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Inspection of the Canadian High Commission Abuja and the Canadian Deputy High Commission Lagos

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(November 2008)

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

An Inspection of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Abuja from April 28 to May 8, 2008 and in Lagos from May 5 to May 7, 2008. The previous audit of these Programs took place in April 2002. As Abuja and Lagos are functioning as one Mission (two offices) and the Inspection was conducted on the Mission as a unit, both offices are covered in one report. This was not a regularly scheduled inspection, as it was specifically requested by the Head of Mission to address a number of issues, primarily morale and administrative issues in Abuja.

The Canadian High Commission in Abuja is an office with eight Canada-based staff (CBS) and 18 Locally-engaged staff (LES) while the Deputy Canadian High Commission in Lagos is smaller with five CBS and 16 LES. The Mission has faced many challenges since being reopened, in the case of Lagos, and opened, in the case of Abuja, in 1999. Although many improvements have been made since the last audit in 2002, Nigeria is still a very difficult posting and the Mission has struggled to meet all the demands placed on it by Headquarters (HQ), CBS, LES and the local environment. The challenge of operating two offices as one, given a physical separation of the better part of a day of travel and the lack of a Senior Officer in Lagos constitutes a significant burden for Abuja. Establishing administrative autonomy in Abuja and Lagos with a Management-Consular Officer (MCO) in Lagos rather than a Deputy MCO as is the current structure, and a designated Senior Officer (or Head of Office) in Lagos, would put each office in a better position to represent Canada in its respective locality and to be more accountable for its own operations.

The General Relations Program in Abuja has established *** good relationships with Nigerian government officials and key decision makers. The Program could be more strategic and further advance Canadian interests by implementing an annual work plan linked to the Country Strategy. Increased communication between HQ and the Mission would help ensure that reporting is aligned with the Reporting Agreement. More structure in the form of regular meetings, performance reviews (PMPs) and training plans would provide the Program and staff with clearer direction and would also allow for better measurement of results. A Public Affairs strategy should be developed to increase Canada's visibility in Nigeria. The Mission Security Officer (MSO) and the Deputy MSO (DMSO) functions should be assigned to the Counsellor and the Second Secretary, which will allow the Program to integrate their existing work on security related issues.

The International Business Development Program in Lagos is operating well within the difficult environment that is Nigeria. Recommendations have been made to effect necessary improvements to the administration of projects managed by the Program but overall, it is meeting the Department's expectations in the area of program delivery.

The Consular Program, delivered mainly from Lagos, has benefited from the outreach and contact activities of the MCO, the prior Consular experience of the DMCO and a *** Honorary Consul in Port Harcourt. The Program is operating well considering the constraints of the local environment. The MCO, DMCO and Honorary Consul have*** contacts with local authorities and are able to achieve *** results for their Consular clients. Consular program delivery in Nigeria will need to be reviewed in the light of the recommended administrative autonomy for Abuja and Lagos. Agreement covering all aspects of Consular Program allocation of responsibilities should be included in the recommended Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Abuja and Lagos.

The Administration Program in Abuja is facing many challenges, primarily with regards to morale, property issues and financial management services. These challenges are magnified as a result of the local infrastructural environment. Most of the recommendations and observations in this report focus on internal controls and service standards in an effort to improve control and efficiency. Improving and communicating administrative policies and procedures will be an important step to improving service levels and dealing with client expectations. This should also have a positive impact on the morale situation. Additional recommendations focus on the morale issues directly, and strong leadership will be required ***. As the level of services required and provided is adjusted in relation to changes in the Mission's management structure, the number of resources in the Program will accordingly need to be examined.

A further impediment to operations in Abuja is the condition of current property holdings. The Chancery in Abuja is housed in an old residence of inadequate size to accommodate the full complement of employees. An adjoining former residence has yet to be renovated in order to provide additional office space as a short term solution. Further, a fire at the Official Residence (OR) in September 2007 has left the High Commissioner residing in a local hotel since her arrival in Abuja in October 2007. Despite some progress towards a new Chancery and OR, the time lines continue to be pushed further into the future.

