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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.

Nigerian ICPC uncovers government contract scam


SupplyManagement

20 December 2013 | Gurjit Degun

At least 156 companies have forged tax certificates to bid for government contracts in Nigeria, according to the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

It follows a preliminary investigation by the ICPC and trebles the number of firms initially suspected of fraudulent activity. Last month, the Bureau of Public Procurement reported 50 companies to the ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Folu Olamiti, spokesman for the ICPC, said: “Preliminary investigations indicate about 156 of these companies may face prosecution for using fake tax clearance certificates.”

The ICPC advised tax authorities to learn good practices from states that have tamper-proof tax certificates.

“They should create electronic platforms to synchronise with the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System and automate the issuance of tax clearance certificates annually to public service employees so as to reduce the incidence of illegally acquiring certificates from easier sources,” the commission said.

The ICPC has not revealed the names of firms involved.

Kenya: Parliament to investigate procurement of luxury jet by Deputy President William Ruto


Standard Digital

By Geoffrey Mosoku

Parliament has summoned top Government officials over the controversy surrounding the procurement of a luxury jet used by Deputy President William Ruto in May on an Africa tour.

Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo, Registrar of companies and Secretary of Administration in Ruto’s office Abdul Mwaserrah are to appear before MPs on Tuesday. The three are to shed light on the procurement of the jet and circumstances under which the documents on the hiring of the jet disappeared.

The registrar in particular will help the Ababu Namwamba-led PAC to unearth the directors of a local company that was involved in the procurement.

Ruto and his delegation flew in the jet to West Africa and Central Africa countries of Nigeria, Congo, Gabon and Ghana in May this year with claims that the trip cost the taxpayers Sh100 million. However, the Office of Deputy President later provided documents to prove that they paid about Sh18.5 million to the jet company.

Dennis Kariuki, a director at Auditor General’s office wrote to Parliament saying it was not possible to ascertain the cost of hiring the jet after leaves from a chequebook used went missing. Also missing are two local service orders used to hire the aircraft from Vistajet Company.

Tuesday, the PAC was told President Uhuru invoked the Executive Order in hiring of the plane that took Ruto and his team on the tour. The committee is investigating circumstances under which the plane was hired, and how much was paid by the Government.

Buyers must take responsibility for change


SupplyManagement

11 July 2013 | Adam Leach

The halls of Ghana’s National Theatre reverberated with a symphony of supply chain chatter at the CIPS Pan-Africa Conference. Procurement professionals from across Africa filled the grand structure to gain insights from leading lights of the profession. Over the two days, topics from countering corruption, transforming the function into a strategic asset and the growing importance of transparency were discussed. But between each issue, there emerged a common thread: the importance of the buyer as an individual.

The procurement profession in Africa faces a great many challenges. Public money being diverted to unwanted destinations remains rife and there is an ever-growing need to increase the value accrued through its plentiful supply of natural resources. The collective power and determination that was evidently infused in the delegates present served to show that things are going in the right direction. But as almost every speaker highlighted, the continued development of the function lies on the shoulders of individuals.

Edward Siwela, director of the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe, set an inspirational tone in his presentation, highlighting the potential for procurement to deliver at the highest level of business value. “There is no doubt that there is a major contribution that procurement can make to the overall strategy of a business.”

But in order for this to be realised, he admitted, the profession will need to make sure that those in power take notice. “If procurement is to play a key role, the board must take a keen interest in it.” Turning to the skillset demanded of modern procurement professionals, Siwela picked out risk management and IT competency as being of increasing importance. He also identified an ability to “handle difficult situations” as key in aiding the fight against corruption, which, if successful, could create significant value. “When [corruption and brown envelopes] disappear it can only mean one thing… value creation,” he said.

