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Goodluck Jonathan

Nigerian commissions new UAV


Written by Oscar Nkala, Thursday, 19 December 2013

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has commissioned the country’s latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which will be deployed as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance (ISR) platform in the fight against terrorism, maritime piracy and crude oil theft.

The UAV was unveiled in a ceremony on Tuesday attended by senior government officials and defence officials led by Air Force Chief of Staff Air Marshall Alex Badeh at the Kaduna Air Force base.

The aircraft, which has been named ‘Gulma’ meaning ‘gossip’ in the local Hausa language, was produced by the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) with the help of aerospace engineers from Cranfield University in Britain. Since 2007, the British institution has partnered the AFTI as part of the Nigerian government’s bid to develop an in-house capacity for advanced aviation design, research and development.
Powered by a 17 hp engine, the Gulma is built on a composite aluminium alloy structure, operates via radio control on a Micro Pilot FCS avionics system and weighs 40 kilogrammes.

It has a maximum cruise range of 923 km and a top flight speed of 86 knots. It can cruise at a maximum altitude of 10 000 feet and has an endurance of up to 5.8 hours. The AFIT team has so far trained 15 pilots to operate its growing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony Jonathan said the unveiling of the aircraft is a milestone in Nigeria’s bid to develop a domestic defence and aerospace industry.

“Besides its diverse military applications, the UAV provides us with a range of benefits in disaster management, power line surveys, law enforcement operations, telecommunications, weather monitoring and aerial imaging/mapping. It is also becoming an important tool in news coverage, environmental safety monitoring, and oil and gas exploration surveys,” Jonathan said.

He said that through innovative research and development programmes, the Nigerian Navy, Air Force and Army engineering divisions have in the course of this year produced the country’s first indigenous navy combat vessel, armoured personnel carrier (APC) and bomb detection and disposal equipment.

Badeh said the launch of the Gulma underlines the country’s strong resolve to achieve self-sufficiency in military aviation technology and capability. “The Gulma has been designed to meet vast expectations and needs. It could be employed by the armed forces and security agencies for the protection of Nigeria. We also envisage viable partnerships with agencies such as National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the area of disaster management and the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA) in the area of weather forecasting,” Badeh said.

He said the government should upgrade the AFIT from a limited innovative research outfit into a viable aircraft production centre with the capacity to mass-produce indigenous UAVs. Acting defence minister Labaran Maku said Nigeria needs a comprehensive policy to support the development of indigenous UAVs to enhance the operations of security services presently battling the Boko Haram insurgency in the north and maritime crimes and oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea and Niger Delta areas.

He said it is important for the Air Force to allow other security agencies to incorporate its UAVs into their operations so that the whole sector can make use of their full strategic potential. “Emphasis should now be placed on the harmonisation of our research and development programmes towards the attainment of a common goal to transform the Nigerian Armed Forces into one of the top fighting forces in the world.

“Working hand in hand with NAF and other (security) services, the Federal Ministry of Defence shall sustain its efforts at encouraging local content in its pursuit of military asset acquisition. Also the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigerian (DICON) shall be further empowered to provide support to the services in their respective and collective research and development efforts,” Maku said.

Earlier this year the Nigerian Air Force flew two indigenously developed unmanned aerial vehicles, which were presumed to be versions of the Amebo, which was unveiled at Air Expo 2012 in Kaduna. The Amebo I, II and III UAVs were developed by MSc students from the Air Force Institute of Technology. At the Air Expo, AFIT stated that test flights for Amebo I and II had been carried out by UK pilots in 2010 and 2011, but that a NAF pilot would perform the Amebo III test flight.

Nigeria: States urged to adopt public procurement system to enhance transparency


Nigerian Tribune

by  Gbolahan SubairAbuja

April 11, 2013

THE Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has advised state governors to set up a public procurement system as a way of ensuring further transparency and accountability in government.

Director-General of the BPP, Mr Emeka Ezeh made this call while speaking at a high level interactive session with a delegation of the Lagos State public procurement agency at the state house office in Abuja.

Mr Ezeh praised Lagos State for their procurement reform initiative, adding, however, that the nation would benefit as a whole if more states joined Lagos, even as few other states that have already introduced the reform.

