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Ikeja Electric unveils ‘takeover journey, new horizons for growth’ in 2018 Sustainability Report

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Ikeja Electric Plc (“IE” or “the Company”), Nigeria’s leading electricity distribution company, has published its 2018 Sustainability Report titled, “Committed to Excellence – Half a Decade of Bringing Energy to Life”, which reflects IE’s performance, accomplishments, challenges, passion for its business and its growth opportunities in 2018.

Being the first and only Electricity Distribution company in Nigeria to produce a sustainability report, the Report covers IE’s sustainability journey post-takeover with the inherent accomplishments including rebranding, infrastructure investments, smart technology investment, business process investment and performance improvement among other successes attained from the takeover period up to December 2018.

The 2018 Sustainability Report is the fourth report published by IE in successive order, and commemorates five years of the takeover of the company’s operation by its core investors following privatization on November 1, 2013.

Introducing the Report, the Chairman of Ikeja Electric, Kola Adesina, explained that “the scope of IE’s sustainability reports has moved beyond merely communicating financial risks to performance reporting aimed at fostering stakeholder confidence, long-term risk management, building the Company’s reputation and refining its corporate vision and strategy. Through the yearly publication of sustainability reports, IE has demonstrated its commitment to accountability, responsibility and transparency, which have unarguably, distinguished the Company in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).”

The Company aims to publish its Sustainability Reports on an annual basis and the intended audience for this Report are key stakeholders, which include customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, government and regulatory bodies. These stakeholders directly impact and are also directly impacted by the activities of the Company.

“Since we took over in November 2013, we have put in place, strategies that will steer the electricity distribution arm of the electricity sector value chain to greater heights,” Adesina added

“We have assembled a strong leadership team with extensive experience, robust industry and consumer knowledge, focused on innovation and growth. In addition, we have reinvigorated our legacy of sustainability with the introduction of customer-centric initiatives, which are geared towards assuring all stakeholders of a business built on accountability, responsibility, transparency and fairness. We have demonstrated that with the right leadership, the Company can continue to grow and improve its performance as expected by all stakeholders.”

Looking beyond the five years, Adesina noted that “sustainability will remain a central focus for the Company and its Board. Our customers and other stakeholders are crucial to the achievement of our goals; and we believe that a business can only be deemed strong and successful when its stakeholders are satisfied with the services provided. Consequently, the Board will continue to support initiatives that promote its sustainability agenda while creating value in the coming years.”

The Report which is developed by the Company’s Governance & Compliance Office, highlights that in 2018, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aided the Company in securing its social license to operate and build the trust of its stakeholder groups. Businesses cannot succeed in societies that fail, and as such, the Company invested in the achievement of SDGs such as; ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all at all ages; ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education; promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all; achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls.

The Company also contributed to the achievement of the SDGs by providing access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization; fostering innovation and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. Other contributions include provision of access to justice for all; building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels; strengthening the means of implementation and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development.

The Company reported that within the period under review, it established better technology-driven processes, leveraged data to measure performance for a more consistent growth pattern, optimized its network to drive efficiency and enhanced its security management system. It also deepened its Quality Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) processes and procedures through learning and development programs such as “Target Zero” and “QHSE at a glance” which impacted positively on employees, vendors and contractors.

Over the years, the Company has strengthened its stakeholder engagement and partnership to foster better relationships and maintain a social license to operate, whilst building a committed workforce by treating its employees fairly through reward and recognition initiatives put in place to incentivize the excellent performance of employees.

“We do not report data because it is popular, or because others do so. We track our sustainability performance because it helps us make better decisions, helps to de-risk projects, discover new opportunities and deliver real value for our business. We acknowledge that there is still work to be done and we will continue to do all we can to ensure we maintain our brand promise – bringing energy to life.” Adesina states in the Report.

The Company’s 2018 Sustainability Report was organized and presented in accordance with the Sustainability Reporting Standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The GRI Standards seek to achieve consistency amongst organizations reporting on their sustainability activities.

Full access to Ikeja Electric’s 2018 Sustainability Report is available on the Company’s website at https://www.ikejaelectric.com/corporate-governance/ or https://bit.ly/2SDQbK6

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BUSINESS

Heritage Bank, PWC, Deloitte canvass use of tech to rescind effects of Covid-19, tackle fraud

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s Most Innovative Banking Service provider has called on internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced  fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, Director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.

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Banking

Heritage Bank’s MD calls for more impactful role in banking to aid speedy economic recovery

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In the quest to aid speedy economic recovery and impactful service delivery to stakeholders caused by macro-economic headwinds and Covid-19, banking sector’s players have been charged to maximize the opportunities by re-strategizing its roles that will address emerging risks.

The MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo made the call during the 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) with the theme “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” held virtually on Microsoft Team’s platform, which was organized and hosted by the Heritage Bank, at the weekend.

Sekibo who was represented by his Executive Director, Jude Monye, whilst addressing internal auditors of banks, inquired from the bankers on the readiness of the Internal Audit function to lend the necessary support in exploiting and maximising the opportunities without impairing their independence.

He, however noted that with the rapid changing developments forced by the pandemic sweep across globe that have upended organisations in every sector of the economy, banking inclusive; internal auditors would notice that their modus operandi are outdated.

To this end, he stated that this was the most auspicious time for Chief Audit Executives to rethink how they perform various aspects of their audit assignments.

Sekibo suggested that auditors must “become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

He further hinted, “Embracing new processes and tools to modernize and maximize the audit function helps not only with the perception of internal audit’s value, but also the reality of its contributions. Opportunities to evaluate include virtual auditing, electronic workflow management, and distance team-building and development.”

