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Public finances must impact society



The Sunday Mail

Moses Magadza and Clare Musonda

STANDING Committees of the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC) have unanimously endorsed a draft SADC Model Law on Public Financial Management (PFM) and will soon recommend it to the highest decision-making body of the forum, the Plenary Assembly, for adoption.

The endorsement happened at the end of a two-day consultation over the draft Model Law on PFM that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently.

The validation was the climax of a series of similar engagements with different stakeholders over several weeks, as the SADC PF sought buy-in and strengthening of the Model Law, the first of its kind in the world.

The range of consultations prior to the validation gave rise to a wide range of improvements to the Model Law reflecting the perspectives and objectives of a wide range of public and private professionals with involvement or interest in public financial management.

Zambia’s Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, was the guest of honour at the final validation which took place on April 28 and 29.

In a keynote address, he said the impact of public finances spent on community projects is important to Members of Parliament because they are the interface with the communities they represent.

Musokotwane reiterated that one of the regular activities of the Forum, among others, is to draft Model Laws for the region.

“This type of work captures experiences of problems across different countries. What remains is for individual Member States to utilise Model Laws how they deem fit,” he said.

“When the government expends money for hiring teachers, what assurances are there that the hired teachers will serve in remote places and teach according to acceptable standards?” he asked.

He continued: “What I am saying is that money may be spent correctly in accounting terms, but on the ground, that money may actually not create the impact that we had envisaged when we expended the money.”

Musokotwane, who was a member of the Forum as an MP from 2011-2021, said the PFM Model Law or related laws must have provisions for the participation of all stakeholders to provide checks and balances regarding the utilisation of funds and their impact.

“In this regard, the legislation must provide the MPs either individually or through committees of parliament the necessary voice and powers to check what impact is being created by the money that has been spent, otherwise you risk money being expended but other things taking place,” he said.

The Minister explained that the exact nature of the entire PFM legislation varies from one SADC country to another.

“In my country, for example, laws about taxation sit separately in other statutes. Importantly also, those governing public borrowing and guarantees sit elsewhere and not in the PFM Act as do some laws regarding regulation of finances of state-owned enterprises,” he said.

His view was that the job of changing legislation is only half done until the other aspects such as public borrowing is also informed.

“Experiences from the past and present systems are very insightful in this regard. If the laws on public borrowing are weak, a country will quickly find itself in deep trouble.”

The veteran politician said whatever good may exist in other aspects of public finances may be severely undone by the inadequate provision of public borrowing that does not have checks and balances.

Musokotwane urged MPs to look out for any defects in respective PFM legislation.

He explained that serving as an elected MP was “a great opportunity to learn about what works and what doesn’t work” on the ground.

Because of this, he said, each constituency in Zambia now directly receives about US$1,6 million per year to decide on the development priorities in their areas.

He added Zambia would study the Model Law on PFM and the recommendations that the Forum will make and use those insights to improve “what we already have”.

According to the minister, the main activity of revenue collections which is so huge, has profound effects on the economy, which can either be useful or harmful depending on how it is done. The minister congratulated SADC PF for succeeding to convince the SADC Executive wings and governments to allow the Forum to be transformed into a SADC Parliament.

The Johannesburg workshop enabled parliamentarians from across the SADC region and other delegates to understand the content, aims and objectives of the Model Law, approve and support the same. With the intense consultations on the Model Law on PFM now over, the penetrating work in producing and perfecting the Model Law will now need be channelled into domestication and effective implementation.

Veteran legal drafter Mr Daniel Greenberg led the development of the Model Law on PFM with support from a very knowledgeable and committed Technical Working Group. He said the most challenging aspect of developing the Model Law was “reflecting contrasting perspectives in a balanced way”.

On what it would make the Model Law to work for the citizens of SADC, Greenberg said: “The Model Law must be implemented in an effective and timely way in all SADC Member States”. “All those involved in the public financial management sector must engage with the principles and provisions of the law enthusiastically and energetically, to achieve specific results including the prevention of illicit financial flows and to enhance the general citizens’ confidence in the efficacy, transparency and accountability of public financial management.”

SADC PF Secretary General Ms Boemo Sekgoma thanked the MPs and all those that participated in the many consultations over the Model Law draft for their “well thought out contributions and for sharing lessons from Member States doing something in line with PFM”.

“Honourable Members had carefully read the draft. It became clear from the many penetrating questions and suggestions that we all want the institution of Parliament to be at the center of the development, adoption, domestication and implementation of this Model Law,” the SG said.

She added: “We all seek a law that is cohesive, comprehensive, fit for purpose, alive to the clear separation of powers, is not unduly prescriptive, is persuasive, supports transparency and is gender neutral, among others. I am delighted that our legal drafter has gone to great lengths to demonstrate that this draft meets those expectations.”

She said although none of the many comments and questions on the draft were such as to prompt major surgery on the draft Model Law, further to comments garnered, certain provisions of the Model Law would be revisited accordingly.

“The PFM Model Law is a unique document. It is a baseline to lead and assist other countries in PFM as part of development cooperation between SADC Member States and other parts of the world,” she said.

Moses Magadza is reading towards a PhD in Media Studies while Clare Musonda, a lawyer and social scientist, is Director of Corporate Governance at SADC PF.


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OffGamers Adds Direct Top-Up Option for China Platforms – Corporate Governance News Today



OffGamers Adds Direct Top-Up Option for China Platforms – Corporate Governance News Today – EIN Presswire

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Former Guildford mayor Richard Billington dies following brain tumour



A former Guildford mayor and Conservative councillor has died, Guildford Borough Council announced in a statement on Friday (May 20). The council said it is ‘with great sadness’ it confirms that councillor Richard Billington died in the early hours of May 20.

