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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 : The great $6.8bn oil scandal


The revelation of gargantuan levels of corruption in the government’s fuel subsidy programme is sparking a groundswell of activity among the opposition and civil society groups.
Opposition politicians, civic activists and trade unionists are joining forces this month to demand action against grand corruption at the heart of government. They promise it will be their biggest show of strength on Nigeria’s streets since protests in January that forced the government to back down on its plans to abolish the fuel subsidy scheme.
At the core of the opposition protests in June will be the findings of a parliamentary report released on 23 April that reveals the government presided over the loss of $6.8bn from its fuel subsidy programme from 2009-2011 through theft and mismanagement.
The government misread public feeling on the fuel subsidy,” says Tunji Lardner, executive director of Lagos-based information platform WANGONeT. “Hundreds of  thousands of small businesses and millions of jobs were set up the basis of the subsidy – protecting that and prosecuting corruptionis a popular cause,” he explains.
Adding to the opposition’s anger are allegations that more than N4.5bn ($28m) has been stolen from pension funds administered by the office of the head of the civil service. State investigators suspect the extent of pension fraud in the country is far larger.
This, together with the government’s announcement expected on 1 June that it will increase electricity tariffs by 50%, will ignite a new round of popular outrage, say activists. A government commissioned report on corruption in the oil export sector, coordinated by former anti-corruption czar Nuhu Ribadu, is also due out in the coming weeks. Insiders say it will make more explosive revelations. National secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties Osita Okechukwu says: “It’s a perfect storm for the government.Weare taking them to the High Court for breaching the constitution, but you will also see protests backed by opposition parties and the trade unions.” Read more.

Nigeria: Subsidy Fraud Incorporated – Fresh Scandal Surrounds FG’s Committee


AllAfrica

Parliamentarians involved in subsidy scam.

By Jide Ajani

July 22, 2012

ANALYSIS

This will shock you. It is the report of Sunday Vanguard’s painstaking investigation with sources inside Aso Rock Presidential Villa, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, the Petroleum Equalization Fund, PSF, and the Petroleum Support Fund, PSF, just to mention a few.

It is about the serial complicity of some operators in the oil industry, government agencies and high ranking government officials in a mélange of corrupt practices occasioned by cover ups, deception and deliberate misinformation to unsuspecting members of the Nigerian public. It is a story of conflict of interest regarding those investigating and verifying the claims of marketers, a story of filth and willful negligence fueled by insatiable greed.

It was an innocent memo; but panic oozed from it.

The genesis of what has today become the fraud in the management of subsidy funds all started with a directive from the Federal Government of Nigeria. Although the House of Representatives Committee which investigated the management of subsidy on petrol presented its report which has become mired in scandalous controversy, occasioned by a bribery saga, the several committees set up by the federal government may not be about to get to the root of the matter by calling a spade a spade – there is the Nuhu Ribadu committee set up by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; there was the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede committee; and now there is another committee which just submitted its report penultimate weekend, headed again by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

Switching into a panic mode, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led government of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, sensing that long queues at the petrol stations across the country represents a clear and present national security challenge, sent a memo to the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPRA. This was in October, 2008.

Dated October 20, 2008, the memo, signed on behalf of the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, from the Presidency came through the SGF’s (PARASTATALS DEPARTMENT, GENERAL SERVICES).

The reference: SGF. 19/S.53/II/

The title of the memo: “RE: OUTCOME OF THE STAKEHOLDERS MEETING ON IMPORT PLAN FOR 4TH QUARTER, 2008/REVIEW OF PSF IMPLEMENTATION”.

“I am directed to refer to your letter Ref. No. A.1/1/228/C.7/III/468 of 16th October, 2008”, the content of the letter reads, “on the outcome of the stakeholders meeting of 14th October, 2008 to harmonize import plan for November and December, 2008 and to convey the approval of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for:

“1) The import plan for November – December, 2008 as harmonized with the marketers during the stakeholders meeting and as recommended; and

“2) The participation of the recommended companies with storage facilities or valid throughout agreement that have completed the necessary due diligence processes to import the products in order to sustain adequate supply in the system.

