Category: Project Reports

Engaging Communities to Advocate for Improved Services

Communications March 22, 2021 39

Connected Development’s (CODE) Follow the Money initiative, with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, helped improve the delivery of $1.5 million of education funds in Kaduna state in Nigeria, under the universal basic education spend. The project engaged communities and kept them informed on government projects and resources, and it helped them advocate for accountability with contractors and officials. According to a case study and documentary video on the initiative, Follow the Money improved access to education, strengthened accountability, and resulted in delivery of public goods across sectors to neglected communities. A comic strip that pairs with the study tells the story of a family, local media advocacy, and community meetings ultimately achieving better conditions at their school.

While communities are entitled to many services, often the delivery can be hampered by corruption. MacArthur grantee CODE helps give communities the tools to advocate for their priorities and find achievable targets for change. The case study shares take-aways for similar contexts, including supporting local leaders, focusing on near-term successes before long-term change, using holistic monitoring to see multiple measures of success.

Via MacArthur Foundation

Impact Assessment: Tracking N569M UBE Spending in Kaduna State

Communications March 3, 2021 1

Impact Assessment: Tracking N569M UBE Spending in Kaduna State

In an effort to address the increasing number of out-of-school children in Nigeria and poor citizen’s participation in government spending, Follow The Money (FTM), recently completed the 3-year project, of Tracking UBE Spending in Kaduna State. FTM ensured that 569 million naira Universal Basic Education funds earmarked for the construction and rehabilitation of facilities in 23 basic schools in Kaduna State was effectively expended. The initiative also enhanced open government in basic education spending.

The project which was supported by the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation under its ON Nigeria project, monitored the implementation of school projects in Kudan, Kajuru, Zangon Kataf and Jema’a Local Government Areas (LGA) of the State, and strengthened the capacity of School Monitoring Teams (SMTs) to effectively provide oversight on basic education spending in the state.

More highlights:

  • Tracked NGN 569,579,737.83 (USD 1.5 million)
  • Strengthened the capacity of school monitoring agents
  • Monitored project implementation across 23 schools in 20 communities.
  • Presented the needs assessment report conducted for 609 schools in Kaduna to the Acting Governor of Kaduna, Dr. Balarabe.Channeled project implementation reports to Kaduna SUBEB (Kad-SUBEB) for redressal.
  • Enhanced citizens’ engagement in basic education spending 
  • Over 200,000 lives impacted and 1.4 million media reach.

Click here to download the full report.

Tracking-UBE-Spending-in-Kaduna

Policy Brief: Transparency & Accountability Issues in Tracking COVID Funds

Communications February 17, 2021 0

The novel Coronavirus – COVID-19, which was first detected in China in late 2019 and has since been declared a pandemic threatens to become one of the most difficult health challenges faced by countries around the world in recent times. The full impact of COVID-19 is not yet known but, what is clear is the urgent need for strategic civic engagement particularly in highly populated countries like Nigeria, where public healthcare systems and reliable sanitary infrastructure capable of curtailing the heightened impact of COVID-19 remains abysmal.

CODE has now developed a Policy Brief that addresses transparency and accountability issues on COVID Funds implementation in Nigeria. Click here to view

Policy-brief-on-tracking-COVID-Funds

The Petroleum Industry Bill: Expectations and Concerns

Communications January 26, 2021 0

-Onyekachi Onuoha PhD

Nigeria has explored oil resources for over six decades. Petroleum resources provide over 90% of Nigeria’s export revenue and has remained the largest industry of the economy in terms of revenue generation. Apparently, the indicators of the Nigerian budget are predominantly drawn from the anticipated cost of a barrel of crude oil and our production capacity. A number of laws and regulations exist in different dimensions to regulate what happens in the industry, though many of them are now very obsolete. It is interesting to note that there is no robust, comprehensive and omnibus Act in the Petroleum sector to provide the requisite regulation of the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the petroleum industry. This is the gap that  the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) seeks to achieve. The Bill addresses regulatory loopholes in the industry, allowing for improved governance and regulation spectrum, improved exploration environment also beneficial to host communities, infrastructural development of these communities, and enhanced fiscal returns, among others. 

