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Reps Berate BPP For Ineffective Handling Of Procurement Audits

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The House of Representatives on Thursday, accused the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), of ineffectively handling its mandate of conducting procurement audits of government agencies.

The House Committee on Procurement, during its 2021 budget defence session for the BPP, noted with dismay, that out of over 800 agencies of government, only 32 have been audited in the past four years.

The Committee disclosed that in line with the establishing Act of the BPP, the procurement audit reports of every agency ought to reach the National Assembly at least once in a year.

It said in spite of the humongous yearly budgetary provisions for the purpose, the Bureau has failed to utilize the funds for the purpose.

The committee frowned that the Bureau during its 2020 budget performance was unable to produce procurement audit reports to guide the proceedings ahead of the 2021 appropriation exercise.

It accused the Bureau of engaging in frivolous activities rather than concentrate on those of Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation and Supervision of all agencies of government to ensure compliance with public procurement, which comprised its core mandate.

Rather, it said the BPP was engaging in sporting activities, buying of computers and softwares, unnecessary local and international travels, as well as unfruitful money spinning training programmes for staff, in spite of evidences that most of its works were handled by consultants.

The committee directed the BPP to with immediate effect ensure that procurement audit reports covering four years from 2016 to 2019, were made available to it, and that henceforth, the reports must be made available as required by law.

It worried that the period of this failure covered from inception of the administration of the present Director General, (DG) , Mamman Ahmadu till date.

“We are shocked as a committee that we dontveven have materials to work with”, Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai, a member of the committee lamented.

They insisted that a technical committee must be set up investigate the application of all budgeted funds to the BPP since 2016, demanding also that the DG submits all audit reports from 2016 to 2019 before end of the year.

They held that the action of the DG not conducting procurement audits of the agencies was a clear infraction of the law, which must not be tolerated.

The committee asked the DG if his Bureau received capital appropriation for procurement audits since 2016 to 2019, but the DG and his team claimed they were not sure.

In a bit to defend himself, the DG told the committee that procurement audit exercises were ongoing by different agencies of government.

“We have engaged some consultants to carry out audit. We have our own way of carrying out audit”, Ahmadu said.

He assured that he would make available detailed reports to the committee, pleading with the committee for understanding and good working relationship.
In presenting his agency’s 2021 budget estimate of almost N1.5billion, the DG told the committee that he was again, looking for N100million for computers and computer softwares, as against N70 million it got in 2020.

The committee was worried that in spite of the huge budgetary provisions for Information Communication Technology (ICT) to the agency, it was still seeking huge amounts for local and international travels, amid the gains that COVID 19 pandemic brought.

The agency also sought N12million for sporting activities, with members worrying what a procurement agency needed to do with such an amount in the name of sports.

However, the budget was approved by the committee presided by its Chairman, Nasir Ahmed, following request by members that to take the 2021 budget as submitted.

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Petroleum: DPR Promise To Sustain Uninterrupted Product Supply 

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The Bauchi office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it will continue to ensure the availability of petroleum products across the 500 existing filling stations in the state.Malam Abdullahi Isyaku, the Operation’s Controller of the agency made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Monday.

Isyaku said the department would continue to closely monitor filling stations, especially on the implementation of safety measures by retail outlets.

He added that it would constantly ensure that outlets adhere to the official pump price of the commodity.

“We are determined and committed to sanctioning erring outlets found to be shortchanging consumers,’’ he said.

Isyaku said that the regulatory agency was fully committed to assisting interested marketers who want to venture into dealing with Liquefied Gas LPG in accordance with the Federal Government policy on Domestic Gas Utilisation.

According to him, the department has intensified efforts on routine surveillance of all existing retail outlets.

This is with a view to ensuring compliance with operational guidelines.

“We will not compromise standards,’’ He said.

The controller called on all registered marketers to key into the newly introduced operational monitoring tool called ‘Down Stream Remote Monitoring System’ (DRMS).

NAN reports that DRMS was recently launched by the national office of the department.

According to Isyaku, the device will assist DPR in online routine monitoring of stock positions of the products at both depots and retail outlets.

It will also help marketers to monitor activities in their filling stations.