“I am to further inform you that you are required to submit a report on the performance of the participating companies to this Office at the completion of the import exercise.

“Please accept the warm regards of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation”.

What had happened just before that memo was that the PPPRA had recommended that there was need for an expansion of the frontiers of fuel importation into the country and had, therefore, requested an approval from the Presidency.

Whereas possession of storage facilities was an earlier condition precedent, the need to include importers who had valid throughout agreement, with a view to making the product more available became inevitable.

In fact, some of the marketers who preferred to speak on conditions of anonymity made it clear that most of the “so called major marketers were actually in agreement with other lesser known importers who took the risk of financing and importation of petroleum products”. But this was to open the floodgate.

HOW SUBSIDY FRAUD IS COMMITTED

One of the major points where the fraud is committed is the Atlas Cove Jetty, Apapa, Lagos, which is Nigeria’s major delivery and re-distribution point for refined petroleum products. The second, strategic, point is represented by the plethora of depots in Lagos.

Atlas Cove, first built in 1979, and rebuilt by Julius Berger in 2000, is owned and managed by the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as a storage farm/facility that channels refined products through System 2B pipelines that runs through Ejigbo (a suburb in Lagos). These pipelines supply petroleum products to the entire Western region of Nigeria, Kwara and Edo States. Depots served by the Atlas Cove Jetty include Mosimi, Ore, Ibadan and Shagamu. The Atlas Cove Jetty is also used to off-load coastal vessels as well as pump petroleum products to the Atlas Cove Depot for storage.

This command center for refined petroleum products is administered from Abuja by the PPMC, a subsidiary of the government owned NNPC.

A very dependable source at Atlas Cove told Sunday Vanguard that the country had always been held hostage by the petrol import cabal in connivance with the government that claims to be serving and protecting Nigerians.

A source said what has been in place at Atlas Cove can best be described as “round-tripping, as some of the marketers with allocation for importation are involved in the scheme.

According to the source, “they bring in a particular amount of refined product, declare the product on arrival to the relevant government agencies’ staff (DPR, PPPRA, Petroleum Equalisation Fund, PEF) and after these officials have okayed the product quantity in preparation for subsidy application, about half of the product originally meant for domestic consumption would then be diverted to other neighbouring West African states”.

In the case of private depot owners, “some of them doctor the figures they submit with a view to making undeserving claims. The quantity of products discharged some times does not tally with the inflated figures that are recorded.

It is one big, very big conspiracy. The importers are involved; the depot owners are involved; the people who are supposed to verify the claims are also involved. People collect subsidy for what they did not import. That is why the figures and claims keep going up. Those involved know themselves; and those to whom they make returns also know themselves. It is for government to dig deep and find these people out”, the source concluded.

Had it been limited to these categories of people alone, the corruption associated with the subsidy funds may not have assumed the humongous nature it assumed. But there were all manner of petty crooks in the toga of government officials and importers as well as depot owners who doctored records.

For instance, those with “valid throughout agreement that have completed the necessary due diligence processes to import the products” also connive with depot owners to make illegitimate claims.

CAUSE OF PANIC BY FG

Back to the FG’s memo of 2008! Before the memo, there was beginning to appear at gas stations across the country long vehicular queues. The PPPRA, Sunday Vanguard has been made to understand, designed a seemingly “more flexible import plan” which accommodated a few more companies.

There was need for the federal government to approve the arrangement made by PPPRA. That was the message conveyed by the letter from the Office of the SGF.

But it was not a magna charta for PPPRA to enthrone a regime of recklessness.

However, what was to follow was to create its own muddle.

On January 21, 2009, the federal government decided to reduce the pump head price of petrol.

The consequence of that was the creation of even longer queues.

Importers and marketers began to complain and there was need for the federal government to address their concerns.

Therefore, through the PPPRA, the FG summoned a ‘Technical Committee’ meeting of stakeholders. The meeting was held on Thursday, January 29, 2009.

A source in the Office of the SGF made Sunday Vanguard understand that the meeting needed to be called because “the government of the day was beginning to feel that there might be sabotage because of the growing shortage of petroleum products”.

