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For Immediate Release: The Nigeria Network of NGOs welcomes Federal Governments decision to reconstitute the Financial Reporting Council

For Immediate Release: The Nigeria Network of NGOs welcomes Federal Governments decision to reconstitute the Financial Reporting Council

For Immediate Release

The Nigeria Network of NGOs welcomes Federal Governments decision to reconstitute the Financial Reporting Council

Lagos, January 9, 2017—The Nigeria Network of NGOs representing over 2,000 not-for-profit organisations in Nigeria welcomes the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to reconstitute the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). The Nigerian Not-for-Profit sector was upset yet again by the actions of the FRC in releasing the Not-for-Profit Organisations (NFPO) Code in October 2016 despite earlier submissions to the Council on the need to ensure robust engagements with the wider civil society community before the code is released.

By this singular act the President has shown our sector and the world that it stands ready to uphold the protection and strengthening of civic space in Nigeria. We have seen around the world and at an alarming rate efforts by various governments to restrict the operational space for civil society through laws, policies and practices to limit the ability of people to come together to act for a just world.

Our sector remains guided by the ultimate believe that a robust governance system is extremely positive, for both not-for-profits and wider society.

In recognition of the impact and contributions of our sector to the growth and development of the nation’s economy, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Trade and Investment to ensure that the civil society community is included in the process of nominating members of the Council since there is a code released by FRC for the not-for-profit sector too.

As a Network, we hope to continue to use our organizational capacity – including convening power, community management excellence and insight generation to engage with the FRC and its new leadership on the NFPO Code.

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For further information, please contact:

Kunle Idowu

Media and Communications Manager

0803 348 3421 | kunle@nnngo.org

About us: The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is the first generic membership body for civil society organizations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues. Established in 1992, NNNGO represents over 2000 organizations ranging from small groups working at the local level, to larger networks working at the national level. www.nnngo.org

Worrying legislation to restrict Nigerian civil society sector underway

Worrying legislation to restrict Nigerian civil society sector underway

CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance and the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) are deeply concerned about impending legislation to restrict freedom of association in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s National Assembly is currently considering a bill to provide for “the establishment of the Non-Governmental Organisations Regulatory Commission for the Supervision, Coordination and Monitoring of Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations etc. in Nigeria and for related matters.” First introduced in July 2016, the bill has since passed through the second reading in the House of Representatives. The bill has now been referred to the Committee on CSOs and Development Partners for further legislative input.

“The bill is in conflict with Nigeria’s Constitutional and international law obligations,” says Oyebisi Oluseyi, Executive Director of NNNGO. “We must instead strengthen civic space in Nigeria, as our sector’s role in finding solutions to the enormous challenges facing our nation cannot be overemphasized”.

CIVICUS has expressed solidarity with Nigerian civil society, which is deeply opposed to the bill’s provisions on grounds that the operations and finances of NGOs are already regulated by seven legal frameworks and overseen by five government agencies. This was emphasised in a peaceful protest taken to the Lagos State Governor at the Lagos House on 28 September 2016 by civil society organisations from different parts of the country.

One of the problematic provisions in the proposed bill is the mandatory requirement for NGOs to seek permission to operate in the country. This is in contrast with best practices issued by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, which underscore the right to form and join an association, including an unregistered association.

The proposed government dominated NGO Regulatory Commission would be empowered to “facilitate and coordinate” the work of all national and international NGOs, as well as to provide policy guidelines to harmonise their activities in line with the National Development Plan determined by the government. Civil society organisations are concerned about the amount of control this would give to the government-aligned Commission, and civil society ability to operate independently.

The bill also seeks to exercise operational control over projects implemented by NGOs by requiring them to seek prior permission from the ministry relevant to their area of work. The legislative brief of the bill introduced by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly emphasises the intention to establish a National Council of Voluntary Organisations to develop a code of conduct for the regulation of the civil society organisations on matters relating to their funding, foreign relations, national security etc.