The BPP boss emphasised the fact that there was no alternative to ensuring accountability, transparency and value for money in the public expenditure and contractive process if national development is to be guaranteed.

According to him, due process is the cardinal focus in the implementation of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda, and it is also a common mantra in the international economics system and development.

Mr Akin Onimole, the General Manager and CEO of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, who led the delegation on the familiarisation visit to the Bureau, emphasised the fact that the Bureau of Public Procurement has set a standard through its public procurement reform that should be emulated in all the states. He stated that the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency has, in the last few years, watched with keen interest the giant strides of the Bureau and as such is most willing to follow in the same path.

Nigeria Validates Manitoba’s Power-Mangement Contract


Bloomberg

By Elisha Bala-Gbogbo

Nov 21, 2012

Nigeria validated a power-management contract signed by Canada’s Manitoba Hydro Electric Board in July to run the state-owned power utility Transmission Co. of Nigeria after regulatory approval, the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the privatization agency, said.

“We have received ratification from the Bureau of Public Procurement and the contract has been certified,” Chukwuma Nwokoh, a spokesman for the Abuja-based privatization agency said by phone today. Under Nigerian laws, all contracts entered into by the government needs to be certified by the Bureau of Public Procurement.

Reuben Abati, a spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, on Nov. 14 announced the cancellation of the contract saying the correct procedure wasn’t followed. Manitoba “did not follow the law strictly” and initial report of the termination was a “misunderstanding,” Jonathan said on Nov. 18 in an interview broadcast on state-rub television NTA

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is selling majority stakes in power plants and letting private investors buy as much as 60 percent of 11 distribution companies spun out of the former state-owned utility as it seeks private investment to curb power shortages. Blackouts are a daily occurrence in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people. Demand for electricity in Nigeria is almost double the supply of about 4,000 megawatts and the government plans to boost output to 14,019 megawatts by 2013.

Bids worth more than $2 billion by companies including Siemens AG (SIE) and Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEP) were approved by the government for the sale of the companies on Oct. 30.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja atebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net

 

Nigeria: TCN Contract Cancellation, Yet Another Setback?


AllAfrica.com

BY YUNUS ABDULHAMID

November 15, 2012

The hiring of Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro, to manage the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) took the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) five years and enormous resources to conclude. It was seen by industry watchers as a major step forward for the power reform process. The cancellation of the contract by President Goodluck Jonathan could well be a major blow to the reforms.

Managing Director of Manitoba Hydro International in Nigeria Mr. Don Priestman yesterday expressed shock over the reported cancellation of its management contract to run the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for a period of three years.

He said his company was yet to get any official correspondence terminating the contract has been but they only learnt of the development on the pages of newspapers.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Priestman said: “I haven’t really received any formal notification yet. All I know is from the newspapers. So, we are also surprised and disappointed. We don’t understand the reason behind it but we are just waiting to receive a formal notification. I was hoping that sense would prevail and that it was just a question of time. We were willing to give time for the right decision to be made so we could get out of it.”

TCN is one of the successor companies created from the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). It combines the functions of a transmission services provider, a system operator and a market operator, all of which are central to the sustainability and development of the electricity sector.

Priestman said his next step was to, “wait for instruction from my head office.”

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation of more than 160 million and holds the world’s ninth-largest gas reserves but is blighted by power cuts which last several hours a day, forcing businesses and individuals who can afford them to rely on diesel generators.

The Federal Government is in the middle of privatizing the bulk of its power plants and distributing networks, in a reform process supposed to give foreign investors the confidence to provide the estimated $10 billion-a-year the electricity sector needs.

It all started with the ‘forced’ exit of Prof Barth Nnaji as power minister in August who investors and development partners said inspired confidence to invest.

Recently, the announcement of companies linked with controversial political money bags as preferred bidders for the unbundled units of the PHCN attracted hue and cry from stakeholders who expressed fear that they were being sold to government cronies.

An indication that all was not well with the TCN contract came to light on November 2, 2012 when Don Priestman spoke with newsmen at the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) conference in Abuja, where he had raised alarm that two months after the contract was billed to commence, his firm was still waiting to get the ‘delegated authority’ from the federal government to start work as provided by the contract’s terms.