Onyekachi Onuoha during a stakeholders meeting to the Rivers State Ministry of Energy & Natural Resources

The passage of the PIB is expected to drive reforms by strengthening governance institutions, establish a strong regulatory framework, ensure transparency and accountability in oil and gas resource management and promote sustainable development. Amazingly, the PIB has been one of the longest existing bills in the Nigerian legislative history as it has been an ongoing conversation in the last 20 years. In the 8th national Assembly the bill was disaggregated into four bills. Three of the four were not passed by the National Assembly while only one which was the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill was passed but  denied assent by President Muhammadu Buhari. 

The long delay in the passage of the bill is caused by the vested interest of various stakeholders including the regulators (powers and responsibility), operators and oil marketers (Royalty and fiscal issues), host and impacted communities (environmental issues, developmental funding, etc). It must be noted that these differences cannot be holistically settled, a stakeholder parley is essential for finding a common ground. A further delay of the passage of the PIB is far from being an option as the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) had stated that Nigeria recorded losses to the tune of $200 billion for failing to pass the bill. 

In view of the overarching benefits of the bill, a number of civil society organizations including Connected Development (CODE), FOSTER, OXFAM, BudgIT, CISLAC, Centre LSD among others have increased advocacy for the reintroduction of the bill and recently the bill has now been reintroduced into the national Assembly as an executive bill following this advocacy that seeks a participatory and speedy process. In order to make the process more participatory, a public hearing on the bill was scheduled for the 27th and 28th of January, 2021 for cogent inputs by all stakeholder.  

In the midst of the expectation of passage and assent to the bill, there are clear observations;

The Expectations of the Petroleum Industry Bill

The Petroleum Industry Bill is expected to repeal upto 17 Acts and provide a new framework for natural resource governance especially in the petroleum industry.  The bill proposes the creation of the Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Commission (The Commission) which will act as the regulator of the upstream sector and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (The Authority) functioning as the regulator of the midstream and downstream sectors of the petroleum industry. It is anticipated that the creation of the Commission and the Authority will provide better enforcement of standards to streamline inter agencies’ responsibility. 

The recommended replacement of NNPC with NNPC Limited seems to be a good step to make it more efficient strictly as an operator with no form of regulatory role directly or indirectly. The introduction of Environmental Remediation Fund as a condition for the grant of license and prior to the approval of environmental Management plan is very commendable, though the approach is not inclusive of host communities.

The prohibition of flaring or venting of natural gas with fines not subject to tax deduction appear attractive to discourage gas flaring however there are stipulated exceptions for condoling gas flaring. The Host Community Development Trust requires oil operators (settlers) to contribute 2.5% of their actual operating expenditure yet this has been defaulted, worse, host communities have become mere spectators. 

It is very interesting to note that the price fixing powers of the Minister of Petroleum Resources no longer exist under the PIB 2020 which suggests a progressive move towards full and honest deregulation of the downstream sector. The powers of the minister to grant and revoke prospecting licences and Mining Leases exercisable solely by the Minister can only be done under the PIB by the recommendation of the Commission. This has the tendency of promoting due process and forestalling corrupt practices similar to the Malabu Scandal.

Effect of the Passage of the PIB on the Petroleum Downstream Sector

The PIB will have a far reaching effect on the downstream sector.

1. The removal of the powers of the Minister of Petroleum Resources in the PIB from fixing prices of petroleum products suggests an end to at least petroleum import subsidy regime. 

2. The PIB passage is likely to provide the much needed legislative framework for a compressive deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector.

3. The PIB will increase the appetite of oil marketers  to invest in the digitalisation of their vital downstream assets.

4. In line with the proposed establishment of “The Authority” to take charge of the regulation of only the midstream and downstream sector, “The Authority” should be more responsive in discharging its duties and strengthening regulations.

A tour to Ogoni Land to observe adverse impact of oil exploration on the community

Concerns of the Petroleum Industry Bill 

There are several concerns of the Petroleum Industry Bill which have been highlighted by various stakeholders. These areas of concerns include;

Host Community Development Trust: In establishing and registering the Trust, there is no reference at all to communities. The job of identifying who a host community is, lies with the oil company (Settlor). Why not the federal and state government? This has a potential for conflict?

The Holder (oil and Gas Company) selects members of the Board of Trustees (There is no provision or requirement for appointing locals or members of the host communities which means the lack of participation). The implication of this is that it places the power and the mandate for the development of oil producing communities in the hands of the oil companies, allowing the government to abdicate their responsibility. This could create additional grounds for conflict.