According to him, it becomes imperative for audit teams to embrace change, harness it and use this season to strategize on what internal audit can be in the future, whist noting that only Chief Audit Executives that maximize the opportunity to refresh and reposition will make their role more relevant and impactful for stakeholders.

Meanwhile, he commended auditors for their contributions to the industry including inputs made in shaping policy directions by regulators and the fight against fraud and other financial crimes which helped in no small measure in deepening confidence of the banking public.

In the same vein, the Chairman of ACAEBIN, Yinka Tiamiyu, reiterated the need for internal auditors to maximize opportunities of the current challenges facing the industry, as each day brings new developments that directly influence the likelihood and potential impact of banking future.

According to him, there are challenges on our part as Bankers in meeting up with the needs of our customers and the general public, and we must ensure that such challenges are surmounted.

He stressed on the need for regular annual audit plan to be reviewed quarterly to address current events that have significant impacts on the business, whilst ensuring that the key players continuously provide banking services to customers in a convenient and safer way.

“On our part, the need for improvement in service delivery and safety of customer’s funds as we digitalized our product offerings are concerns facing the industry, as such we must not relent in our efforts to get strong authentication mechanisms as we make our services more convenient and easier for Customers.  Banks should strive to find solution to the problems associated with identity theft as we pursue digital products and inclusive banking. This is to ensure that customers are happy with us and complaints minimized,” Tiamiyu urged internal auditors of banks.

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Energy

Lagos Explosion: How BBC Ignored NNPC Explanation

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A plot may be afoot to damage Nigeria’s interests by attacking the integrity of certain institutions of government to discredit them for yet unknown reasons.

A recent report by the BBC Africa Eye on the pipeline explosion that occurred in Sabo, a Lagos suburb, on March 15, 2020 appear to fit a pattern of media blackmail of critical government institutions, especially the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

The report said the BBC Africa Eye had obtained new evidence which contradicted NNPC’s official explanation on the cause of the explosion which claimed 23 lives.

NNPC had claimed at the time that the explosion occurred as a result of a truck that hit gas cylinders around the petroleum pipeline, where people had turned into a residential and commercial area contrary to regulations and in blatant disregard for the pipelines right of way.

But the media house said its evidence – a five-minute video and three sources (said to be experts in petroleum pipeline safety) – showed that there was a leak of “vaporized liquid” from the point of explosion on the pipeline.

The media house then said the evidence indicated that there was inadequate protection of the pipeline from soil erosion and that the NNPC failed to maintain industry standard.

The BBC Africa Eye, in the tradition of true journalism, sent a questionnaire to the NNPC requesting for the Corporations response to the allegations, including claim that victims of the explosion were not compensated.

But the medium breached all rules of balance and objectivity when it published the report of its investigations without reflecting the position of NNPC to all the allegations raised.

The media house portrayed the report as premeditated when it sent it out to some local media in Nigeria, including this website, with a plea to help republish.

But the NNPC response to the BBC Africa Eye questionnaire, dated August 28,  obtained by this website, contained details of its own investigations and conclusions which were ignored.

The Corporation responded to all the five allegations put to it in details, insisting on its initial explanation that the explosion was caused when a truck heavily laden with stones hit gas cylinders around the pipeline..

In a detailed response addressed to Marc Perkins, editor of the BBC Africa Eye, the Corporation insisted that a truck, heavily laden with stones,  was in the vicinity of the explosion, which clearly “indicated that it was instrumental to the explosion. A close look at the area would show that most of the people carrying out their businesses there were in breach of the Corporation’s Pipeline Right of Way which is 15 meters on either side of the pipeline.”

The NNPC stated further that residents of the area engaged in LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) vending, saw-milling, cement trading, auto repair, cooking, roasting  and  other activities inimical to a pipeline right of way.

“The eye-witness reports we got indicated that the explosion occurred when the above-mentioned truck hit cylinders at the LPG shop,” the document stated.

On the claim that there was a leakage on the pipeline which released vaporized liquid that caused the explosion, the Corporation stated that there was no leakage of PMS or any other vaporized liquid from its pipeline at the point of the explosion prior to the incident.

Instead, it said, “At about the time of the explosion (0852hrs to 08S7hrs), a pressure drop from 42 to 8 bar was observed during our pumping operations and the pipeline was immediately shutdown. Any leakage prior to the incident would have resulted in a drop in pressure. But that was not the case.

“It must also be noted that both Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) are petroleum products that essentially burn the same way. Since there was an LPG vending shop at the location, it is more likely that the incident was caused by LPG explosion. The incident was typical of gas explosion.”

But curiously, a report on the explosion circulated in the local media by BBC Africa Eye made little or no reference to the official response of the Corporation, but instead repeated claims made by its sources which were at variance with the official explanations it requested from NNPC.

Its only reference to Nigeria’s official explanation was to its third and fifth allegations that the pipelines were not well protected and that the Corporation did not pay compensation to victims of the explosion.

But even the NNPC’s responses to the allegations were largely ignored, and got only a passing mention.

The Corporation had described claims of inadequate protection of the pipeline against erosion as incorrect, and that the pipeline was not exposed at the vicinity of the explosion, but that “the pipeline was excavated to enable repair works after the incidence and the area has since been restored and the pipeline re-commissioned for operations.”

According to the document, the Corporation insisted that its pipelines were designed “operated and maintained in strict compliance with the safely and regulatory guidelines of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and API/ANSI/ASME standards,” maintaining there was no issue of negligence in terms of ensuring the integrity of the pipeline.

In conclusion, the Corporation stressed that despite the fact that the explosion was not caused by any  negligence on its part, it still worked “closely with the Lagos State Government in  providing a  N2billion relief  fund for the  victims,” contrary to the allegation made by the media house.

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