Over 90% Of Nigerians Lack Access To Healthy Diet-GAIN

Mohammed Shosanta

Dr. Micheal Ojo, Country Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN),says over 90% of Nigerians cannot afford healthy diet which results in malnutrition and sometimes loss of lives.

Ojo, who disclosed this during his courtesy visit to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, in his office in Abuja, also said food and nutrition was a significant challenge for every Nigerian as over 90% of the population can’t afford healthy diet.

He noted that one of the aims of the organisation was to work and deliver healthy diet to over 25% of the population around the world, of which Nigeria was included, adding that the organisation intended to collaborate with the Ministry in the area of food value chain such as maize, rice, cassava, among others.

According to him, GAIN had enjoyed a good relationship with the Ministry over the years and hoped for its sustainability to transform the country’s food system.

Speaking,Kyari expressed the Ministry’s readiness to partner Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition to tackle food and nutrition security, post-harvest losses, among others.

He added that food security was one priority of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda which focuses on agriculture and food security as well as good nutrition.

He said: “We were given the mandate to ensure that the country is food secure and we are ready to collaborate with partners to ensure its actualisation and sustainability.”

The Minister emphasised that the current state of food security was threatened by issues of availability and affordability, adding that malnutrition and rate of food inflation required that “we work all year round to ensure increased food production while putting in place, measures to make food available, accessible, affordable and of the right nutrition on a sustainable basis.”

He urged the organisation to participate in the forth coming Agricultural Summit and requested for their document to be included in the Ministry’s document, pointing out that “it should be a workable and sustainable document for the benefit of the populace”.

NUPRC Unveils Digital Reporting App

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC),has unveiled an online platform designed to ease regulatory compliance and oversight functions in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector

The app ‘HostComply’,will also enable operators in the sector to meet regulatory requirements in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner, a statement said.

The app will also streamline reporting of environmental, social and governance (ESG) management for operators, host communities, and regulators, a cardinal requirement of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.

The agency added that the unveiling of the app is in a groundbreaking partnership entered into with industry experts and in line with its statutory mandate as the regulator of the upstream oil and gas sector.

According to the agency, given the friction often experienced between operators in the petroleum sector and their host communities, HostComply was strategically developed to offer comfort to the Host Community Development Trust (HCDT) by providing stakeholders with a robust technological tool to interface and engage with the settlors (operators) and manage projects in their respective host communities professionally in conformity with ESG global best practices.

“The digital solution revolutionalises HCDT management and ESG reporting, is fully transparent and eliminates human interference,” it said.

The statement explained that Chapter 3, Section 235(1) of the PIA (2021) requires that “the settlor incorporates host communities development trust for the benefit of the host communities for which it is responsible.

“Section 235(4) states: “The settlor shall, for the purpose of setting up the trust, in consultation with the host communities, appoint and authorise a board of trustees (“the Board of Trustees”), which shall apply to be registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission as a corporate body under the Companies and Allied Matters Act in the manner provided under this Chapter,” it added.

It noted that HostComply offers numerous advantages to the operating companies (settlors) and the host communities, including streamlining reporting and monitoring obligations, building trust and credibility, and providing a centralized system for managing community development and ESG reporting data.

Besides, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and building trust with communities, investors, and other stakeholders, to ramp up oil production and revenue for the settlors and the federal government, providing business analytics that will help settlers, regulators and other stakeholders identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement in their community development and ESG reports.

“The portal will enable the settlor to upload the incorporated HCDT registered, upload the 3 per cent operating expenditure (Opex) by assets for verification by the Regulator; track, analyze, and report on the use of funds for community development initiatives and foresee failure points by leveraging the data insights and mitigates against them.”

For the HCDT, the commission said, the portal provides a consistent and predictable administrative environment for interfacing with the settlors and the regulator, allows the HCDT to upload and showcase projects to be executed by the communities, provides easy proof of 3 per cent Opex to be paid by settlors as verified by the regulator, as well as provides an opportunity to measure and monitor distributional equity amongst the communities.