The Board of Trustees establishes a Management Committee which is required to have only one community representative who shall be a non-executive member of the management committee. This is gross under-representation for the host community

Forfeiture of contribution to the Host Community Trust Fund: Section 257 (2)- forfeiture of contribution to the Host Community Trust Fund as a result of vandalism, sabotage or other civil unrest. There should be a clause to indicate that such vandalism, sabotage or other civil unrest were caused by the host community as established by the commission. It should therefore be re-written thus;

“Where in any year, an act of vandalism, sabotage or other civil unrest caused by the host community as established by the commission which occurs that causes damage to petroleum and designated facilities or disrupts production activities within the host community, the community shall forfeit its entitlement to the extent of the cost of repairs of the damage that resulted from the activity with respect to the provisions of this Act within that financial year”.

Application of the New Fiscal regime: The new fiscal regime would not apply to the companies already in operation until the renewal of the existing Oil mining Leases (OMLs) and Oil Production Licenses (OPL) or the execution of a new one. The state of affairs in the country requires that the current licenses would be made subject to the PIB when passed rather than remaining under the obsolete PPT Act.

Host Community Needs Assessment: The holder (Oil and gas Company) carries out needs assessment of needs for communities. This is a recipe for conflict especially where there are conflicting needs.  While the needs assessment is required to have an ‘environmental perspective’ the details show only interest in benefit transfers and not environmental protection.

Flare Gas Data Log: The PIB as it is, does not necessarily recommend commensurate punishment for flare gas data log offenders. It merely recommends a fine of extra $2.50(US Dollars) per 28.317 standard cubic meters for an offender who is found guilty of supplying false data or fails to supply such data. This recommended fine is by all standards marginally low.

Gas Flaring: The provision for gas flaring in the bill is still very small when compared to the impact of the offence on the environment and lives of people. This implies that the provision prefers the payment of fines to a demand to end flaring. Obviously, the operators will still prefer to flare gas and factor in the penalty as a component of their operating cost as it were. 

Licence and Lease: A licence or lease may be granted under this Act only to a company incorporated and validly existing in Nigeria under the Companies and Allied Matters Act. We need to add here that; companies who sub-let such rights or contract to other non-registered companies in any of its value chain will be liable to forfeiture of their licenses.

Gas Utilisation Incentive: Companies operating in this sector should be ineligible for pioneers status incentives (PSI), which confers the benefits of a tax holiday (amongst others), the associated cost and administrative inconvenience of processing the PSI may make the Gas Utilisation Incentive (GUI) more attractive.

A tour to Ogoni Land to observe adverse impact of oil exploration on the community

CSOs must take the responsibility of critically studying the PIB to identify all the areas of concerns of all the stakeholders so that their expectations are aptly captured in the PIB and all stakeholders have commitment to the bill. Although many CSOs have worked tirelessly on the PIB and t have been stretched over the years especially because of the delay of the bill, we must find new strength; we all need to see it passed. We must stay focused and follow the bill through at the National Assembly so that we don’t sacrifice quality at the altar of speed.

The passage of the bill is a great step in the right direction for the requisite reform of the petroleum industry, however when it is passed and assented to, ensuring comprehensive implementation is imperative to take care of the governance spectrum, environmental issues and fiscal matters in the industry.

Onuoha, Onyekachi Chibueze PhD

POLICY BRIEF: ENDING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

Communications January 25, 2021 0

Project States: FCT, Adamawa, Sokoto, Lagos, Ebonyi, Cross River.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is arguably one of the most prevalent human rights violation in the world and is currently a “Shadow Pandemic” – resulting in life threatening consequences on women and girls, negatively impacting their life opportunities. This human rights violation is firmly rooted in gender inequality experienced by women globally. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by GBV.

GBV is manifested through a multitude of actions, including the forced marriage of young girls, trafficking in persons, FGM, rape and attempted rape, purdah, violence directed at individuals with different sexual orientation, sexual violence, verbal abuse and laws and regulations that limit women’s and girls’ rights and access to services in relation to men’s. These practices are not only violations of the human rights of the individuals affected but are also an instrumentalist approach to sustain the status quo and the hierarchy of gender identities. Women living in poverty are particularly vulnerable, as they face high levels of structural violence, including difficulty accessing health and legal services needed to address the effects of interpersonal GBV.

Prevailing Factors that Exacerbate Gender-Based Violence:

  1. Weak and non-existent policy and legal frameworks, and their implementation thereof;
  2. Existing discriminatory laws and policies that repress the rights of women;
  3. Socio-cultural and religious beliefs;
  4. Effects of sexist social trends and pop culture.