At the meeting that day, there were representatives of NUPENG, PPMC, MOMAN, DPR, PENGASSAN, Ministry of Petroleum, IPMAN, TUC, CBN, DAPPMA, and a host of other stakeholders. It was at that meeting that marketers complained of the removal of standard deviation from the PPPRA Template.

After the meeting which lasted hours, resolutions were reached.

A copy of the resolution obtained by Sunday Vanguard reads: “On the issue of exchange rate, it was agreed that the CBN Marginal Rate plus 1% CBN commission and 1% bank charges should be added in the Template.

“Members agreed that the Freight Rate based on the 2009 World Scale will be considered

“For the financing cost element, it was agreed that the PPPRA should confirm bank interest rates and other charges that make up the cost and come up with a submission.

“Members agreed that the PPPRA should adopt the weighted average of Port Charges (NPA), on the Pricing template.

“Members agreed that the PPPRA should update the Pricing template with the reviewed parameters, and present same to the next meeting for consideration.

“The meeting advised that recommendation should be made on the need to dialogue with the NPA with a view to reducing their charges.

“In addition, the PPPRA may also seek intervention in the FOREX by exploring the possibility of a special window for an exchange rate for the wet products that capture a reasonable rate that guarantees predictable products importation”.

The resolutions of this meeting were conveyed to the federal government in a letter with reference number A3/9/118/C.7/T/84, on February 5, 2009.

However, typical of government activities in Nigeria, there was no immediate response.

This was at a time when the federal government brought down the price of petrol from N70 to N65. This led to serious shortages and queues were once again back at the filling stations.

Sunday Vanguard was informed by an industry source that the PPPRA “was instructed by the Office of the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources to immediately address the Marketers complaints with a view to eliminating long queues at the filling stations”.

It was in addressing that challenge that some smart Nigerians, made up of bankers and government officials, along with importers began to make the kill, as disclosed above.

COMMITTEES APLENTY AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The probe into the shady deals was first instituted by the Senate under the chairmanship of Senator Magnus Abe. Then came the drama of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Subsidy Management, with Hon. Lawan Farouk as chairman. The Senate Committee is yet to conclude its work. But the Farouk Committee which concluded its work has been entrapped by s bribery scandal involving a member of President Jonathan’s Economic Management Team, EMT, Femi Otedola of Zenon Oil and Gas,

Sunday Vanguard was informed last week in Abuja that the banks were also part of the problem, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Of particular interest is one of the banks whose Chief Executive is involved in some form of remedial activities being engaged by the FG.

Pouring through tones of documentary evidence, Sunday Vanguard was exposed to a verity of LETTERS OF CREDIT ostensibly opened for the transaction of fuel importation.

And whereas it could not be established during this investigation that the banks were directly involved in any form of “sharp practices”, according to a source, “the status of the committees chaired by Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede of Access Bank can not escape the tar of conflict of interest”.

Whereas there was documentary evidence to prove that, like most other banks, Access Bank was involved in the financing of businesses conducted pursuant to importing petrol, the choice of Aig- Imoukhuede as the chairman of two committees involved in the verification of claims regarding subsidy does not in any way present the FG as conducting its investigations in an unbiased manner.

Firstly, some marketers and industry sources disclosed to Sunday Vanguard that “conducting a verification exercise the way the first committee set up by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister and co-ordinating minister for the administration’s EMT did, revealing that over N400billion should be refunded to the government, a sum which the committee said constituted wrongful payments, how would anyone explain the fact that the chairman of the committee also runs a bank that was involved in the business of financing importation of petrol?

“It was because some importers raised an alarm about the unfairness of the first committee by not allowing them to come forward and defend themselves that made Mr. President to set up another committee but again with the same individual as its chairman. This is not about the person of Aig- Imoukhuede but, in coming to equity, there is need to come with clean hands. It does more harm than good to the FG to appoint the chief executive of a participating bank to verify subsidy claims. Some of us know what Aig-Imoukhuede represents but it is not even in his interest to chair such a committee. Nigerians are watching and the insinuation is already there that all these is about man-know-man”, the source said.

Reminded that some of those who benefited from the subsidy wrongly are being prepared for prosecution, the source, who is one of the major importers, maintained, “Who does not know what will happen at the end of the day? Some of those that would be arraigned would be the ones who are not connected. Yes, some people would be prosecuted but the real issue here is the role of conflict of interest.”

