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Senate Investigates NPA over Alleged Irregularities in Award of N7.5bn Contract

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Senate Committee on Public Accounts has launched investigation into alleged irregularities in the award of contract for shore erosion control work at Akipelai, Ayakoro and Otuoke in Bayelsa state.

The Committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide hinged its action on the 2017 Auditor General of the Federation’s report submitted to the Senate for consideration.

According to the report, the erosion control contract was awarded in March 2012 with 14 months completion period by November of the same year, while N4.2 billion had been paid to the contractor which represented 56.61 percent of the contract sum.

It also stated that the review of quantities (BOGs) under No-revealed that mobilisation fee of N1.1 billion paid to the contractor was supported by conditional bank guarantee from Zenith Bank Plc with validity for 365 days which expired on the 2nd March, 2013, contrary to the Provision of section 35 ‘1’ of procurement Act 2007 and Financial Regulations 2933 “1” (2009) which only provide for submission of an unconditional bank guarantee or insurance bond.

The report further discovered that the sum of N19.5 million was paid for Toyota Hilux Double cabin petrol engine while there was no evidence to confirm that these vehicles were purchased.

The Auditor General (AuGF) also observed that N128 million provided for insurance against damages to persons and properties, was certified and paid with no evidence that any insurance was undertaken.

The AuGF query against NPA read in part: “A contract for Shore Erosion Control Works at Akipelai, Ayakoro and Otuoke towns in Bayelsa State was awarded at a contract sum of N7,503,344,599.00, vide award letter Ref. No.: HQ/GME/CP/CON/R.16/067 dated 22nd March, 2012, with 14 months’ completion period. As at 11th November, 2015, four (4) payment certificates and an advance payment totalling N4,247,938,353.26, representing 56.61 per cent of the contract sum, had been paid to the contractor.

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PVC: Gov. Matawalle declares one-week public holiday

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The Governor of Zamfara State, Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawalle has declared next week Monday to Friday, (June 20th to 24th, 2022) as work free week to enable the State’s public and civil servants to go to their respective localities and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards, (PVC).
The Governor directed all the commissioners, Special Advisers, Permanent Secretaries, other public office holders, party officials and traditional rulers to monitor and supervise the ongoing Voter Registration exercise.

This was contained in a press statement signed and issued to newsmen in Gusau, the State capital by the State’s commissioner for information, Hon. Ibrahim Magaji Dosara.
According to the statement, every person above the age of 18 is expected to be part of the exercise, saying that it was their constitutional right to elect their leaders.

Governor Matawalle appealed to the general public to participate in the exercise so that they would not complain later.

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Taraba retirees protest against non-payment of gratuity

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The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) Taraba State Council has called on the state government to ensure prompt payment of all entitlements of its members as well as enrollment of all local government retirees in the state.
The state Chairman of the Union, Comrade Kefas Katan stated this at a World Press Conference held on Friday at the NUP Headquarters in Jalingo, the state capital.
He explained that the backlogs of gratuity for retired civil servants in the state are estimated at over N30billion.
The Chairman said the briefing was a replication of the one conducted on the 1st June 2022 in Abuja by the National President of the Union, Mazi Godwin.
Comrade Kefas Katan said retirees in Taraba State are facing numerous challenges due to the non-enrollment of many of its members into the scheme.
Reporting by Sani Suleiman; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare

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Buhari inaugurates council on e-Governance

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President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will continue to take advantage of digital technologies to transform every sector of the economy.

He stated this in Abuja while inaugurating the Presidential Council on Digital Economy and E-government.

The President tasked members of the council to work towards strengthening the capacity of government to develop, adopt and deploy digital technologies to make government more efficient and transparent, thereby improving Nigeria’s global standing in the ease of doing business index.

He noted that the council would provide the oversight needed to bring about a veritable structure for accelerating achievements in digital economy and in the implementation of e-government.

The President enjoined members of the Council to consider the task as a national assignment and justify the trust reposed in their ability to support and significantly enhance the digital transformation in the country.

He said the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, NDEPS, in 2019, and expansion of the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to include Digital Economy had brought significant progress and a number of unprecedented achievements.

President Buhari expressed delight that the approval of the National Policy on Virtual Engagements for Federal Public Institutions had helped to formalize government online meetings.

He said Nigeria’s progress in e-governance had been noted by the international community, eliciting recognition from international stakeholders, including the appointment of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as the Chairman of the 2022 Forum of the highly regarded World Summit of the Information Society.

While congratulating the Minister, the President acknowledged that the Ministry had partnered with the Korea International Co-operation Agency to develop a National E-government Master Plan, approved by FEC in August 2019.

He listed benefits from the partnership to include training of over 1,400 Nigerian public servants in both Nigeria and South Korea on e-governance, the launch of an e-Government Training Centre, handed over to the Federal Government in 2019, and the signing-off of Phase II of the E-government Project for Building Foundations Towards Digital Governance in Nigeria, 2020-2026.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, had noted that the launch of NDEPS made provision for the establishment of the Presidential Council to co-ordinate the development of an indigenous digital economy.

He said the recent auction of spectrums by the Ministry, generated over 400 percent revenue to the Federal Government coffers, while two virtual institutions established by government had trained some 500,000 Nigerians on digital and emerging technologies.

The 27-man committee, chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, on behalf of President Buhari, has Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Governors of Gombe, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Edo, Lagos, and Imo, as members.

Others are the Ministers of Finance, Industry, Trade and Investment, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Limited.

Others are Managing Director, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, and the Director General, National Identity Management Commission.

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