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World Bank Asked To Release Details Of Spending On Nigeria’s Electricity

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The World Bank President, Mr David Malpass has been asked to release details of spending on Nigeria’s electricity.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made the request to the bank to exercise its “prerogative to release archival records and documents relating to spending on all approved funds to improve access to electricity in Nigeria between 1999 and 2020, the Bank’s role in the implementation of any funded electricity projects, and to identify and name any executed projects, and Nigerian officials, ministries, departments and agencies involved in the execution of such projects.”

The World Bank Board of Directors last week approved $500m “to help boost access to electricity in Nigeria and improve the performance of the electricity distribution companies in the country.”

However, in an application dated 6 February 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization urged the bank to “explain the rationale for the approval of $500m to implement electricity projects in the country, despite reports of widespread and systemic corruption in the sector, and the failure of the authorities to enforce a court judgment ordering the release of details of payments to allegedly corrupt electricity contractors who failed to execute any projects.”

SERAP said: “This application is brought pursuant to the World Bank’s Access to Information Policy, which aims to maximize access to information and promote the public good. There is public interest in Nigerians knowing about the bank’s supervisory role and specifically its involvement in the implementation of electricity projects, which it has so far funded.”

SERAP maintained that, “The $500m is part of the over one billion dollars available to Nigeria under the project titled: Nigeria Distribution Sector Recovery Program. We would be grateful for details of any transparency and accountability mechanisms under the agreement for the release of funds, including whether there is any provision that would allow Nigerians and civil society to monitor the spending of the money by the government, its agencies, and electricity distribution companies.”

SERAP also said: “Should the bank fail and/or refuse to release the information and documents as requested, SERAP would file an appeal to the Secretariat of the Bank’s Access to Information Committee to challenge any such decision, and if it becomes necessary, to the Access to Information Appeals Board. SERAP may also consider other legal options outside the Bank’s Access to Information framework.”

The letter copied to Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, read in part: “SERAP believes that releasing the information and documents would enable Nigerians and civil society to meaningfully engage in the implementation of electricity projects funded by the bank, contribute to the greater public good, and enhance the bank’s oft-stated commitment to transparency and accountability.

READ ALSO; Regulate, But Not Ban Crypto – Atiku

“The World Bank has been and continues to be involved in overseeing the transfer, disbursement, spending of funds on electricity projects in Nigeria. The bank also reportedly approved a $750 million loan for Nigeria’s electricity sector in June 2020 to cut tariff shortfalls, protect the poor from price adjustments, and increase power supply to the grid. As such, the World Bank is not a neutral party in this matter.

“SERAP is seriously concerned that the funds approved by the bank are vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement. The World Bank has a responsibility to ensure that the Nigerian authorities and their agencies are transparent and accountable to Nigerians in how they spend the approved funds for electricity projects in the country, and to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.

“SERAP also believes that the release of the requested information and documents is of paramount important to the public interest in preserving the legitimacy, credibility and relevance of the bank as a leading international development institution. The bank ought to lead by example in issues such as transparency and public disclosure raised in this request.

“It would also demonstrate that the bank is willing to put people first in the implementation of its development and governance policies and mandates, as well as remove any suspicion of the bank’s complicity in the alleged mismanagement of electricity projects-related funds.

“The information is also being sought to improve the ongoing fight against corruption in the country and the provision of regular and uninterrupted electricity supply to Nigerians as a fundamental human right.

“The information requested is not affected by the “deliberative” “corporate administrative matters” or “security and safety” exceptions under the Policy. The information requested is crucially required for Nigerians to know how the funds released to the authorities to improve electricity supply in the country have been spent, and monitor how the funds are being used.

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CBN Gives Fresh Detail About Opay, Palmpay, Moniepoint, Others

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Cardoso through the CNB in April placed an embargo on Opay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, Moniepoint and other fintech companies from onboarding new customers,

By John Michael Ojo

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso, during the MPC meeting on Tuesday revealed that mobile money operators who are currently being restricted from enrolling new customers would soon be allowed to carry our their operations without any form of restrictions in the next few months.

Cardoso who stated this in Abuja, denied revolking the licences of these fintech companies.

The CBN Governor, claimed that the Central Bank was working round the clock by engaging with stakeholders in order to strengthen the activities of Fintech companies in the country.

He added that the CBN is also working to mitigate against every loophole used by criminal elements to facilitate money laundering within the financial system while maintaining the integrity of the industry.

“I am confident that as time goes on, and hopefully in another couple of months, all these will be something of the past and then you will see that sector going back into what they’ve been known to do before, but certainly with a very stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

Cardoso through the CNB in April placed an embargo on Opay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, Moniepoint and other fintech companies from onboarding new customers, a move which was heavily criticized and seen as a gag on the financial sub-sector.