When you add up the Senator Abe Committee, the Farouk Committee, the Ribadu Committee, the first Imoukhuede Committee and the second Imoukhuede Committee, the question to ask is, where would all these lead?

In addition, the role of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is gradually coming to light as inside sources say the commission is about to break loose.

HOW NOT TO TRACK SUBSIDY ROUGUES

Yet, investigations have revealed that there is a very simple (even simplistic) approach to tracking the subsidy thieves.

A very dependable source inside Aso Rock Presidential Villa disclosed to Sunday Vanguard that on December 24, 2010, a near scandal almost broke out when the PPPRA issued a “Request for a notarized Letter of undertaking on accuracy of petroleum products supply and evacuation records”.

The Presidency source disclosed that the move to ensure that all petroleum products importers and depot owners sign an undertaking of performance was first rebuffed.

“It was an attempt at ensuring that depot owners and importers do not engage in what has now become the sharing of the subsidy loot. When we got hint of the move, it was seen as a welcome development by some but again, there was need to ensure that a dislocation is not created in the supply chain for the availability of products as this was coming close to an election period”, the source said.

Even at that, Sunday Vanguard was able to discover that all the importers and depot owners were made to sign the undertaking that they would be straightforward in their dealings.

In fact, the undertaking that was signed by the importers and marketers also had penalties which, apart from leading to prosecution, also has the stringency of forfeiture of depots in the event that records are not accurate. Now, the PPPRA introduced a checklist.

Nigeria to commission first locally built warship


DefenceWeb

June1, 2012

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan will today commission Nigeria’s first locally produced warship, the NNS Andoni, at the Nigerian Naval Dockyard in Lagos.

The 31 metre long Nigerian Navy Seaward Defence Boat had its keel laid at the Naval Dockyard in December 2007, with full construction beginning in January the following year, according to Nigerian media. Between January 2008 and April 2009 the superstructure and shell were completed, but construction was delayed due to funding issues until Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral OS Ibrahim approved extra funding.

Ibrahim late last month said that the vessel was “the first warship constructed locally in the West African subregion.” He added that it was a bold step taken by the Navy as part of the governments’ transformation agenda.

The vessel was conceived as a research and development project by Vice Admiral GTA Adekeye and Rear Admiral GJ Jonah, who were at the time Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of Naval Engineering respectively.

The NNS Andoni is believed to be inspired by the 35 metre Argungu class patrol craft (NNS Argungu, NNS Yola, NNS Bras, NNS Epe) supplied by West Germany in the 1970s.

Jonathan is also expected to lay the keel of a second Seaward Defence Boat, according to Field Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Olufemi Ogunjimi. The Nigerian Navy is expected to receive nearly two dozen new acquisitions under this year’s defence budget.

In strengthening its military capabilities, Nigeria has paid particular attention to improving security in the Niger Delta and off its 780 kilometre long coast, where it has numerous oil installations.

Jonathan recently approved the purchase of two new 1 800 t Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for the Nigerian Navy, which will use them mainly for maritime surveillance, patrol and response tasks. Other roles of the vessels would be protection of offshore assets, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) patrol and surveillance, search and rescue and oil spill control.

The contract for the two OPVs was signed on April 18 this year, with China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited, the trade arm of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). The first will be built in China while around 70% of the second one will be built in Nigeria in order to enhance local capability through technology transfer. They will be delivered in around three years time.

The OPVs will be 95 metres long, with a draft of 3.5 metres. They will be powered by two MTU 20V 4000M diesel engines, giving a speed of 21 knots per hour, and will be armed with one 76 mm and two 30 mm guns. Crew complement will be 70 sailors and endurance 20 days. They will be able to carry and support a helicopter off a rear deck.

The 2012 Defence Budget Proposal makes provision for three Shaldag Mk III fast patrol craft, three 24 metre coastal patrol craft and six 17 metre Manta Mk II ASD littoral interceptors (total cost N2.2 billion/US$13.7 million). In addition, the purchase of helicopter and ship spares will amount to N1.04 billion (US$6.5 million), according to Budget Office documents.

