact that there is a social contract between the taxpayers and the government.
“What government is using the Executive Order 007 to do is to give value to taxpayers’ money.
“This is unprecedented and very necessary for us to fix the roads in Nigeria because the annual budgetary allocations for these roads are not only minimal but absolutely insufficient.”
The occasion also witnessed the signing of an MoU, among the stakeholders, including the ministry, FIRS, NNPC Limited and the contractors.
Also in the week, a professor of capital market at the Nasarawa State University, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, called for the removal of fuel subsidy in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA.
Uwaleke who bared his mind on the development said that for the country to maximise the benefits of the PIA and attract investors to the oil and gas industry, especially the downstream, fuel subsidy had to stop.Prof. Uche Uwaleke
He said contrary to popular belief, according to the World Bank, it was the rich, not the poor who disproportionally benefits from Nigeria’s fuel subsidy.
Nigeria’s poor rely primarily on public transportation as such their per capita fuel consumption were significantly less than the country’s rich, who generally use private vehicles.
He therefore suggested that compensation schemes must be put in place to mitigate the impact of the removal.
On the topical issue of energy transition which had attracted global attention, he noted that fossil fuel would remain relevant and important for a long time to come, adding that Nigeria needed the revenue from the petroleum industry to develop the other sectors of the economy.
Also in the week, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) called for a paradigm shift in the relationship between the labour union and management with a view to promoting organisational profitability.
The outgoing Group Chairman of PENGASSAN, NNPC Group Executive Council (GEC), Comrade Victor Odor, stated this on Wednesday at the 6th Triennial Delegates’ Conference of the Council which held in Abuja.
Odor said given the new reality occasioned , there was need to review Union-Management engagement strategies to focus more on collaboration, synergy and support for policies that would improve the company’s revenue base and sustainability prospects.
He commended the GMD for the numerous initiatives geared towards the progress of the company.
Also speaking at the event, NNPC CEO, Kyari, said that the new NNPC would be driven profitability.
He noted that the PIA had provided the enabling structures to support the NNPC’s viability and growth.
The GMD who was represented Ficial Officer (CFO), Mr Umar Ajiya, stated that management would continue to leverage on industry-wide coverage to build a stronger national oil company that would support the growth of the nation’s economy.
“Our vision is to create an NNPC Limited that is driven profitability, and I am counting on the unwavering support of our in-house unions and all NNPC employees to achieve this.
“The PIA has certainly created a major restructuring and at the same time more opportunities for growth across the industry,” he said.
Kyari urged the union and staff to demonstrate practical commitment in the affairs of the organisation, assuring of job security for staff in compliance with the provisions of the PIA which guarantees that employees of NNPC as a Corporation were deemed to be employees of NNPC Limited on terms and conditions not less favorably enjoyed prior to their transfer of service.
Also, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr Garba Deen Mohammad and the Vice President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Matthew Duru, commended the Odor-led executive for providing quality leadership for the union in the last two years.Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr Garba Deen Mohammad
In another development, the Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company Limited (NPSC) had been urged to evolve new ways to boost its revenue generation and ensure cost optimisation.
NNPC’s Group Executive Director, Downstream, Engr. Adeyemi Adetunji gave the charge at a retreat organised .
He reiterated the need for the company to align itself with the post PIA NNPC
Speaking earlier, the Company’s Managing Director, Engr. Mansur Sambo said the aim of the retreat was to identify key challenges, best possible solutions, and strategies to make NPSC viable and sustainable in a PIA-driven era.
He explained that the essence of bringing together all Managers across NPSC was to identify the necessary steps that would reactivate and revitalise the revenue drivers as well as optimise the company’s operational cost.
He charged the Managers to be bold in making necessary business decisions, while assuring them of Management’s commitment and support towards the delivery of the Company’s mandates to grow and sustain its business.
The Leadership of the in-house union, Comrade Nurudeen Adetoro, Chairman, PENGASSAN and Comrade Baba Kaumi, Chairman, NUPENG, pledged their support to the new Management.
The Union urged the new Management Team to always work in collaboration with the members of Staff and Union.
On a final note, the Research and Innovation (RTI) Division of NNPC inaugurated NNPC Innovation Interface Community Hub (NIICH).Mrs. Betty Ugona, Chief Innovation Officer of NNPC RTI
The development was inspired to provide a forum for creative minds within the company to convert their ideas into valuable products and solutions.
