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C’River: Power, Agric Show Underway

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ACEL, a private management and consultancy firm in Calabar is said to be planning an agriculture, power and water convention and exhibition aimed at improving the basic infrastructures and exploring the potentials of the continent in those sectors for the benefit of Africans.
The convention is expected to address the challenges of Africa’s development, especially in the critical areas of agriculture, power and water.
It would also afford participants the opportunity to explore the road map for the continent’s sustainability, prosperity and progress in partnership with sector stakeholders, foreign and local entrepreneurs, manufacturers of technology and the consumers themselves.
Slated for the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort Calabar, the convention and exhibition will hold for nine days running through the 21st to the 30th of October, 2009.
Organizers are already in discussion with several African Heads of States, who have shown great interest and given tentative indication of their possible attendance or representation at the event.
The convention has also received the endorsements of several organisations and individuals across the globe including ECOWAS, DCTA, NACCIMA, TINAPA, Cross River Water Board, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Ministry of Agriculture, First Bank as well as the Obong of Calabar.
The World Bank, Water Systems Manufacturers (Europe/Aberdeen), Power Companies (USA), Agro Technology Companies (Asia), Financial and Research Institutions, Diplomatic and Trade Missions have also sent in their support and encouragement for the convention.
In an interactive session with correspondents on the convention, Charlie Udoutun, Head of Communication and Strategy, ACEL, said, “We want to use this platform to encourage government and all the relevant agencies to look in other directions in search of new ideas. How do we move agriculture forward, we have to start thinking of what happens after the oil. We have to start building the agricultural sector and a lot of the problems we got from our feed back in the agricultural sector is on processing and distribution and all those areas that are concerned with getting the food from the farm to the table.”
“We are all living witnesses of the problems besetting the power sector. So we are inviting in addition to listening to the current Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), National Independent Power Project (NIPP), trying to understand their difficulties so that we can also explain that to the Nigerian public why we don’t have light. And it is also an avenue for government to come and tell them what they have been doing”, Udoutun also noted.
Estimated to cost about N400 million, the convention will explore new ways of advancing the water supply sector as well.
“Water is also another critical area,” he stated, stressing, “is the heart of what we are trying to achieve with this convention. We do not expect to have all the answers. But we just expect to initiate a new dialogue that is at the heart of what we are trying to do.”
According to him, manufacturers of new technology in the power generating sector, solar power, water, biofuel and other options that are available are targeted to attend the convention.
“We are resolute in our commitment to activate a new dialogue in the vanguard of advancing the performance capabilities of our various countries to increase their capacity to deliver quality services and options to every community,” said J K Williams, Vice President ACEL and main driver of the convention.

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FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss

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The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.

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FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.

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LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

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The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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