General manager SAP at Nigerian National Petroleum, Bola Afolabi also turned his attention to the issue of corruption, conceding to the audience of buyers that they would inevitably come up against people trying to gain an improper edge or benefit. He told them to be aware that if they succeed in getting into a powerful position, some, even close family and friends, might be thinking “what’s in this for me?”. Offering simple advice, he said: “You need to have that thick skin and be the best that you can be.”

With regard to corruption and other issues of risk, such as the detrimental effect on the local supply chain caused by going for a low cost but foreign supplier, the former CIPS president advocated that buyers be relentless in their search for potential issues: “Question yourself. Ask: ‘What is the risk in the role that I play? Look for the risk element in every level of the supply chain.” Outlining risks that commonly arise, particularly Africa, he pointed to incessant changes within government, a lack of keeping to payment terms and a failure to address potential conflicts of interest.

In one of the standout presentations of the conference, delegates were treated to the insights of a purchaser who has scaled all the way to the top of the corporate ladder. Babs Omotowa, who is now managing director of Nigeria LNG, told those looking to follow in his footsteps that success would only follow hard work. Boosting the strategic value of the function, he proposed, would only come if the profession took proactive action. “Procurement is yet to take its place as a strategic function. Buyers need to ask themselves whether they are spending more time on transactional or strategic activity.” If the measurement indicates a balance in favour of transactional work, it is encumbent on buyers to shift it towards the strategic side, he said.

In a further call for buyers to bring themselves closer to the centre of overall operations, Omotowa highlighted the need for them to develop a broader understanding of the ecosystem in which they sit. He urged them to “go beyond” the confines of procurement and factor in big issues such as societal and global matters into their own objectives. This, he proposed, would help overcome negative perceptions of the function from other parts of the business: “If you’re only concerned with procurement, no wonder other parts of the business don’t listen to you,” he said. In particular, he suggested that buyers swot up on politics, science and the global economy to enrich their perspective.

Tett Affotey-Walters, director of the Ghana procurement civil service, also cautioned against buyers becoming too focused on their individual goals and objectives rather than the overarching aims of their organisation. “It is not good enough for us as procurement professionals to only be reading procurement books,” he said. Ghana’s public sector chief also suggested that buyers earning the taxpayer pound, had suffered as a result of not having clearly defined career trajectories, when compared with other support functions such as finance or human resources. “In the Ghana Civil Service, there is no classification for procurement per se,” he said.

Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, deputy governor of administration at the Bank of Zambia, used her time in the spotlight to impress upon buyers the pivotal role they can play in shaping the region’s economic development. She conceded that, currently, the reputation of the profession is not where many would like it to be. She said that procurement suffered as a result of being tagged as focusing too heavily on lowest cost. To remedy this, she urged audience members to work to a broader definition of value, factoring in the economic benefits afforded through local sourcing and boosting SME into purchasing decisions.

Taken together, the various traits, skills and competencies required in the modern African buyer, constitute a significant challenge. They must shake away the often unfairly attributed perception that they are concerned only with cost, by substantiating the value they have delivered in areas far harder to measure. Calculating contributions to local economies as robustly as a contracting saving is not easy work. They must also combine their more strategic understanding of how their own work impacts their organisation’s goals, with a clearer appreciation of what other teams are doing in order to improve stakeholder relations, a trick few in the profession have mastered.

Throw in the thick skin required to counter corruption and the booksmarts required to build currency with the board and it all adds up to a tall order. But if the energy and ambition that was apparent across the two days in Accra can be replicated in offices across the continent, there’s a strong chance it will be achieved.

– See more at: http://www.supplymanagement.com/analysis/features/2013/individual-action/#sthash.SmvxwpTT.dpuf

Nigeria: Osun Has Not Abrogated Procurement Act – Aregbesola


Osun Defender

Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has debunked the claims in certain quarters that his administration had repealed the Public Procurement Law.

He told members of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria who visited him in Osogbo that his administration only amended some sections of the law to correct the abnormalities in it.