Lack of awareness of the human rights has reduced the insights and urgency needed to combating the persuasive nature of Gender based violence and to achieve that, there has to be: 

  • Increase in information about sexual and Gender based violence.
  • Greater advocacy in the support of legal reforms to discourage GBV.
  • More efforts to ensure Enforcement of existing laws on violence.

Policy Asks and Recommendations 

  1. Enactment and Implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition [VAPP] Act.
  2. Enactment and Implementation of the Child Rights Act.
  3. Adoption/Development of an Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence.
  4. Inclusion of gender responsive budgeting in appropriation laws.
  5. Establishment and funding of Sexual Assault Referral Centres across the Federation.
  6. Implementation of a robust database of perpetrators.
  7. Increased sensitization on mainstreaming gender sensitivity and equality.

FollowTheMoney will focus on strengthening the capacity of women and girls in the benefitting communities/wards within the spotlight initiative focal state as advocates and instruments in monitoring the adoption of the State and National Action Plan on eliminating Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria. 

This project is supported by the United Nations Spotlight Initiative

Project Brief: Deepening Citizens’ Interest in Government Spendings

Communications January 25, 2021 0

...addressing the accompanying corrupt practices.

The cross-sectoral bedrock and foundation for the crippling state of the education, healthcare, and WASH sectors in Nigeria can be attributed to institutional corruption, poor accountability and bad governance. The lack of accountability and transparency of budgeted funds allocated to these sectors through constituency projects, continue to be the reason residents suffer unjustly and are able to achieve their full potentials. Constituency projects were established to address infrastructure gaps of local communities such as the provision of standard primary healthcare, schools & learning facilities, adequate drinking water, etc. Often times, the funds for these projects’ are siphoned by elected representatives and lawmakers.

In addition, on the demand side, citizens are disinterested in providing oversight on government budgeting, spending, policies and activities including expenditure under constituency projects. This reluctance follows years of contractual abuse, corrupt practices and lack of trust in governance. Citizens have little or no information about budget allocations and many times, the constituency projects rarely reflect their needs and priorities. Also, there exists a huge gender gap in the decision-making process at all the levels of governance in Nigeria and in engaging the government on developmental issues affecting their communities. Even when making demands for accountability, and dividends of democracy, such gender disparity often exists.

To address this, Follow The Money (FTM) is leveraging its expertise on community empowerment and engagement, multi-stakeholder dialogues’ platform facilitation to mobilize and empower community governance structures and FTM champions. The model will identify and effectively provide oversight on social projects like the constituency projects’ implementation in their respective communities and enhance the capabilities of anti-corruption agencies.

Through effective collaborations and information sharing, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the media and investigative journalists on contractual abuse, evidence regarding the poor implementation of social projects. Community members would be mobilized and empowered to create demands that ensure that such projects reflect the needs of marginalized groups including seeing the needs through  gender lenses. The creation of effective linkages between communities and government MDAs/legislators for gender mainstreamed service delivery on constituency projects’ implementation, has become expedient.

Research: COVID19 and Girls’ Education in Nigeria’s North-East

Communications November 25, 2020 0

Girls in Nigeria’s North-East

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls’ education have posed some concerns-from the potential of an early marriage, to early pregnancy, susceptibility to gender-based violence and sexual harassment- there are numerous and diverse impacts of the pandemic directly or indirectly affecting the girl-child’s education and their overall well being.

CODE, with the support of Malala Fund, has now carried out a research on the implication of these effects on girls in Nigeria’s North-East, specifically Adamawa State, and what must be done to remedy the situation.

Read the full report here

Policy Brief: Strengthening the Office of the Auditor-General

Communications June 15, 2020 0

Policy Brief: Strengthening the Office of the Auditor-General

Nigeria’s inability to transform its resources as shared wealth and prosperity for all, is making it difficult to block financial leakages, as a large chunk of its earnings are being pocketed by a few and transferred illegally to other countries.

Despite the nation’s huge resources, Nigeria loses $18b annually to illegal movements of money or capital from the country– especially through the oil and gas industry, yet very little attention is paid to this illicit financial flow.

Read our Policy Brief on why the Nigerian President and the Senate need to assent the Federal Audit Bill that will enhance the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation to sanction government agencies that default audit policies.

Download Here