A total of 73 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 68 are addressed to the Mission and five are addressed to Headquarters (HQ). Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 73 recommendations, management has stated that 15 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 58 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Canadian High Commission in Abuja is a mission with eight Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 18 Locally-engaged Staff (LES). The Deputy Canadian High Commission in Lagos is staffed by five CBS and 16 LES. There is also an Honorary Consul in Port Harcourt. The Inspection was conducted at the request of the Head of Mission in order that issues relating to the overall performance of the Mission could be reviewed. Chief among these was poor morale in Abuja.

1.1.2 Overall, the Mission in Abuja is facing significant internal and external challenges. Operating in the Nigerian environment is difficult and the Mission faces daily challenges in accessing basic services, transportation and communication infrastructure as well as ensuring the safety and security of personnel.

1.1.3 The Head of Mission (HOM) arrived in Abuja in October 2007 following the departure of the former HOM in July 2007. Management of the Mission in the interim was overseen by an acting HOM. The new HOM is aware of all the Mission's issues and must actively engage in leading this mission through the present challenges. Some of the key factors that impact operations are highlighted below.

Departmental

Abuja and Lagos are among the Department's hardship locations that are chronically difficult to staff. *** .

Abuja
  • A first time HOM facing major management challenges.
  • A single assignment Management-Consular Officer (MCO) from another government department ***. Priorities set by the previous HOM, with a focus on consular and security, (in view of protracted consular cases and attacks on Mission personnel and resources), that diverted the MCO away from the core administrative functions of physical resources and finance.
  • A lack of trust, collegiality and communication among *** staff.
  • The challenge of running two offices in separate parts of the country as one mission.
  • Inadequate Chancery and Official Residence (OR) facilities.

1.1.4 Regardless of the causes, action is required to improve the state of affairs at the Mission in Abuja,***, the HOM should hold a retreat for all staff to rebuild team spirit and foster positive working relations among staff and the offices. Headquarters (HQ) will need to ensure that staff being posted to Nigeria this summer are aware of the situation and the measures being taken to return Abuja to a collegial and well functioning mission. A fresh start and realigned priorities that focus on effective inter-program cooperation and support should provide a foundation upon which to move forward. It will, however, require strong and sustained leadership from the HOM and continuous engagement and support from HQ.

Recommendations for the Mission

1.1.5 Realign the MCO's roles and responsibilities in order to provide scope for increased focus on Administrative matters, primarily Physical Resources and Finance and to ease the overall workload burden.

1.1.6 In conjunction with the MCO Renewal Team Office (CFMX) ensure that formal mentorships are established and maintained for the MCO and Deputy MCOs.

1.1.7 The Mission in conjunction with Mission Resource Management Division (RSR) and Bureau Corporate Services (AAM), should create an action plan to address the improvements needed in the Administration Program, taking into account the relative priority, necessary resources, and time required to undertake each activity.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.1.5 MSO responsibilities have already been transferred from the MCO to the GR Counsellor. Implemented August 2008.

1.1.6 These formal mentorships were put in place in late spring 2008 but staffing changes affecting mentors and mentorees will require they be reviewed. Implemented but needs to be reviewed. To be reviewed after permanent staff changes have taken place.

1.1.7 Mission agrees with the recommendation and is working with HQ to secure the necessary resources (an additional MCO on temporary duty (TD)) to establish action plan as well as address other major inspection recommendations. In progress as will depend on timing, which is still to be determined, regarding securing an MCO on TD.

Recommendation for Assignment and Pool Management Division (HFP)

1.1.8 Ensure that all MCO/DMCOs have the full training before arrival. If not, support them with mentorships and ongoing coaching, monitoring from HQ.