The FY2011 defence budget approved the acquisition of two offshore patrol vessels, the refurbishment of six coastal patrol craft by TP Marine and the delivery of nine Manta Mk II ASD craft.

French shipbuilder OCEA is building the three 24 metre coastal patrol craft and commenced sea trials of the first vessel on March 13. Delivery is expected this month.

The Suncraft Group is expected to construct the six Manta Mk II ASD vessels, bringing the total ordered over the last several years to 21. The Manta Mk II first entered service with the Nigerian Navy in 2008.

Nigeria’s Navy is seeking government approval to acquire up to 49 ships and 42 helicopters over the next ten years to police the nation’s territorial waterways and Gulf of Guinea, according to Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ishaya Ibrahim.

The Nigerian Navy has been allocated N69 billion (US$433 million) under this year’s budget while the Army has been allocated N122 billion (US$766 million), and the Air Force N64 billion (US$402 million), reports the Nigerian Budget Office. The navy has about 7 000 personnel.

Nigeria: Stop Giving Contracts to Unquoted Firms -Yuguda


Flag of Lagos
Image via Wikipedia

Daily Trust

By Chris Agabi

November 4, 2011

LagosBauchi State governor Alhaji Isa Yuguda has called on both the federal and state governments to stop awarding contracts to large firms who are capable being listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) but refused to do so.

Large firms, most of them multinationals, in the telecoms, oil and gas companies, airlines, fast moving consumer goods and the construction sectors have refused to get quoted on the NSE, he observed.

Industry experts say if these firms get listed on the floor, they will help make the market robust and make its recovery easier in time of financial shock as was experienced in 2008.

Governor Yuguda spoke at a public policy forum organized by the Business Hallmark on ‘Restoring Market Confidence in an Era of Economic Uncertainties: Challenges and Prospects’ held in Lagos yesterday. He based his position on the context that quoted companies’ profits are more widespread because of the large shareholder base and by extension creates more wealth an economy than unquoted ones.

According to him, it makes more economic sense for government to support quoted companies than unquoted companies.

Besides patronising quoted companies as a prerequisite for award of government contracts, he advocated for a deliberate effort to get the companies listed on floor of the NSE such tax holidays for quoted firms.

He advised the stock exchange to introduce measures that will improve market liquidity, boost investors confidence, raise issuer confidence, and ensure investors protection to attract and retain investments.

Speaking on the challenges of the market, he said lack of sufficient liquidity, insufficient investor protection, high expectations for regulatory compliance and lack of market depth remain the biggest challenge of the market.

Governor Yuguda also tasked the NSE to bite some more as a regulator and reform internal operations.

Particularly, he said full disclosure by quoted companies must be enforced by NSE, brokerage firms be recapitalised, enforce corporate governance, and shorten the listing process.

The Nigerian million march


Next

By Segun Balogun

September 11, 2011

Why this project at this time?

This project serves two purposes: to set the agenda for the new administration to the effect that lack of electricity in Nigeria will be first priority and nothing else. And to create a greater awareness that, the lack of electricity denies Nigerians of their fundamental basic necessities of life.

We want to drive this point home to the Nigerian leadership and as such, we are calling for a simultaneous peaceful Nigerian Million March set for October 24th, in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, London, and several locations in the USA; to express our discontent and to bring global attention to this problem and, with the hope of forcing and pressing our leaders to perform. We are also encouraging the citizens of Nigeria around the globe who are not fortunate to be physically present at any of the locations, to organise a march wherever they reside.

Many Nigerians have different sordid electricity tales to tell. You live in the US, so what sordid tale kick-started this project?

The date was Thursday February 3rd 2011. I read an article in a Nigerian newspaper titled “Government intensifies effort to generate power from nuclear sources.” I could not believe what I just read. As a nation we are not able to effectively manage a conventional power grid and, here we are “intensifying effort” at Nuclear power. This, to me, is a brazen “Bait and Switch” scheme, perpetrated to suction our money for the next 100 years.

I was livid, to say the least, and was madly upset after reading the article. Enough already. I slapped the dining table. This is another ploy of diverting attention from solving the pressing electricity crisis. We are about to embark on another white elephant project, a very dangerous one for that matter.