“In its present form the NGO regulation bill will weaken the ability of civil society to expose corruption and rights violations,” said Mandeep Tiwana, Head of Policy and Research from CIVICUS. “The orientation of the Bill is patently undemocratic and geared towards controlling the work of NGOs whose independence is vital for a healthy democracy.”

CIVICUS and NNNGO urge the Federal Government of Nigeria and Members of the Nigeria National Assembly to reconsider the NGO regulation bill and focus on creating an enabling environment for civil society in law and practice to maximise the sector’s contributions to national development and constitutional imperatives.

Nigeria is listed in the ‘obstructed’ category of the CIVICUS Monitor

Corporate Affairs Commission organises round-table workshop for NNNGO members

Corporate Affairs Commission organises round-table workshop for NNNGO members

The roundtable workshop (National Conference) for members of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO), 7 September 2016, Lagos, Nigeria, was convened by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in partnership with the Nigeria Network of NGOs.

The National Conference was held under the theme ‘’Attaining global best practices in NGO formation and management’’ and followed CAC’s commitment to take forward outcomes of discussions at the 15th NNNGO Annual Conference by organizing an engagement conference with members of the Network on how to improve the enabling environment for the operations of non-profits in Nigeria.

The National Conference aimed:

  • to provide information on pre and post registration requirements and processes for complying with regulatory requirements under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
  • to strengthen commitment by non-profits to develop strong corporate governance principles, arrangements, methods and strategies for meeting their organisational objectives
  • to share experiences, challenges and technical knowledge on how to use CAC’s online registration portal and how to settle internal disputes through mediation considering need to address many of the leadership challenges non-profits may face.
  • to reinforce the role of non-profits in the attainment of the SDGs.

Over 235 participants attended, including delegates from 23 States of the Federation, representatives from the Commission, civil society organisations and thought leaders. In addition, 8,116 organic reaches were recorded for our Facebook posts on the day of the conference alone.

Download selected conference presentations here

Invitation to Corporate Affairs Commission’s (CAC) Engagement Conference with Civil Society Organisations

Invitation to Corporate Affairs Commission’s (CAC) Engagement Conference with Civil Society Organisations

Invitation to Corporate Affairs Commission’s (CAC) Engagement Conference with Civil Society Organisations

7 September 2016, Lagos, Nigeria

Theme: Achieving Global Best Practices in NGO Formation and Management.

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Corporate Affairs Commission’s (CAC) engagement conference with civil society organisations on 7 September 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria. As you have seen from our work at the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) in the last 3 years, we have been engaging with regulators on an enabling environment for our sectors operations. You will recall that at the NNNGO annual conference in 2015 CAC committed to organising a conference to discuss and work together with our sector to shape the future of our sector.

We strongly encourage your attendance at this conference as this is a great opportunity to ensure your voice is heard. The conference will bring together senior management at CAC, members of the wider civil society community and other thought leaders in the sector to share experiences and case studies on NGO formation and management in Nigeria.

REGISTRATION

We strongly recommend you register immediately at http://bit.ly/29UYsoQ to ensure your space is guaranteed as we have only 250 spaces. Registration is FREE. Only selected applicants will be contacted.  All participants are responsible for organising their own travel and accommodation.

We look forward to welcoming you in Lagos and to jointly work together to strengthen our sector.

 

World Changers Foundation

World Changers Foundation

Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see in the world”.

Changing the world begins with life changing experience. If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you changes. Not only because you now view the environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow one to take action in ways that would not have thought about while stuck in the old pattern of thoughts.

If only 7 percent of world population can care for the distressed, banish selfishness and embrace selflessness, we would be quite amazed by how much we can change the world.

Not underestimating the power of vision to change the world and readily born out of the need to work out the renaissance and orientate the moral value of people in the society, World Changers Foundation in 2011 desired and began to create social network with the responsibility of raising World Changers for nation building.

Taking due account of the presence of genuine future leaders across political divide and the need to quickly attract these birds of same plumage who represent the repressed, depressed, oppressed and deprived populace in the society, WCF envisions a society that is effective, reformed and restructured that these communities may become the ambassadors of change and create a better world for themselves, their state and the nation.