The hub was designed to provide a platform to create and recreate new ideas as well as re-invent for the purpose of relevance, and resilience in the eco system where the industry operates.
Speaking at the launch, Engr. Betty Ugonna, Chief Innovation Officer of the NNPC, said the focus was to leverage on the interface community through the Hub inspire an innovative culture, and provision of services through viable solutions.
In his presentation, Group Executive Director, Ventures and Business Development, Dr Billy Okoye, stated that the directorate would do everything within its mandate to sustain the Hub.
The highpoint of the event was the formal launch of the hub by GMD/CEO of NNPC; Malam Mele Kyari through a virtual speech.
Subsequently, a virtual demo session of the hub was made by Engr. Ibrahim Ajiboye, the RTI’s Innovation Engineer for Digital Transformation.
The NIICH would provide for NNPC a forum for interactions, training sessions, webinars, periodic, evaluation and development of prototype ideas and innovations within the industry as well as with business partners.
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The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to transparency and accountability, to ensure the planning and implementation of the participatory budget through the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative.
Dr. Gloria Ahmed, Director, Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Fice, Budget and National Planning, said this at the peer learning workshop with civil society actors about the SFTAS program and its products on Tuesday in Lagos.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the OGP secretariat is an implementing agency of the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) program for results, with a schedule from 2018 to 2022.
The SFTAS program is mandated to provide technical assistance to states, to enable them to achieve the Linked Disbursement Indicator (DLI) 11.
Ahmed urged Nigerians to be open minded and support the federal government in monitoring and executing the budget.
“We encourage Nigerians to have an open mind, this government is committed to transparency and accountability, but it is not a one-man show, it is not what the government alone can do, we all have to work with it. government, ”he said.
Ahmed said that the essence of engagement with civil society was peer learning, because most of them were actively involved in the states' follow-up budget processes.
"We invite you from all the states of the federation to come and share your views, experiences throughout the years on how they monitor the states in terms of implementing the people's budget in line with the SFTAS mandate." added.
According to her, the government program supported the strengthening of fiscal sustainability, transparency and accountability of Nigerian states.
He urged Nigerians to participate in budget monitoring and implementation processes to promote transparency and accountability in government.
“CSOs are working, they have different actors working on this; Everyone needs to get their hands on the deck, within their own sphere, make sure they play their own role, not just the government, but that we are committed to doing the right thing, ”said Ahmed.
Ahmed, also National Coordinator of OGP, said that the Federal Government will continue to develop the capacity of CSOs to ensure the sustainability of SFTAS reforms beyond the program's schedule in 2022.
She revealed that the commitment will be extended to the various levels, such as state actors, to ensure the sustainability of SFTAS even after its expiration on December 31, 2022.
Also speaking, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, SFTAS communication specialist, said that OGP was an important partner in civil society engagement.
Mohammed said that the OGP mandate seeks to promote a participatory budget where citizens have the opportunity to participate in budget processes; not just participation, but to determine your development needs.
He noted that the introduction of SFTA had ensured openness in budget implementation with the government providing what citizens need, unlike in the past, when they determined it for them.
“We are encouraging citizens to participate in the budget process so that they can appropriate it, that is why we call it the citizen budget and the states are binding.
“It's all about promoting fiscal transparency and accountability, how people hold the government to account, if they don't participate in the budget process, they can't hold people accountable.
“So, that is why we are saying that people participate and the OGP is the agency that promotes this process in the states of the federation.
"They have been collaborating with civil society organizations to promote fiscal transparency and accountability," Mohammed said.
Dr Uzochukwu Amakom, Senior Expert on Public Judicial Management, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) - SFTAS program, said that SFTAS had increased transparency and accountability among state governors.
Amakom said the NGF had been providing technical assistance to states to ensure they enter the SFTAS initiative.
“Before it was difficult to see certain documents, but this time they are already available; If you want to download the budget of 36 states for 2021, you have access to them.
"This is what some people never knew will happen in the past, the audited fictitious statements are there to let the public know what is happening," he said.
Amakom emphasized the need for sustainability of the initiative even after the expiration of the schedule.
“CSOs and citizens must involve their states in a non-conflictive way because governance is inclusive and if you want to be part of it, you have to be a partner, you have to contribute your own idea.
"If we can maintain that Rome was not built in a day, if we build on what we have achieved in these few years and continue in that line, I think that in the next 10 years, everyone will be happy to do it," added Amakom.