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Leadway Assurance Charges Nigerians To Embrace Cyber Insurance

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Leadway Assurance Company Limited has charged corporate entities, institutions, religious organisations and individuals to embrace cyber insurance to protect their database and computer networks from attacks by hackers.

With increased online and internet connectivity becoming part of our day to day business, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for protection against cyber attacks, Mr. Uzodinma Ibe of the Casualty & Liability Underwriting, General Insurance, said.

He spoke at a virtual training workshop on “Understanding Cyber Insurance” organised by Leadway Assurance for insurance journalists recently.

Ibe said a comprehensive report by a United Kingdom (UK) cybersecurity company, confirmed that there was high traffic when it comes to information, transactions and data emanating from Nigeria into digital space, adding that the survey noted that 36 percent of Nigerian organisations suffered cyber attacks in the last 12 months.

He also stated that 64 percent of cyber attacks in Nigeria exploited misconfigurations on the organisation servers, pointing out that Nigeria has the highest data leakage in the world.

On business activities, social networking and governmental activities, he said the report has also identified where Nigeria as a digital hub is and to what extent are their cyber exposures.

In order to avoid cyber attacks on our computer networks, which sometimes resulted into data and financial losses, there is a need for enterprises, individuals, corporate organisations, to see it as a serious business and take up some form of cyber mitigating efforts in this regard.

According to him, “Here in Leadway, through our research, we have been able to identify a particular area of cyber exposure where corporate entities can find themselves and see how we can do proper risk management and provide specific insurance product that can help them mitigate such exposures through Cyber Risk Management Insurance which in some quarters called Cyber Liability Insurance and in some, Cyber Risk Management Insurance.

“We have been able to highlight that technology, social media and transactions over the internet (cyber platforms) play a key role in how most organisations conduct business and reach out to prospective customers today. These vehicles have gateways – platforms, integrations that cyber attackers often use.

From Leadway point of view, our Cyber Enterprise Risk Management Insurance Policies try to help any organisation mitigate risk exposure for a certain cost expenses involve with recovery after a cyber-related security breach or similar event.

On who is being indemnified or who is being provided cover, he explained that Leadway Cyber Insurance provides first-party coverage and third-party liability risk covers against cyber-attacks for organisations.

“First party which is the policyholder, the individual or that corporate entity that buys the insurance, such policy caters for private investigation expenses where there is some form of data compromise or breach to reach out to different customers to inform them of the breach.

“Third-party liability coverage indemnify companies for losses to others caused, for example, by errors and omissions, failure to safeguard data, or defamation; and other benefits including regular security-audit, post-incident public relations and investigative expenses, and criminal reward funds.

“Risks of this nature are typically excluded from traditional commercial general liability policies or at least are not specifically defined in traditional insurance products. Most people believe that only large-scale industries, such as banks only need cyber security insurance. However, any electronic information such as your name, email, contact number, financial records, medical records, payment information, government documentation, etc., stored in your personal devices can be easily and quickly hacked by a genius hacker,” he explained.

“Cyber-insurance is a specialty lines insurance product intended to protect businesses, and individuals providing services for such businesses, from Internet-based risks, and more generally from risks relating to information technology infrastructure, information privacy, information governance liability, and activities related thereto,” he pointed out.

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PENGASSAN Suspends Strike Over Chevron’s Agbami Oilfield Dispute

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Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, General-Secretary of PENGASSAN made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Yenagoa.

Okugbawa told NAN that the strike had been put on hold following a truce with company’s management on April 15. According to him, the leadership of PENGASSAN and management of CNL reached an agreement over the matter, making the proposed strike unnecessary.

Okugbawa said that the mediatory meeting by Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum with the leadership of the union scheduled for April 15 could not also hold because a truce had reached.

PENGASSAN had threatened to down tools and shutdown Agbami Offshore Oilfield over moves by Chevron to cut its workforce by 25 per cent.

The plan to lay off 600 workers was announced, in a statement, on Oct. 2, 2020 by Mr Esimaje Brikinn, CNL’s General Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs.

Brikinn said the job cut was to reposition the oil firm for greater efficiency and competitiveness.

Agbami field, which has the capacity to produce 250,000 barrels per day (bpd), currently produces about 140,000 bpd according to industry data.

NAN

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