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Fashola, Amaechi, others inflated contracts by N27 billion in 2018 – FG

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The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has revealed how contracts awarded by ministries and parastatals, particularly the Ministries of Transport and Power, Works and Housing headed by Babatunde Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi, respectively were inflated to the tune of about N27 billion.

The BPP said in its 2018 annual report obtained from the bureau by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that it saved more than N26.86 billion in 2018 alone, by revising down inflated contract sums by government contractors.

According to the report, the savings are from the review of contracts awarded to contractors by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) before being given certificate of “No Objection’’ by the bureau.

The report showed that in 2018, 86 certificates of “No Objection’’ was given out by the bureau to MDAs for contracts initially totalling N1.421 trillion but was later reduced to N1.394 trillion.

Of the savings made, the highest amount of N22.22 billion was recorded from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. The money was saved from an initial request of N877.40 billion.

Similarly, contracts under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was reduced from N278.91 billion to N278.64 billion, resulting in savings of about N271 million.

Also, the BPP saved N1.37 billion on projects from the Ministry of Transportation from an initial request of N76.22 billion and from Ministry of Water Resources, N521 million was saved out of N13.12 billion.

From the Ministry of Finance, BPP saved N143.72 million from a request of N3.54 billion and about N33.65 million was saved from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) initial request of N1.47 billion.

The report also showed that savings of about N494.96 million was made from various military contracts from an initial request totalling N123.82 billion for the procurement of critical equipment.

In addition, savings of about N8.04 million was made from various contracts under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior, from an initial request of N9.23 billion.

The procurement bureau also saved N104 million out of an initial request of N936.75 million by Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria for the procurement of broadcast equipment for 2019 general elections.

The report, however, showed that no savings was made from contracts under the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

According to the report, the public procurement activities in most MDAs are shrouded in secrecy and not in line with international best practices

“The degree of the reported cases being prosecuted in the courts by the EFCC and the ICPC are clear testimony of the breaches in the MDAs.

“As observed in most cases, the procurement officers collude with the contractors and service providers to breach certain provisions of the BPP Act for their selfish reasons.

“These breaches range from faulty bid solicitation process, advance exposure of the bidding criteria to their preferred bidders and overlooking forged procurement statutory documents during technical and financial bid process.

“They also give out in-house prices of contracts to their preferred contractors and service providers which serve as an advantageous guide in their financial bidding, among other numerous breaches of the Act.

“Procurement officers, who are known to be colluding with the bidders to breach the Act, have not been reprimanded enough to deter them from their offences,’’ the Bureau reports.

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OPAN disassociates self from online group called ‘OPMAN’

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The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) wishes to disassociate itself from the group known as Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria, which cleverly adopts the acronym ‘OPMAN’.

This statement serves as a notice to individuals or organizations having dealings with this group, ‘OPMAN’ as our lawyers engage the Corporate Affairs Commission to address this development, OPAN said in a statement adding that it has no affiliation whatsoever with the group.

OPAN President, Austyn Ogannah, said: “Our attention has been drawn to the existence of a group which adopted a name similar to ours and goes by an acronym that is closely identical to ours.

“For the record OPAN has no affiliation with this group or its promoter(s).

“The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on 14th of November 2011, is the umbrella body for organisations and persons in the online/digital media space with a mandate to self regulate practitioners and promote responsible use of the new media in Nigeria.”

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NITDA sets up team to investigate, protect Nigerians from data breach

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), today inaugurated the NITDA Data Breach Investigation Team at the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters, Abuja. The effort was aimed at safeguarding the rights, privacy and data of citizens in the country.

The Director General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, while inaugurating the Team said thay, “ever since the Agency issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) on 25th January, 2019, there has been an unprecedented interest in the regulation as witnessed by the various engagements and inquiries about it”.

He further stated the objectives of the National Data Protection Regulations includes: Safeguarding the rights of citizens on data privacy; Fostering safe conduct in transactions involving the exchange of Personal Data; Enabling Nigerian businesses to be globally compliant & competitive to create jobs for eligible Nigerians.

Inuwa said that, “NITDA, as the IT sector regulator has a duty to ensure that the objectives of the regulations are being realised”. The highlight of the event was the inauguration of a 15-man committee that will investigate and checkmate any breach of the National Data Protection Regulations (NDPR).

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Reps ask CBN to suspend cashless policy

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The house of representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to halt the controversial cashless policy it recently re-introduced.

At plenary session on Thursday, the lower legislative chamber said the policy leads to significant decrease in credit extension by Nigerian money deposit banks.

The also said it has negative impacts on small and medium enterprises “which are clearly the engine room for growth of the economy.”

In a circular released on Tuesday, the CBN had directed all deposit money banks in the country to charge 3% processing fees for withdrawals and 2% for deposits of amounts above N500,000 for individual accounts.

Corporate account holders will be charged 5% processing fees for withdrawals and 3% for deposits of amounts above N3 million.

The directive was, however, criticised by some Nigerians for various reasons.

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