Priestman had said: “The first month, August, was a transition month and according to the contract, starting the 1st of September, the schedule of delegated authority should have been issued, which would have given us full authority for running TCN. That has not happened. It’s unfortunate. I think you will have to ask the authority why not.

“We are ready and keen to proceed, we have the people here, we know what to do, we have done something similar in other countries with success. So we hope there won’t be much more delay before we can start doing what we came here to do. It’s difficult to do a job when you are not in charge. Right now we are working closely and we are observing, we are making suggestions but we are not in control.”

At the same event, however, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Mrs. Dere Awosika, who represented the Minister of Power, contradicted Priestman’s position.

She told newsmen when asked to clarify Priestman’s position: “Why do you think they are in this meeting? They are already working.”

When further asked if Manitoba was being incorrect and whether the schedule of authority was already in place, she said: “Am not saying so. You want us to just throw out the issue without smoothening ends.”

News, however, broke out on Tuesday night that President Goodluck Jonathan had cancelled the transaction. Reuters quoted Presidential spokesman Rueben Abati as confirming the cancellation of the transaction by President Goodluck Jonathan with immediate effect.

He was quoted as saying the power ministry would issue a statement as to why the deal was cancelled but till press time last night, the ministry had not.

The ministry’s spokesman, Mr Greyne Anosike, told Daily Trust on phone that a statement would be issued after full briefing.

The BPE kept tight lips last night when asked to comment. Its spokesman, Chukuma Nwokoh, said ‘no comment’ when asked the bureau’s reaction to the cancellation of the contract which took it five years to complete.

In September, when Manitoba was to resume as management contractors at the TCN head office in Abuja, PHCN workers stoutly resisted the move. They alleged their jobs were at risk given that the Federal Government had not finalized retirement and disengagement terms with them.

However, then minister of power, Prof Barth Nnaji, said Manitoba would bring only eight staff while existing indigenous staff would be in the shadow as deputies.

He said: “They (Manitoba) are not going to get rid of TCN workers but they will bring in a few people to work with the TCN people and more importantly, they will bring their expertise. They will bring in speed; be able to anticipate issues and problems and address them proactively. This is what we don’t have in the public service.”

The road to the appointment of Manitoba Hydro International of Canada has been long and tortuous. The process started five years ago by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007.

Manitoba Hydro International won the bid to manage the TCN through a bidding process and consequently signed the $23.7 million management contract with the bureau last July. The Power Grid of India lost out in the bidding contest.

The process was stalled during the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who rolled back the power sector reform and privatisation programme.

However, when Jonathan took over in 2010 and launched the Power Sector Road Map that same year, the Federal Government directed the BPE to continue with the process from where it had been stopped, rather than re-advertising for prospective companies to express interest all over.

Reports suggested that the president’s decision to cancel the contract was based on a memo sent by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), which for several weeks, had been pushing for its cancellation on the premise that it did not pass through due process as provided under the Public Procurement Act.

Director General of the BPP Emeka Eze was said to have kicked against the appointment of Manitoba because a few material irregularities had been noticed in the process that led to the company’s selection.

Eze was said to have informed the president through the memo that a management contract was distinct from a privatisation transaction or concession, and since the procurement of all Federal Government contracts, including those covering professional services are covered by the Public Procurement Act, the BPE should not have superintended the selection process.

Eze was also said to have insisted that if the BPP had overseen the procurement of the contractor, it is the Federal Executive Council (FEC) that should have approved the selection of Manitoba based on the bureau’s recommendation.

The president has reportedly directed the Ministry of Power to handle the selection of a new contractor for TCN within 30 days.

 

Nigeria: Cleaning Up Procurement


Council on Foreign Relations

By John Campbell

February 29, 2012

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Reportedly, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has invited World Bank officials to vet all federal government contracts. “Very soon we will get people from the World Bank to be at my office. For every contract we want to award, irrespective of the structures we have on the ground, they will assess it so that if a job is supposed to cost N10,000 and it’s awarded for N10,000, the likelihood that the contractor bribing anybody will be reduced,” Jonathan was quoted as saying.

World Bank Senior Communications Specialist Obadiah Tohomdet has said, however, that Nigeria has not formally contacted the World Bank over the vetting of procurement contracts. Tohomdet termed the scheme “an idea in the making by the President.”

