ICSAN wants govt to leverage technology to reduce corruption
By Rukayat Moisemhe
From left – Mr Francis Olawole, FCIS, Honorary Treasurer, Mr Taiwo Gbenga Owokalade, FCIS, Vice President, Mr Bode Ayeku, FCIS, President/Chairman of Council and Mrs Taiwo Ganiyat Olusesi, FCIS, Registrar/Chief Executive Officer
Lagos, July 9, 2020 (NAN) The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) has urged the federal government to invest more in training its staff on
Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Mr Bode Ayeku, ICSAN President said this during a media parley on Thursday in Lagos.
He said that such training was necessary for the government to leverage technology to eliminate corruption and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Ayeku said that massive investment in ICT would also be helpful in electoral processes to eliminate compromise, ballot snatching and mishaps with transporting ballot boxes.
“COVID-19 has brought about a change in mindset and the way things are done.
“When you take away physical interactions and you say deal with us electronically, many issues with corruption, compromise, unethical practices and bureaucracy would be done away with.
“I would expect the government to this year say they are investing in training its staff on ICT and migrating to digital archives which would enable access by any one in any part of the world,” he said.
On managing the disruptions of COVID-19 on the economy, the ICSAN President said that principles of corporate governance, which are transparency, fairness, responsibility and accountability, can be useful.
“COVID-19 has destabilised all structures in place and corporate governance principles when employed can actually be used to reset and restart operations properly.
“Companies and customers that entered into various contractual obligations before the pandemic can with transparency come together to address issues affecting the issues caused by the pandemic.
“This is not the time to count losses or apply force majure, as parties must responsibly put issues on the table, address it transparently as there would be life after COVID-19 and relationships must not be destroyed.
“Empathy and fairness must be employed by both employers and employees as this would encourage loyalty by the end of the pandemic,” he said.
The ICSAN President commended the private sector on adherence to the 2018 code of corporate governance conduct.
“However, the public sector, and I mean all government parastatals and agencies, must capitalise on employing a compliance officer who should be a chartered secretary to help entrench the practices of corporate governance pending when one for the public sector can be created,” he said.
Ayeku also spoke on ways to further improve the nation’s ranking on the ease of doing business.
“Nothing distorts the private sector than unpredictable government policies or the reversal of policies at will.
“Therefore, there must be alignment and sound collaboration among all agencies of government to improve the ease at which business operations are run and handled in the nation.
“Another thing to consider to improve investment is the need to respect the rule of law.
“Investors are visitors and they appreciate an environment that is conducive for business and respect the rule of law,” he said.
He also called for speedy and faithful implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), import substitution, development of the agricultural sector and concerted effort to reduce cost of governance.
These, he explained, would help the nation overcome the travails associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that massive investment in technology to enhance local production with its enormous multiplier effect on economy was beneficial to improving the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
“If you do not have control over your income, you must have control over your expenses,” he said.
Speaking on the proposed closure of the 3rd mainland bridge for six months from July, Ayeku urged businesses to put in place facilities that would enable employees work from home.
He said this was to reduce health challenges resulting from long hours in traffic by commuters.
Ayeku said that the Institute had been able to cope with the ongoing pandemic, as it had migrated to digital platform since last year.
“All we had to do was harvest what was already in place, observe all safety precautions and segment reopening of activities to capture targeted stakeholders,” he said.
Addressing incidence of unclaimed dividends, Ayeku stressed the need for updating and keeping of shareholders register and also fostering cordial communication and relationships.
“Companies must continue to publish amounts of unclaimed dividends and make efforts to synegize and simplify the process across board,” he said.
The ICSAN President commended the efforts of the government at handling the coronavirus since the nation recorded its first case in February.
He implored citizens to complement the efforts of the government by adhering to all safety precautions to eradicate the pandemic completely from the nation.
“I am very impressed with the way government has handled the pandemic even though more can be done by building more facilities.
“Citizens, however, have to do more by taking precautions to quickly eradicate this problem, as government cannot be everywhere to ensure compliance,” he said.
The ICSAN President said that the efforts to change the name of the Institute to Chartered Governance Institute of Nigeria had begun.
“This name change has been done by our contemporaries in other countries such as South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada and others to accommodate the evolved roles and expanded scope of secretaries,” he said. (NAN)
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
China’s Qingdao appoint Wu as head coach to replace Machin
Promoted Qingdao had terminated the contract of former Sevilla and Espanyol boss Machin last month after one of his relatives had tested positive for COVID-19, preventing the Spaniard from travelling to China to take up the job.
The club confirmed the appointment of Wu in a post.
Wu, who has had multiple spells as Shanghai boss, guided the team to the Chinese FA Cup title in 2017 and was appointed their technical director the following year.
The 59-year-old has also managed Zhejiang Greentown and had a brief stint as Shandong Luneng caretaker boss in 2012.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
APC UK optimistic of Diezani’s prosecution by British Government
The All Progressives Congress (APC), UK chapter, says it has received favourable response from the British Government to prosecute former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke and other Nigerians suspected of fraud, bribery and corruption offences, living in the United Kingdom.