Strategizing to promote behavioral change, WCF has been networking and collaborating with organizations that share common goals and visions to design and develop a youth friendly curriculum geared toward vocational skills to enhance capacity building for self-sustenance which would in turn affect their lives positively.

Opuda Sotonwari, the coordinator of WCF said that the foundation has been able to organize training for about 300 secondary school pupils and youths in the city of Port Harcourt, Rivers state on skills acquisition in soap and bead-making and decoration. This, she said will continue to be part of their  agenda for the youth in the society which would transfer them to the position of employers of labor and will automatically help take burdens off the shoulders of their parents.

According to her, masses in River State are gradually loosing hope for a better future, these threatening challenges again woke WCF to the state of the economy in the state and vowed again never to stop giving humanitarian services. Building the capacity of “In school and Out” school youths, people with disability, less privilege, widows, women and indigent children through empowerment programme and scholarship scheme hence became part of the important goals that must be achieved and reach at least about five hundred thousand people in Nigeria. Opuda Sotanwari revealed that this cause will continue till the year 2025.

Meanwhile, WCF’s coordinator further stated that promoting primary health services through advocacy, social mobilization and free medical services in the area of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other related epidemics to remote and hard to reach communities have also been part of the societal transformation the foundation envisioned which till date she said to its credit continues to benefit hundreds of lives.

Vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can massively transform the communities around you. This, Opuda Sotonwari proudly said World Changers Foundation has embraced as a watchword.

NNNGO Trains Chief Executive Officers

Over 50 Chief Executive Officers within the membership of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) from the six geo-political zones of the country gathered in Lagos on the 6th of April 2016 to learn, share experience and adopt global best practices in NGO management at the Network’s capacity building workshop with a special focus on responsibilities, productivity and efficiency held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Alausa, Ikeja.

The workshop which was mainly organized for members of the network took participants through the functional core duties of a CEO of not-for-profit organisation. Findings from our work revealed that not many NGO leaders have clear terms of reference for their work which has in most cases impacted negatively on their ability to lead effectively.

Taking participants through their functional roles, Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, NNNGO’s Executive Director noted that efficiency is most important for a terrific outcome, he thus laid emphasis on job specifications, stressing the need for a robust knowledge, intelligence, commitment and dedication in ensuring and ascertaining a successful and impactful touch to their foundations which were established for the sole purpose of service to humanity.

And as result of the changing dynamics of running an NGO, Oyebisi admonished the CEOs to cultivate a healthy relationship with their board of directors for better and clearer strategic direction, further noting that a non-profit director should not only maintain a positive working relationship with employees but must as well function effectively balancing day to day leadership duties with accurate accountability to the board of directors, emphasizing that proper balance and accountability can only be achieved when both the board and the executive directors’ roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. He added that some initial degree of tension or disconnect between the executive director and board of directors is natural but that steps to address challenges will definitely instill mutual trust and strengthen the organization’s operational capacity at the long run.

Participants at the end of the workshop garnered more capacities on the running of their NGOs which included tips on executive director’s job description, committee responsibilities, working with board of directors, maximizing board meeting productivity, staffing, human resource, budget, finance and obtaining grants amongst others. The CEOs were most delighted on this new development which they said has broadened their horizons.

In particular was a participant who confessed that prior to the training, she had little knowledge of how to manage her organisation, she further opened up that she has been a sole funder of her Foundation since its inception but she realized that “it is now getting out of her hands and cannot handle it anymore” however with the knowledge gained at the workshop she now ‘’knows what to do in taking her organisation to the next level’’

The Nigeria Network of NGOs, established in 1992 represents over 2000 organizations ranging from small groups working at the local level to larger networks working at the national level.

13 things NGO’s need to know about the 2016 budget from the President’s Speech

13 things NGO’s need to know about the 2016 budget from the President’s Speech
By Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs.

