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TSA Compliance: Group Wants ICPC To Probe MDAs

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A  non-profit initiative has urged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to extend its ongoing probe of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to include their level of compliance to the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
The Africa Leadership Strategy and Transparency Development Initiative (ALSTDI) in a statement in Lagos yesterday by its Executive Director, Mr Nelson Ossaieze, also implored the Federal Government to explain its decision to transfer the burden of transacting with the TSA to the citizens.
This, ALSTDI said, was in line with international transparency best practices.
“It is indubitable that the implementation of the Treasury Single Account policy is one of the most significant achievements of the current Federal Government administration.
“This feat is despite the alleged non-compliance or partial compliance by certain MDAs and exclusion of foreign accounts from the scheme.
“Therefore, the need arises for the  ICPC to openly investigate the level of adherence to the policy by MDAs in order to consolidate on the remarkable achievement of the policy thus far,” it said.
It noted that in November 2018, the Federal Government suddenly directed that the cost of operating the scheme should be transferred to the payers who were the citizens.
The group also said the change, according to the Accountant General of the Federation, was premised on the unsustainable nature of the cost of servicing the policy.
“Non-card payments to the government now attract a flat service charge of ¦ 157.50K and card payments now cost ¦ 150 plus 0.75 per cent of the amount being paid, subject to a maximum of ¦ 1,200 per transaction.
“Understandable as this appears, owing to the long-term impact on the nation’s economy, the lack of proper public sensitisation leaves much to be  desired from the FG.
“Surprisingly, Nigerians are  unaware of the policy change prior to the effective date.
“Reports indicate that the operators, like other players in the process, has this sudden reality forced on them.
“FG must bridge the inherent knowledge gap in the public space by embarking on a nationwide sensitisation campaign and highlight the long-term benefits rather than allow the current misinformation to linger,” it added.
ALSTDI, however said, it was aware that the current rate was lower than the global industry benchmark.
It also said that, the current economic realities of the country implied that such changes could not be made without proper and due consideration of the average Nigerian.
The body advised FG to assent the minimum wage bill, implement the 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other initiatives to significantly lessen the burden on Nigerians whilst sustaining the gains of the TSA.
It said: “Finally, we remain proud of the role played by the indigenous firms in delivering the TSA project in record-time when foreign companies can not deliver and for their patriotic successful sustenance of the TSA regime.
“SystemSpecs came to the rescue of the country when our economy was on the brink of a total collapse through its deployment of Remita to plug existing leakages in the public financial sector.
“Undeniably, SystemSpecs’ exceptional delivery of a project of national significance is proof of the maturation of indigenous firms hence must be celebrated and not vilified,” it added.
According to ALSTDI, FG is required to do more in promoting these firms and demystifying the TSA service charge will be a step in the right direction.
“In conclusion, as an African-focused Civilian Society Organisation, we entreat FG to make Nigeria proud.
“This can be by promoting and even exporting the TSA to other countries across the continent to promote probity and add to the ranks of TSA compliant nations like Rwanda and Uganda,” it added.

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FG Launches Blueprint For Africa’s Digital Trade

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has launched a comprehensive strategy to spearhead Africa’s digital trade revolution, aligning with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) framework.
The initiative, a key component of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, is aimed at leveraging trade as a driver of economic growth and continental unity in accordance with AfCFTA’s objectives.
According to Vice President Kashim Shettima, in his X handle (formerly twitter), “Nigeria is in a unique position to spearhead the continent’s technological transformation”.
He said the strategy includes implementing AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol, developing technical talent hubs, enhancing digital infrastructure investments, and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.
Shettima stated this while delivering a keynote address during a stakeholders’ summit with the theme, “Digital Trade in Africa: The Renewed Hope Strategy”, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Vice President emphasised the need for public-private sector synergy and assured continued government investment in digital infrastructure and human capital development.
On his part, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijjani, highlighted the Tinubu administration’s substantial investments in all aspects of the digital trade protocol, aiming at harnessing opportunities both in Nigeria and across the continent.
He stated that innovative policies and programmes, such as the Three Million Technical Talent programme, the data protection policy, and increased investments in digital infrastructure, were equipping Nigeria’s young population for current and future opportunities.
Tijjani stressed the critical role of technology in facilitating trade across Africa, noting that the unprecedented opportunities within the single market area could be best leveraged through effective collaboration and networking enabled by digital technology.