According to a statement signed by Mr Jacob Ogunseye, the APC UK Publicity Secretary, issued on Tuesday in Abuja, the assurance was given by British Minister of State for Security, James Brokenshire.
In the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria , the British government also promised to help Nigeria fight corruption to a standstill.
It said Brokenshire’s promise followed a petition initiated by the APC UK legal department to the British government on the need to prosecute the former petroleum minister and other Nigerians suspected of fraud, bribery and corruption.
The statement said the petition was sequel to a plea by Ibrahim Magu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a virtual meeting before his suspension.
It said that Magu had appealed to Nigerians in Diaspora to assist the commission in putting pressure on the British government to repatriate the former minister to Nigeria to answer charges against her.
It said the APC UK legal department took up Magu’s challenge by initiating a legal process reminding the British government of Alison-Madueke’s arrest on October 2, 2015 by its National Crime Agency (NCA) in London.
It recalled that Alison-Madueke was arrested along side four other persons on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences, but was released on bail.
The statement said the department also demanded for a speedy trial of the former petroleum minister in the UK or in the alternative, facilitate her immediate repatriation to Nigeria to face graft charges.
The statement quoted Mr Ade Omole, leader of the chapter, as saying that a fair trial as enshrined in Article 6 of the Human Rights Act would be followed if Madueke was repatriated to Nigeria to face trial.
“APC UK supported the legal process with petitions through Members of Parliament and Peers in the House of Lords, the British Government was left with no choice but respond promptly to the issues raised.
“The British government responding through its Minister of State for Security, Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire, promised to work with the Federal Republic of Nigeria in ensuring that corruption is fought to a standstill and persons involved in criminal acts are duly prosecuted,” Omole said.
He added that the response from the British government was a strong indication of good things to come regarding suspects hibernating in the UK.
He stressed that the APC in UK had a good strategy and dedicated legal team that would ensure that looters did not commit crime in Nigeria and run to the United Kingdom to hide.
He said Nigerians should expect some traction on the near comatose criminal case involving the former petroleum minister going forward.
The statement quoted Brokenshire, as saying that: “The UK is continuing to lead international efforts to combat corruption, as evidenced by the commitments in the UK’s Anti-Corruption Strategy and the Economic Crime plan.”
He said the UK was determined to ensure that its society and economy remained hostile to illicit financial flows.
“As you will know, in 2018 the Financial Action Task Force assessed the UK as having the strongest controls of any country assessed to date.
“I am acutely aware of the negative impacts of grand corruption, including on developing countries.
“The International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre, hosted by the NCA, is working to recover stolen assets, share intelligence across jurisdictions, and build capacity to support grand corruption cases in developing countries,” he said.
He added that the centre had supported a number of high profile arrests involving politicians and public officials across the world.
“We are working closely with the government of Nigeria to prevent corruption, including providing support in-country.
“The NCA runs a number of multi-agency projects in Nigeria which target corruption as one of the threats to the UK,” Brokenshire said.
According to him, these projects provided specialist training, equipment, buildings and infrastructure.
He said it also provided UK-based mentors and intelligence to fight corruption at all levels, adding that the Department for International Development funds programmes to tackle corruption in the Nigerian public sector and oil industry.
Brokenshire assured the APC UK of UK’s commitment to combating corruption in Nigeria and other African countries.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
BP posts second-quarter post-tax loss of $16.8bn
Global energy giant BP on Tuesday reported a post-tax loss of 16.8 billion dollars in the second quarter amid lower oil prices and writedowns.
The loss compared to a post-tax profit of 1.8 billion dollars in the April to June period a year ago.
The company said that costs for writedowns of inventories and exploration charges weighed heavily on the results.
“These headline results have been driven by another very challenging quarter, but also by the deliberate steps we have taken as we continue to reimagine energy and reinvent BP,” chief executive Bernard Looney said.
By the end of decade, Looney said BP would be investing around 5 billion dollars in low-carbon projects a year, and during the same period expected daily oil and gas production to drop by 40 per cent from 2019 levels.
The company said it would cut its dividend payout for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Shareholders were to receive 5.25 United States cents per share, compared with the previous quarter’s 10.5 United States cents per share.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Revival of ailing industries will strengthen currency -Expert
Mr Promise Amahah, an economic expert says revamping ailing industries and economic diversification in the country will help to strengthen the value of the Naira among world currencies.
He advised the Federal Government to also sustain the tempo in its diversification drive in different sectors of the economic to further boost the economy.
“The fall of the Naira did not just happen overnight. When Naira was stronger was when we had Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, Volkswagen Nigeria, Dunlop Nigeria Ltd, Michelin Nigeria, Bata and Lennards.
“Our Naira had value when we had Nigerian Airways, Steel Rolling Mills; Osogbo Steel Rolling Mill, Ajaokuta steel, Arewa Textile Mill, BEREC Batteries, General Motors and Kingsway among others,” he said.
Amahah, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Strategy Worth and Technology (SWAT), lauded Federal Government for its move to revive Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The expert said the commitment by the Central Bank of Nigeria to revive Nigerian Cotton Textile and Garment industries was the right step in the right direction.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)