Just some few weeks of sleep or sleepless nights until the 2016 budget is passed, however from the President’s speech we have gotten a firmer picture of what the Federal Government has planned for the next 12 months in 2016.

While we are working on accessing the budget itself with the hope of publishing a more analytical piece, here are 13 things Non Government Organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria need to know about the 2016 budget from the President’s speech.

1.    In what is becoming a cliché, the President stated that “our problems are not beyond us’’ and spoke about how the solution lies in, ‘our farmlands, our corporations, in the universities, in the hearts and minds of our entrepreneurs; through the gallantry of our Armed Forces; and the resolute spirit of Nigerians’, indicating that the Federal Government (FG) is giving priority to agriculture, education, entrepreneurship (job creation) and security.

Nigerian NGOs and coalitions working in the areas of agriculture, education, entrepreneurship and security will need to up their game in providing the government with needed intelligence, evidence based data and model projects and programmes that the government can scale up in these sectors of the economy.

2.    The Federal Government is ready to tackle corruption head on and is not relenting in its efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption. NGOs working on good governance should expect ‘many more initiatives’ coming from the FG in fighting corruption. It is imperative that NGOs working on good governance support government’s efforts in the review of any new anti-corruption initiative and also engage with anti-corruption agencies on how best citizens and citizen organisations can support government’s anti-corruption plans.

3.    The Federal Government has adopted a zero budgeting system. Wikipedia explains zero budgeting thus: Zero-based budgeting is an approach to planning and decision-making that reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. In traditional incremental budgeting, departmental managers justify only variances versus past years based on the assumption that the “baseline” is automatically approved. By contrast, in zero-based budgeting, every line item of the budget, rather than only the changes, must be approved. Zero-based budgeting requires that the budget request be re-evaluated thoroughly, starting from the zero-base; this involves preparation of a fresh budget every year without reference to the past. This process is independent of whether the total budget or specific line items are increasing or decreasing.

NGOs working on budget monitoring will need to build new capacity if needed in understanding how the zero based budgeting process works and what this means for their work and how it helps in balancing FG budgets. NGOs working on public procurement will also have to step in, since this system might open up new challenges in the areas of contract inflation and over pricing.

4.    Cooperative societies will be the platform through which the FG aims to support (through loans) and train market women, traders and artisans in partnership with State and Local Governments. Cooperative based NGOs especially have an important role to play in monitoring and shaping how these loans and training’s are delivered.

5.    Social protection is an integral part of the 2016 budget and will be implemented in phases. A full social protection programme will be launched soon and will include, ‘conditional grant transfers to the poor and vulnerable, home-grown public primary school feeding and free education for science, technology and education students in our tertiary institutions.’

This is an important area of work for NGOs working on social protection, poverty reduction, child nutrition, education and health including organisations working on anti-corruption, public procurement to monitor implementation of the social protection programme.

6.    “Compilation of registers of the poorest persons is ongoing’’ indicates the President in his speech. All NGOs must ask questions here when did this start? How is it being implemented? What data is being used? What is the definition of the poor and vulnerable? Which agency of the government is handling the registration? These and many more questions need to be asked with a view to strengthen the system and ensure that the poorest and vulnerable in our society are truly the ones registered.

7.    The 2016 budget proposal is ‘N6.08 trillion with a revenue projection of N3.86 trillion resulting in a deficit of N2.22 trillion’.  ‘Deficit will be financed by a combination of domestic borrowing of N984 billion, and foreign borrowing of N900 billion totalling N1.84 trillion.’

The expertise of NGOs working on the economy is needed here to inform the National Assembly and Government on the implications of this for our future and our debt profile as a country.

8.    Domestic resource mobilisation for the budget will come from ‘oil related revenues’, which is expected to contribute N820 billion. Non-oil revenues, comprising Company Income Tax (CIT), Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs and Excise duties, and Federation Account levies, will contribute N1.45 trillion. Finally, by enforcing strict compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and public expenditure reforms in all MDAs, we have projected up to N1.51 trillion from independent revenues.