However, the CBN Governor who has now provided the public with more details about the action of the apex bank on the fintech companies said: “The fintechs have not been singled out for any exceptional kind of treatment. The CBN remains proud of the exploits of fintech firms in the last number of years and the apex bank will continue to support and strengthen them.

“However, regulation is very critical in a sector that seems to have grown so incredibly rapidly.

“More recently, we had the cause to take a deep dive look at the whole issue of illicit flows and money laundering particularly within the non-heavily regulated banking system and we all know some of the issues that came out with cryptos and some of the messages we put out after that, which of course gave us some cause to know that there is the need for heightened surveillance,” Cardoso stated.

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Access Holdings Gets New CEO To Replace Wigwe 

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Bolaji Agbede

By John Michael OJo

Following the death of its Co-founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe in a helicopter crash on Friday night in the United States, Access Holdings Plc on Monday appointed Ms. Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings.

This was made known in a statement by the company’s Board of Directors dated February 12, 2024.

The statement which added that the appointment was subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, reads: “Further to its announcement dated February 11, 2024, the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) has today announced the appointment of Ms Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company following the unfortunate demise of its former Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe, on February 9, 2024.

“The appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the statement read in part.

Agbede  who joined Access Bank in 2003 as an Assistant General has nearly three decades of professional experience cutting across banking and business consultancy services.

She has also served in different roles at the bank including, Head, Group Human Resources between 2010 and 2022 before she was appointed the company’s founding Executive Director, Business Support in 2022, a role she held until her new appointment

Agbede who commenced her professional career in Guaranty Trust Bank, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University UK in 2002.

She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

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Ogun Constitutes Ambassadors To Intensify Efforts On Investment Drive

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L-R: Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (Ogun State), Mr. George Onafowokan; Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo; Special Adviser, OgunInvest, Ms. Sola Arobieke; Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela; Zonal Director, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Mr. Hassan Lawal, at the OgunInvest Ambassadors Network Inauguration and Orientation Course held at OgunInvest Office, Isheri, Ogun State.

Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun has inaugurated a 12-man committee of Ogun Invest Ambassador Network to create a robust and seamless working relationship between government and investors, for businesses to thrive.

Governor Abiodun, during the inauguration and orientation course for the ambassadors, at Ogun Invest Office, Isheri, in Ifo Local Government Area of the state, said the initiative was a landmark in the history of the state, as it would make a huge difference to the growth of current and potential investors willing to do business in the state.

He explained that the ambassadors would be responsible for enlightening investors on how to harness the opportunities that abound and what they stand to gain by doing business with the state, adding that their role is pivotal in building bridges, fostering collaboration and attracting investors that would propel the state to new heights.

Governor Abiodun, represented by the Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo tasked the ambassadors to sharpen their communication skills, charging them to make accountability and transparency their watchword.

The state’s helmsman disclosed that the government would, on a regular basis, carry out an evaluation performance on them through private organisations transacting business with the state, promising that those who performed well would be compensated accordingly.

Speaking, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela, who admonished them to be diligent, in making Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency a success, described them as a link between government and investors, saying a proper regulatory framework would be established to earn investors trust and respect.

Identifying the calibre of people in the network chain, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, noted that a new lease of life would soon commence in the state investment journey, expressing the hope that their selection would ensure a critical turning point in the investment atmosphere of the state and charged them to bring to bear their professionalism in the course of enhancing the industrial sector

Earlier, the Special Adviser on Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency (Ogun Invest), Ms. Sola Arobieke, said the initiative was part of the drive to attract investments, enhance ease of doing business and carry out the service of a one-stop shop, to ensure access to relevant information and streamline processes for investors in the state, pointing out that the Ambassadors Network is a team of dedicated individuals from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), saddled with investment-related functions, to ease the settling of investors and investments into the state.

On his part, the Managing Director, Coleman Technical Industries Ltd., Mr. George Onafowokan, who spoke on, “Promoting Investment Through Service Excellence”, said the selected ambassadors should see their nomination as an opportunity to serve and see themselves as representatives of the state front liners at giving investors excellent service and be ready to drive both existing and potential investors through excellent service delivery

The 12 ambassadors inaugurated include Consultant, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Fatai Adeboyejo; Deputy Surveyor-General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mrs. Halimat Yusuf; Director, Physical Planning, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Felicia Aleburu; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Physical Planning and Urban Development Mr. Jolaoluwa Olugbemisola; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Suraj Fashola; Director, Land Acquisition, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Anifowose Olatunji and Director of Commercial Services, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Olumuyiwa Ogunsanwo.

Others are Director of Environmental Quality Control, Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Mary Adeosun; Director of Geological Services, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Lekan Eniolawun; Director, Estate and Facility Management, Ogun State Property Investment Corporation, Mr. Olusola Abijo; Director, Estate, Housing Corporation, Mr. Nafiu Olaleye and Deputy Director, Local Government Affairs, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs. Olapemiju Quadri.

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