The governor, who had earlier been decorated as an honorary member of the institute, which was conferred on him in absentia in 2001 when the institute was not chartered, said that the amendment was done in a bid to correct sections of the procurement law which was deliberately done by some individuals in the past to make them sacred cows.

Aregbesola said with the amendment his administration had institutionalised the law,adding that the exercise was in favour of the institute.

In his address, the institute’s president, Alhaji Muhammed Alliu, said that they were happy over the peace and tranquility that had continued to reign in Osun State.

Alliu described the governor as a leader whose conduct and policies were centered on the people, noting that it was on record that Osun was one of the few states in the federation that had domesticated the procurement law.

Source: Leadership.

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.

Rethinking the Fight Against Corruption


Brookings News

By Daniel Kaufmann

Fighting corruption requires a new understanding of how the global problem has evolved, for it is bigger and broader than petty bribery or crooked deals in developing countries. Merely adopting a new anti-corruption law, creating another commission, or launching another ‘campaign’ will not get the job done. We can no longer fight corruption by simply fighting corruption alone.

Corruption is a symptom of a larger disease — the failure of institutions and governance, resulting in poor management of revenues and resources and an absence of delivery of public goods and services. We must think beyond anti-corruption rhetoric and traditional tactics. We need to be more strategic and rigorous, identifying and addressing corruption’s underlying causes and examining the weaknesses in key institutions and government policies and practices. We have to focus our efforts on the broader context of governance and accountability. Only then can we see the many other shapes and forms corruption can take and address this epidemic.

Of its many guises, legal corruption is a particularly pernicious one that gets insufficient attention. Legal corruption refers to efforts by companies and individuals to shape law or policies to their advantage, often done quasi-legally, via campaign finance, lobbying or exchange of favors to politicians, regulators and other government officials. It is dealings between venal politicians and powerful financial and industrial executives. In its more extreme form, legal corruption can lead to control of entire states, through the phenomenon dubbed ‘state capture,’ and result in enormous losses for societies.

In many developing countries, legal and illegal corruption coexists, and it has become commonplace for multinational oil and mining companies to collude with elite politicians to deprive citizens of the benefits of their natural resourcesNigeria lost $35 billion over the last 10 years through corruption and mismanagement of its oil industry. The evidence suggests — and the people of these developing countries attest — growth cannot sustain where corruption thrives.

The reach of legal corruption, however, is not limited to countries with weak governments. It has also enabled Wall Street investment banks to unduly influence financial oversight institutions, bringing the U.S. and the global economy to the brink four years ago, and in recent months allowed collusion between U.K. and possibly U.S. banks to fix the global interest rate for their benefit.

This kind of corruption is a complex, multidimensional problem that needs to be confronted at every level. If we, as an international community, are going to get at its core, we need to recognize that improving governmental institutions is key. Good governance only starts with elections and higher levels of transparency. Elections cannot be effective unless they are free, fair and clean, and complemented by real freedom of expression. Transparency with impunity will not bring forth justice or make governments accountable. Broader governance reforms require serious progress in rule of law to make any real, lasting impact. Equally important is a free press. While we have seen progress towards democracy in many parts of the world, roughly two-thirds does not have a fully free media and, in some countries, the movement is backwards.

As crucial is the management of the world’s natural resources. Today, 700 million people, in about 60 countries, live in poverty though they sit atop billions of dollars in oil, gas and minerals. Such abject poverty in the midst of abundance is a call for action. The overwhelming majority of these citizens live in poorly governed countries — those that rate low in corruption control, transparency and accountability. The governance of these resources and the wealth they generate will make or break the development of these nations, and the social, economic, political and security implications will be far and wide.

The future of these resource-rich countries no longer rests mainly on foreign aid but on the extent and effective use of the country’s own resources and how they use them. For that to occur, a focused and concrete approach to improve governance and accountability is critical. Reshaping the fight against corruption into a smarter strategy that integrates the challenge of improving governance and institutions in both the public and private sphere is the way forward.

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.

 

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