The council lowered its flag to half-mast at its headquarters in Millmead. Richard received life-saving surgery at St George’s hospital in Tooting, London following the discovery of a malignant brain tumour in 2020.

A new inoperable tumour was discovered in his brain earlier this year and received palliative care from the Royal Surrey and later on at the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice. Richard was first elected to the Council in 2011, representing the Tillingbourne ward.

READ MORE: Guildford snubbed again as eight other towns gain city status for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Councillor Joss Bigmore, leader of the council, said: “Richard Billington served the people of Guildford well. He was mayor when the pandemic started, turning everything we knew and did upside down. He impressed many with how he handled the situation.

“When he was recovering from neurosurgery he still wanted to help and encouraged everyone to get the Covid vaccine. He was also one of the few mayors to serve two consecutive years. Rest in peace Richard, we will not forget you.”

Leader of the Conservative group, Councillor Paul Spooner, added: “Richard was respected and much loved. I had the honour of working with him when he served on the executive with me.

“He always gave his time and skills with joy and enthusiasm. Richard worked hard to make sure that people were seen, thanked and represented.

“Over the pandemic he often quoted the Queen, saying ‘we WILL meet again’. I hope that we will indeed meet again.”

Richard was mayor in 2019-20 and 2020-2021, serving again during the pandemic. He was on the executive from October 2012 to May 2018. He began as lead councillor for community safety and health.

In 2015 he became lead councillor for rural economy, countryside, parks, and leisure. Richard was on the planning committee from 2011 to 2019 and Licensing Committee from 2011 to 2014.

He was also chairman of the corporate governance and standards committee in 2018-19.

As a councillor, Richard served in other organisations:

  • Surrey Hills AONB Partnership from 2011 to 2019
  • Surrey County Playing Fields Association from 2015 to 2019
  • Sport Guildford from 2016 to 2019
  • Surrey Countryside and Rural Enterprise Forum from 2017 to 2019
  • Surrey County Agricultural Society from 2017 to 2018

Details of the arrangements for Richard’s memorial will be announced shortly.

Find out how you can get more Guildford Borough Council news from SurreyLive straight to your inbox for free here .

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NGX Lauds Ex-Seplat Chair, Orjiako, Welcomes Omiyi



NGX lauds ex-Seplat chair, Orjiako, welcomes Omiyi
Basil Omiyi

Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) hosted members of the Board of Directors and Executive Management of Seplat Energy Plc to a Closing Gong Ceremony to honour the immediate former Chairman, Dr. Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (‘A.B.C.’) Orjiako, and introduce the newly appointed Chairman, Mr. Basil Omiyi, to the market on Thursday, 19 May 2022.

Speaking at the event, Mr. A.B. Mahmoud, SAN, OON, Chairman, NGX, ably represented by, Mr. Kamarudeen Oladosu, Director, NGX, congratulated the immediate former Chairman, Dr. A.B.C Orjiako, for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance of Seplat Energy for well over a decade, during which the company was listed on both NGX and London Stock Exchange. “The notable acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants under his leadership positioned the company as the largest indigenous domestic supplier of gas”, he noted.

In response, the immediate former Chairman, Dr. Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (‘A.B.C.’) Orjiako, commended NGX for its high levels of corporate governance, which have been critical to the company’s growth. He said,

“The high levels of corporate governance promoted by NGX for its listed companies was a key attribute that motivated Seplat Energy Plc to become part of the market. Since our acceptance into the market, Seplat Energy Plc has continued to deliver a corporate governance structure that is accountable and transparent to our investors, employees, government and all other relevant stakeholders. We are committed to sustaining these high levels of corporate governance through our collaboration with NGX as we implement market-leading measures towards ensuring Nigeria achieves a sustainable energy sector.”

Delivering his remarks, the recently appointed Chairman, Seplat Energy Plc, Mr. Basil Omiyi, said, “NGX has played an instrumental role in Seplat Energy Plc’s growth within the domestic and international markets. Our history with the Exchange dates back to 2014 when the shares of Seplat Energy Plc were listed in the market and over the years, Seplat has benefitted immensely from its collaboration with NGX. As we celebrate another milestone on the Trading Floor of the Exchange, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with NGX for the fulfillment of our joint goal of leveraging capital to empower sustainable initiatives that positively impact our investors, employees, and the environment.”

NGX lauds ex-Seplat chair, Orjiako, welcomes Omiyi
ABC Orjiako

On his part, Temi Popoola, Chief Executive Officer, NGX, said, “The Exchange is better positioned to lead government advocacy efforts for listed companies, promote technology advancement and digital innovation for the capital market, and increase retail investor participation in the capital market aimed at building a market for the future and addressing the prevailing challenge of financial inclusion. We welcome Seplat Energy Plc to a renewed NGX and look forward to deepening our collaboration to develop and push for disruptive, out of the box ideas that could support Nigeria’s energy transition into a net-zero economy.”

Also present on the trading floor of NGX to sound the gong and bring the day’s trading to a close were Mr. Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Energy Plc; Mr. Bello Rabiu, Independent Non-Executive Director, Seplat Energy Plc; Mr. Emeka Onwuka, Chief Financial Officer, Seplat Energy Plc; Dr. Chioma Nwachukwu, Director, External Affairs and Sustainability, Seplat Energy Plc; Mr. Effiong Okon, Operations Director, Seplat Energy Plc; Mr. Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head Capital Markets Division, NGX; Mr. Femi Oyenuga, Divisional Head Digital Technology Services, NGX and Mrs. Irene Robinson-Ayanwale, Divisional Head Business Support Services Division, NGX.


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