It further explained that HostComply allows the regulator to detect and identify non-compliant situations through IT forensics and compliance Intelligence tools, real-time monitoring of the progress of projects being executed by the HCDT, issue demand notices on the payment of the 3 per cent Opex contribution by the settlors and verify the 3 per cent Opex contribution and its distribution.

For civil society organisations and the public, it said the portal allows It allows an open common framework for information gathering to monitor accountability and probity in the management of 3 per cent OPEX at the community level, as well as public education, enlightenment, mobilisation, monitoring, oversight, whistle-blowing, observation and feedback.

The commission implored stakeholders to fully utilise the portal to ensure regulatory compliance with the provisions of the law; it said NUPRC indicated that failure of compliance has serious implications and attracts sanctions, which include revocation of licence or lease.

“Pursuant to the following sections of the PIA, 2021, and for the avoidance of doubt, the licence or lease of a settlor may be revoked if it fails to comply with the host communities’ obligations under Section 96(n) of the Act.

“On the failure to incorporate host communities development trust, Section 238 says, “Unless as otherwise provided for in this Act, failure by any holder of a licence or lease governed by this Act to comply with its obligations under this Chapter, after having been informed of such failure in writing by the Commission as the case may be, may be grounds for revocation of the applicable licence or lease”.

When fully deployed, it said the portal will have other capabilities, including enabling approvals of the constitution, winding up and dissolution of the Trust and fund; verification of account details of the Trust, annual audited report of the 3 per cent Opex computation and contribution to the fund.

“It is also a platform for the review of all reports generated by the trust; enables the annual registration of the fund managers with the commission and allows for the monitoring of the management of the reserve fund, interface for submission of complaints and petitions, reporting of fraud, breaches, and malpractices, and an administrative module which will act as a performance evaluation and analytics dashboard for each user group and general overview, management of access rights and permissions as well as review of audit trails.

CBN:Why We Unbanned 43 Items From Accessing Foreign Exchange

Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lifted the ban on 43 products from accessing foreign exchange (forex) because the restriction pushed importers into the parallel market and increased the surplus demand for forex.

The development weakened the parallel-market exchange rate and pushed up prices, it said in a circular, adding thatit wants to unify the market for forex with flexible and transparent pricing.

It said:“The CBN wants to promote orderliness and professional conduct by all Nigerian foreign exchange market participants to ensure market forces determine exchange rates on a willing buyer – willing seller principle.

“The CBN wants to ensure price stability and is seeking to boost liquidity in the Nigerian foreign exchange market. As liquidity improves, we expect the distortions to moderate.”

It added that the implication of the removal would make monetary policies effective, reduce the inflation rate and eliminate the need for importers of these products to go to the parallel market.

It said, “Local production will benefit from cheaper imported inputs, and consumers will benefit from cheaper retail products. It is expected that employment generation will be boosted as closed factories re-open. Price stability will benefit the economy and the standard of living in general.”

UBA Moves To Deepen Customers’ Awareness Against Fraud

Mohammed Shosanya

United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is set to commence a Fraud Awareness Week – an initiative designed to empower customers with knowledge and tools to protect them against fraud and financial malpractices in the banking and financial sector.

Besides,the bank will be organising this week-long event to galvanise collaborative efforts to safeguard the assets and accounts of its valued customers.

According to a statement,the Fraud Awareness week with the theme “Fighting Fraud Together,” will run from Monday October 16th to Friday October 20th, 2023, and the bank has lined up several activities including in-house sessions; Train the Trainers Webinars; Engagement with External Stakeholders; Seminars; and an Anti-Fraud Clinic bank-wide to inform and educate both staff and customers on the need to protect their accounts from illegal access.

The engagement with external stakeholders is scheduled for Thursday, October 19th, 2023. The guest speakers will include the Head, Cybercrime Investigation, Advance Free Fraud Economic & Financial Crime Commission {EFCC} Lagos State Command, Mr Abbah Sambo Usman; Managing Partner; Akin Adesomoju & Co, Barrister Akin Adesomoju.