Critics argue that setting up a World Bank contract review desk in the president’s office is “a vote of no confidence in the government.” They point to Jonathan’s failure to inaugurate the National Council on Public Procurement, as authorized by the Public Procurement Act of 2007, and his use of the Federal Executive Council to approve contracts. Osita Okechuckwu of the Conference for Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) stated that Nigerians “don’t need any foreign body to do the work we can successfully do.” Zakari Mohammed, speaking for the House of Representatives, noted that the World Bank experts may be paid in hard currency, which would be “another burden on government.”

Jonathan’s initiative is, in some ways, reminiscent of Liberian president Samuel Doe’s use of American financial experts in 1988-89 to help manage Liberia’s finances. The Opex (Operational Experts) project (pdf) consisted of seventeen experts who were given control over accounts in Liberia’s Ministry of Finance and the National Bank of Liberia. Their mission focused on improving revenue collection, expenditure control, and information processing systems.

The project experienced some success in bringing civil service, military, and pension salaries up to date and increasing revenue. However, after a year, the U.S. and Liberian governments mutually agreed to terminate Opex. Controls were circumvented and policy reform measures were not implemented. President Doe’s lack of commitment to the project proved especially damaging. Doe and his advisers retained control of some public funds outside the Ministry of Finance and would not give Opex access to them, as the funds formed the basis for patronage, power, and wealth.

Jonathan’s proposal appears to limit the World Bank experts’ role to an advisory one, rather than granting them control, yet a domestic backlash may be brewing among Nigerians who view the initiative as impinging on the country’s capabilities and sovereignty.

Removing corruption from procurement contracts also carries the potential to damage officials’ ability to dispense patronage, and is likely to be resisted as much in Nigeria today, as it was in Liberia in the late 1980s. Political systems in which patronage is deeply rooted are difficult to reform in part because of both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ pressures, according to University of Oxford (Jesus College) Professor Nicholas Cheeseman.

Successful politicians’ ability to push reform is limited by their indebtedness to those who have supported them, while at lower levels, people worry that if they stop acting on a patron-client basis, while everyone else continues to do so, they will lose out. “To my mind,” Cheeseman argues, “it is precisely the combination of pressure from above and below [that] is what ensures that patron-client relations are so durable.” While Jonathan’s proposal–reportedly still ideational–to reduce corruption in procurement contracts is commendable, it is likely to be governed by patronage networks’ ‘invisible hand.’

Public Procurement Act: FEC Directs Investigation, Prosecution of Company, Public Servants


ThisDayLive

By Ahamefula Ogbu

November 16, 2011

The Federal Executive Council Presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate and prosecute a contractor who allegedly used false documents to get a 1.6 kilometre road at Apapa for N2.2 billion.

The said company is to risk a five-year ban and fine of 25 per cent of the contract sum in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act from handling jobs in the country if found guilty of the said allegation of fake documentation or forgery while every officer involved would be liable on conviction to three years imprisonment.

Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Engineer Emeka Eze,  who came to brief State House Correspondents with the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, Minister of Education,  Raqquyyat Rufai, Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar and Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama, said he does not want to disclose the name of the company so that it would not run away and evade justice or interfere with investigations before prosecution, adding that they discovered the case during documentation.

He said that the amount should not be the issue as people may consider it mall but said it marks the resolve to enforce the law which will also not spare anyone or company found to have underhand dealings in public procurement…Read more.

Nigeria government orders audit of oil and gas sector


Reuters

January 18, 2012

(Reuters) – Nigeria’s government ordered a fresh audit of its entire oil and gas sector covering the last three years on Wednesday, the latest move to clean up corruption in Africa‘s biggest oil industry after a week of anti-government protests.

The move follows the opening of an investigation into the sector by the corruption watchdog and a separate Senate investigation into fuel subsidies — all announced this week.

As part of government’s anticorruption agenda, council today … approved the award of contracts to two audit firms to conduct a thorough audit of the accounts and activities of all government institutions and entities in the oil and gas industry from 2009 to 2011 with nine months completion period,” Information Minister Labaran Maku said.