All Nigerians should be mad too. Nuclear power is no child’s play. In the United States, no community wants such a project in their neighbourhood. It’s called a “NIMBY” (Not In My Back Yard) in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan due to earthquake. The country is now planning to eventually phase out operation of nuclear plants. Germany is also planning a gradual phase out as well due to high risks involved in nuclear plant operations. It requires an astronomical technical capabilities and a world class maintenance culture. May I remind us of our maintenance culture? Zilch.

All things considered, the idea of Nuclear plant operation in Nigeria is a joke like many other projects such as the Ajaokuta project, the refineries. Nigerians, we need to wake up, and stop this nuclear train idea before, it leaves the station. Otherwise, we’ve got another giant sucking “black hole” scheme coming.

But federal government claims it is investing huge sums in the power sector, especially since the roll out of the power sector roadmap…

Of course, we at ‘Let there be light in Nigeria’ project group agree that huge sums of money were being poured into power sector. What is annoying is the excuse that government officials keep telling us such investments have “gestation period.” That’s the “Nigerian leader swagger talk” and it’s a code to cover up for business as usual, another contract fund embezzled.

Show us the project plans, the Scope, the Master Schedules, the Milestones, the Period of Performances, the deliverable dates on these contracts, rather than talking about “gestation” period.

There are thousands of contract that are several years past delivery due dates. Can someone show us a one mile radius in Nigeria today that has consistently sustained un-interrupted electricity supply, even after the huge sums of money that were poured unto the power sector?

It’s high time we expressed our major discontent against our leaders and press them very hard to start delivering on the electrification power contracts and to stop their wicked and cruel ways of continuously raking us over.

What exactly should Nigerians be demanding from government?

Transparency and accountability. At least, power issues do not fall under classified information. We want to know what happened to the funds expended on numerous contracts that had been awarded. Without this, we believe more investments will not necessarily solve the problem if, it keeps going the same route as the old investments.

We just want this electricity problem taken care of promptly and efficiently and we realise electricity is not a peculiar problem. There are plenty of solutions everywhere and around the globe to choose from…Read more.


Modes of Punditry, Modes of Influence


Woldbank.org

August 10th, 2011

By Sina Odugbemi

Years ago, I was a writer of opinions and editorials on the leading newspaper of influence in Lagos, Nigeria. We had on the editorial board  advisers to we the writers men who had vast experience of government and business both within and outside Nigeria. I learned a lesson from them that has stayed with me. They taught me that if you want policy makers to take you seriously even when they disagree with you, your commentary must meet two requirements.

What is saddening about our age of volubility is that the vast majority of public affairs commentators do not meet these two requirements. Lots of commentators do not have real mastery of the policy issues they are commenting on. Plus there is an epidemic of cheating, of ignoring political realities and simply assailing policy makers and leaders, and yelling: ‘Just fix it! Just show leadership!’ Leadership is coming to mean Performer of Miracles! Read more

Two foreign firms to establish fish feed factories in Nigeria


Lagos Island and part of Lagos Harbour, taken ...
Image via Wikipedia

Afrique Avenir

April 20th, 2011 in BusinessNews

APA Lagos (Nigeria) The president of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria (FISON), Dr Abba Abdullah, has said that two foreign fish feed firms are to set up factories in Nigeria soon.

Abdullah told journalists on Tuesday in Lagos that the factories would ease the challenges of aquaculture production in Nigeria.

He explained that one of the companies is the largest fish feed producer in the U.S. while the other from Paraguay will soon be in Nigeria to seek potential partners.

“With this new development, it is hoped that the cost of feeds would reduce and there will be qualitative feeds available for fishes in the country,” Abdullah said.

Abdullah also revealed that the association would be collaborating with the Auburn University, Alabama in the U.S for the training of its 10 association members up to MSC and PhD level in aquaculture.

The FISON chief disclosed that the collaboration would specifically include exchange programmes, including certification of aquaculture professionals.

According to him, we have many biologists, zoologists, veterinarians, among others, who can be helped to become real aquaculture specialists to enhance fish production.

High cost of fish feed has been the bane of the fisheries sector of the Nigerian economy.

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