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Oil Bearing Communities Okay Exploration In Ogoni Adopt Indigenous Company

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A body under the auspices of Ogoni Oil Bearing Communities has resolved that oil exploration should commence in Ogoni.
The body also adopted an indigenous company, Ogoni Royal Resources and Energy Limited, to operate the Ogoni oil fields located within the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11.
The adoption followed a motion moved by a prominent community leader in the area, Chief Sylvester Kogbara, during a meeting of Ogoni oil producing communities, at Kpite, in Tai Local Government Area of the State.
The decision of the body to adopt an Ogoni indigenous company to explore oil in Ogoni was  taken by the stakeholders after a motion by Chief Sylvester Kogbara from Bodo Community, based on the provisions of the Local Content Act which empowers indigenous firms to participate in oil exploration activities.
Kogbara said: “That the Ogoni Royal Resources and Energy Limited has been adopted as the only indigenous company to mine, process, export and extract oil and gas from Ogoniland. I so move”.
In his address at the meeting, President of Ogoni Oil Bearing Communities (OOBC), Chief Donald Gberesuu, described as unfortunate, the plights and act of marginalisation of the oil bearing communities in the area in the scheme of things perpetrated by certain Ogonis he described as “greedy”, and the Nigerian government.
Gberesuu said: “The plights and act of marginalisation of the Ogoni Oil Bearing Communities in the scheme of things by certain greedy Ogonis and the Nigerian State, is quite unfortunate.
“The oil bearing communities are not subservient and shall not relegate our responsibilities to middlemen and interrupters who are fronting greed and usurpation of common opportunities.
“The Ogoni oil bearing communities hold title to our lands as individuals and as community who should decide the usage of their land, in respect of the oil beneat”.
The body cautioned against division in the rank and file of Ogoni and called for unity of purpose among the people to actualise the objectives of the Ogoni struggle.
Earlier in his remark, the host of the meeting, HRM, King  Samuel Nnee, had declared that the meeting was for the Oil bearing communities to deliberate on issues of development concern, especially on oil exploration resumption in Ogoni.

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Customs Alerts Nigerians On Online Auction, Recruitment Fraudsters 

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has warned the public to be wary of  fraudsters using the name of the Service to perpetrate illegal activities on the social media.
Speaking against the background of advertorials on the social media by some unknown persons indicating that the NCS is currently auctioning some seized items, including vehicles and essential items.
In a statement by the National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, the NCS said the fraudsters have been exploiting public trust and ignorance to promote fictitious auctions and sham recruitment exercises supposedly endorsed by the Service.
It stated that, “The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has been brought to the escalating activities of fraudulent entities preying on unsuspecting individuals through social media platforms, falsely claiming association with the Service for purposes of auctions and recruitment.
“These individuals exploit public trust and ignorance, promoting fictitious auctions and sham recruitment drives supposedly endorsed by the our service.
“The Service wishes to clarify that auctions of seized/overtime goods are never conducted via social media platforms.
“Any such claims on social media should be treated as fraudulent and promptly reported. All seized/overtime goods have a laid-down Standard Operating Procedure, SOP, for disposal in line with the Nigeria Customs Service Act  2023.
“It is pertinent to state that the only portal for e-auction in NCS is http://auction.nigeriatradehub.gov.ng.
“For authentic updates about the operations of NCS, we strongly encourage the public to verify information exclusively through the NCS website, www.customs.gov.ng.
“Our commitment remains unwavering in protecting the public from fraudulent activities. We implore all Nigerians to exercise vigilance and prudence when approached with unverified offers or announcements as  regards NCS auctions or recruitment”.

“Any suspicious activities should be reported to any nearby customs formations”.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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