President Goodluck Jonathan has come under intense pressure to clean up Nigeria‘s 2 million barrel per day oil sector, after a week of protests over fuel prices revealed public anger about corruption and waste of the country’ oil wealth.

Unions called off a week long strike on Monday, after Jonathan partly backed down on the scrapping of a popular fuel subsidy. He and oil minister Diezani Allison-Madueke promised prompt action to implement delayed reforms to the oil sector.

Maku named two Nigerian firms at the auditors: Haruna, Yahaya & Co. and Sada, Idris & Co.

“The audit would be carried out in all government revenue generating … institutions and entities in the oil and gas and solid minerals sectors of the country,” he said. “The audit firms shall access production, exports, imports and unaccounted oil and gas … and other relevant streams.”

On Monday Nigeria’s corruption watchdog on orders from Allison-Madueke launched an investigation into the subsidy system, sending agents to the state oil company and petroleum pricing regulator.

On the same day, her ministry announced that it had set up a committee designed to facilitate the passing of an oil bill meant to overhaul the entire sector.

Skeptics will point out that the Nigerian government has invited auditors into its oil and gas sector before — and failed to act on their reports.

A report compiled by international accounting firm KPMG into the opaque state oil company has been on the oil minister’s desk for a year, but no action has been taken on it yet.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah; writing by Tim Cocks; editing by Keiron Henderson)

Nigeria’s anti-corruption chief sacked


Africa News

Mabvuto Phiri

November 24 2011

The chairperson Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Farida Waziri, has been relieved of her duties. She was quite aware of this dilemma, which she captured aptly when she once observed: “If you fight corruption, corruption will fight back with everything it has got.”

On Wednesday, her battle against corruption came to an end as President Goodluck Jonathan relieved her of her job as the Chairman of Commission

She was said to have been informed of her sack by her aide who heard the news when it was broadcast.

President Jonathan has since appointed Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, who until now had been Commission’s Director of Operations, as acting chairman.

This development was contained in an electronic statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati and made available to the media.

But the statement did not disclose why Waziri was relieved of her appointment before the expiration of her tenure.

The statement reads: “President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Ibrahim Lamorde as the Acting Chairman/Chief Executive of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).\

Waziri was appointed EFCC Chairman by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 18, 2008 and confirmed by the Senate on May 27, 2008.

Waziri is a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG).

Nigeria: Jonathan orders screening of contractors


Vanguard

By Rotimi Ajayi

October 20, 2011

In a bid to reduce corruption and non-performing contracts in the Federal Civil Service, President Goodluck Jonathan  has ordered comprehensive screening of contractors and service providers for the Federal Government.

The directive was said to have been issued following a review meeting with some members of the National Economic Management Team after the recent retreat with members of the Organized Private Sectors where it was agreed that there was need to put sanity to awards of Federal Government contracts and jobs.

An indication towards the implementation of the Presidential directive was contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

The statement issued by the Director General of the Bureau, Emeka Ezeh, pointed out that arrangements had been concluded to commence registration, categorisation and classification of all Federal Government contractors, consultants and service providers.

The Director-General stated that the project would revolutionise government procurement process and encourage more transparency and efficiency in the procurement process.

According to him, the objective of the database is to register, classify and categorize contractors, consultants and service providers as a platform of verification by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), other entities, and interested organisations. It will also ensure that contractors, consultants and service providers of equal competencies and capabilities bid for specific jobs.

He added that the project would create an electronic interface with stakeholders and deepen the capacities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and their leaderships to attain full compliance with the provisions of the Act in order to positively transform the economy of Nigeria.

He said, “the usefulness of the Act in Government’s obvious responsibilities, particularly in implementing strategic and sustainable plans to develop infrastructural facilities cannot be overemphasized. This is not just to fulfil a basis responsibility of government but also in order to attain the proposed Vision 20:2020.

“The benefits of the procurement reform process importantly correlate with the present administration’s transformation agenda.  This agenda, as articulated by government seeks to vigorously implement the initiatives or programmes that will enhance the Administration’s strategic plans for Economic Growth.

“The ultimate objective of the Bureau is to ensure that all Federal procurements are strictly done in compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, and that all ongoing projects are in line with sectoral targets and priorities. It is when viable ongoing projects are adequately funded, completed and commissioned that the populace will be the better for it.”

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