Tax justice NGOs, NGOs working on extractive industries, procurement NGOs all have their work carved out in 2016.

9.    In his speech the President hinted on the possibilities of a subsidy removal in the future. “I have directed the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to adjust its pricing template to reflect competitive and market driven components. We believe this can lower input costs and attain efficiency savings that will enable PPPRA to keep the selling price for all marketers of petrol at N87 per litre for now.’’

The ‘now’ (with emphasis on it by the President in his speech) suggests a possible change in the oil pricing structure which may necessitate the removal of fuel subsidy at some point within the life of this administration. Civil Society Organisations must work together in feeling the pulse of citizens on subsidy removal and not leave organised labour and opposition parties alone to lead the process. We must find evidence based data for our stand on either the removal or non-removal of subsidy; this must not be based on sentiments but on real economic analysis and representation of citizens’ opinion.

10.    The cause of the fuel scarcity we have been experiencing in the last couple of months according to the President is caused by ‘market speculators and resistance to change by some stakeholders.’

It is imperative for Nigerian NGOs as representatives of the issues affecting the common man to evolve an advocacy and campaign programme that can mobilize citizens’ action in addressing issues of excessive market speculation and strengthen reform in the oil and gas sector.

11.    Capital expenditure for the budget is N1.8 trillion as against N557 billion in the 2015 budget. The very first time capital expenditure will be 30% of the total budget – Works, Power and Housing – N433.4 billion; Transport – N202.0 billion; Special Intervention Programs – N200.0 billion; Defence – N134.6 billion; and Interior – N53.1 billion.

The increase in capital expenditure by the FG demonstrates its understanding of the need to build critical infrastructure that can support the growth of other key sectors of the economy.  NGOs must mobilize citizens and citizen organisations to ‘follow the money’ and monitor implementation of government projects.

12.    In his speech the President called for support in the implementation of the 2016 budget. Though NGOs are specifically not mentioned in the President’s speech neither was the civil society, we have other institutions within the civil society family mentioned; ‘organized labour, industry groups, the press and of course, our religious and traditional institutions.’

There is the need for NGOs to be recognised as important actors and contributors to national development by governments at all levels, as NGOs are working hard to support government in several sectors of the economy.

In moving rhetoric to action on the need to support government, The President and his team will need an office to coordinate civil society’s support in the implementation of the 2016 budget that is why the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Civil Society is important including an Office for Partnerships.

13.    Missing from the President’s speech is the mention of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose implementation starts in 2016 though sustainable development was mentioned twice in his speech there is evidently a lot of work for SDGs campaigners in analysing the 2016 budget and to ascertain how best it can jump-start the attainment of the SDGs in Nigeria.

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Yemisi Ransome-Kuti Leadership Award: Winners Announced

Yemisi Ransome-Kuti Leadership Award: Winners Announced.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs has announced the three short listed winners of the ‘’Yemisi Ransome-Kuti Leadership Award 2015’’ and launched a delegates voting campaign for the award’s favourite winner.

The short listed winners are:

Ndifreke Andrew-Essien, Mandela Washington Fellow and Executive Director FAECARE Foundation, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Crystal Chigbu, Executive Director, The IREDE Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria.

Aremu Stephen Akinyele, Executive Director, Hope for Family Development Initiative (HFDI), Osogbo, Nigeria

The YRK Leadership Award aims to honour outstanding Nigerians working in the not-for-profit sector who exemplifies the leadership ideals of Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, a civil society activist and founding Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO).

Congratulating the winners, NNNGO Executive Director Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi emphasized that ‘’for decades we have witnessed how the civil society sector has continued to contribute as an important stakeholder to the development of Nigeria. Intervening in various sectors from health, education, poverty reduction, entrepreneurship through to agriculture, environment, gender, ICTs and lots more, the three short listed winners are striking examples of how Nigerian non-governmental organisations are helping to bring about development to the poor and vulnerable in our societies.

At the 15th Annual NNNGO Conference on 9 December, delegates will have the opportunity to hear first hand from the three winners and vote for their favourite winner through an online voting process.