Others are Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, AG, Head, Corporate Services Directorate, Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System, Mr. Temidayo Adekanye; Legal and Prosecution Lawyer; Barr. E.A. Jackson and A Professor of Practice in Forensic Accounting, Finance and Public Policy, Dr Rabiu Olowo. These professionals will share their thoughts on better collaboration for effective prevention/loss minimisation and conviction of fraud criminals.

The bank’s Chief Audit & Assurance Officer, Sanusi Mudasiru, who spoke ahead of the week-long event, explained that in the light of scamming activities inherent in today’s digital age, and since the banks’ priority is the safety and security of its customers’ accounts; it has become increasingly essential for the bank to educate its customers on how to be cautious about sharing sensitive information to guide against fraudulent and suspicious transactions.

“Our commitment to integrity remains unwavering. Lately, we have seen the need to work together with our customers to protect their assets. We need to continue to let them know for instance that UBA will never ask for your PIN, password, or OTP, and through the activities lined up for the week, we will share vital information to our customers on how to stay secure, stay alert, and help us fight and stop fraud together,“ Mudasiru said.

He said that the UBA Fraud Awareness Week is coming up during the “ember months” which are renowned for increasing fraud related activities. During the week, the bank will give out ‘tips’ and ‘red–flags’ that customers should be on the look-out for so that they do not fall prey to these fraudulent individuals.

“With UBA, you are in safe hands, and we encourage you to be wise and help us protect your money. We know that your phone is a major gateway to your account, and securing it is paramount, so we will teach you how to lock your phones and all social media apps with two-step verification, and highlight why you should not share your phone unlock code with anyone, and never trust anyone with your phone when you are not looking. All these and others will be shared during this event,” Mudasiru added.

He emphasized the bank’s commitment to safeguarding the financial interests of its stakeholders, while maintaining the highest level of integrity and security.

SPDC JV Disburses N3.72bn For Community Development

Mohammed Shosanya

The Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd (SPDC) operated Joint Venture has disbursed a total of N3.72 billion and another $12.32 million for community development in compliance with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA)

The company has also progressed implementation of the legislation with the unveiling of two Trusts in Imo State on Friday.

SPDC, in collaboration with its joint venture partners — NNPC Ltd, TotalEnergies and ENI – has, so far, unveiled 27 Trusts out of the 33 proposed in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Imo states, with more to be funded as the set-up processes mature. The large number of fully established Trusts since the signing of the PIA into law in August 2021 has been acknowledged as an industry record.

Officials of the Imo State Government and community leaders cheered as Assa North and Egbema/Oguta Trusts were formally presented as development vehicles to the public in Owerri. “The Imo State Government is happy at the progress in the setting up of Trusts and will continue to support them to achieve set objectives,” said the Commissioner of Petroleum Resources, Prof. Eugene Opara.

SPDC Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, in an address read by Community Relations Manager, Central Hub, Evans Krukrubo, advised Trusts to see themselves as partners with industry operators. “With funding of Trusts derived from operations, community disruptions and vandalism will inevitably lead to fewer cash, resulting to less projects and programmes. We expect communities to help ensure hitch-free operations and fully benefit from the new dispensation.”

In their addresses, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, (NUPRC) Engr. Gbenga Komolafe and Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS,) Mr. Bala Wunti noted that the idea of Trusts would boost community development in oil producing areas if all parties collaborate well and decide to resolve grievances through dialogue. The chairman of Assa North Trust Mrs. Eugene Onyiriuka and her counterpart for Egbema/Oguta pledged to work for the development of their communities.

The two Trusts comprise 11 communities which were among the more than 300 that SPDC JV engaged in respect of the PIA implementation. Most of the Trusts are now ready to function fully, having set up the PIA mandated three levels of governance — Board of Trustees, Management Committees and Community Advisory Committees.