HFP Action and Timeframe

1.1.8 HFP is currently reviewing the MCO assignment guidelines to ensure stricter adherence to the principle that trained and qualified officers are appointed to positions abroad. Where no rotational MCO candidates are readily available, it has been the practice to assign non-rotational officers to these positions, and provide training prior to the posting. Given the shortage of qualified MCOs, the practice of single tour assignments has increased in recent years. As part of the MCO Renewal process, HFP is working with MCO Renewal Team Office (CFMX) and Mission Client Services (ASM) to develop a system for identifying a roster of possible candidates for foreign postings and pre-training these individuals prior to the posting season to ensure that a trained cadre of candidates is available for single tour assignments as MCO/DMCO. We have also established a mentorship system to ensure that first-tour and single-tour MCOs are partnered with an experienced MCO in the region and given appropriate guidance and mentorship. The program entails regular mentorship discussions, as well as funding to support 1-2 travel opportunities for the mentor to visit the post and provide on-site support and guidance. At present, there are 11 such mentorship relationships established and funded by ASM, including one for Abuja.

1.2 Mission Morale: Abuja

1.2.1 ***. At the request of the previous HOM, representatives of the Values and Ethics Division (ZVE) visited the Mission in May 2007 to help address the situation. The intervention, however, did not have a lasting effect,***.

1.2.2 Examples of the operational impacts of interpersonal conflicts and Mission morale are provided below.

  • Ineffective Committee on Mission Management (CMM).
  • Absence of an whole-of-government approach.
  • Communication breakdowns between Abuja and Lagos on key operational issues.
  • Unavailability of key staff members and a lack of communication regarding absences.
  • Interference in, or duplication of, administrative processes by the Housing Committee, due to a lack of confidence that action would be taken.
  • Other factors:
    Procedural delays caused by differences of opinion.
  • Refusal to accept or exercise financial signing authority owing to alleged mistrust of processes or presented documentation.
  • Refusal to allow Administration personnel to enter or inspect staff quarters (SQs).

1.2.3 ***. It will be essential that new program management staff arriving in the summer of 2008 be:

  • ***.
  • Provided with performance objectives directly related to Mission-wide performance and inter-program cooperation.
  • Encouraged to contribute to Mission cohesiveness and teamwork.

1.2.4 Clearly, a profound change needs to take place in Abuja in order to create a cohesive, motivated and productive work force. This process will require the direct and frequent engagement of HQ and Mission Management. Once the new team is in place the Mission may wish to start this change by convoking regular Mission staff retreats to reinforce expected behaviours and priorities.

Recommendations for the Mission

1.2.5 The HOM should:

  • articulate expected standards of professional behaviour and respectful workplace for all staff.
  • establish objectives and monitor results regarding the Mission's management structure and operations.

1.2.6 Ensure that the normal rotation of CBS over the summer of 2008 is well managed in terms of briefings and orientation, SQ preparation and furnishing, and personal effects and motor vehicle shipments.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.2.5 "Standards of professional behaviour and respectful workplace for all staff": this had been done informally and by trying to lead through example but will be reiterated more forcefully in more structured fora, including the debrief on the Inspection to all staff (scheduled for October 2008). In progress and will be ongoing.

"Establish objectives and monitor results regarding the Mission's management structure and operations": this has been done informally but will be part of action plan. In progress as per response 1.1.7.

1.2.6 From the accounts of the incoming CBS, arrivals this summer were well managed, thanks in part to the Mission hiring an *** Community Coordinator, something we will also do for next posting cycle. Implemented July and August 2008.

1.3 Independence of Operations in Abuja and Lagos

1.3.1 Managing two offices from one location has proven to be a major challenge, both from an operational and representational perspective. The HOM's ability to actively and effectively represent Canada in both locations is impacted by travel between Abuja and Lagos, which often takes the better part of a day.

1.3.2 To represent Canada more effectively and manage Mission operations, a Senior Officer or Head of Office position should be created in Lagos. This position would report to the HOM in Abuja and hold an appropriate title to represent Canada in its territory. It is also consistent with the recommendation made in the Nigeria Mission Consolidation Report of April 2007 (The Leahy Report). This report was initiated by the Mission for the purpose of identifying how to achieve a better operational relationship between Abuja and Lagos.

1.3.3 From an administrative perspective, attempts to operate the two offices as one mission have not been successful. Canada's operations in Nigeria would be better served by Abuja and Lagos if they were administratively autonomous. In many ways they are basically operating as such now. Although the DMCO in Lagos reports directly to the MCO in Abuja, he should manage his own accounting, property and administrative issues for Lagos. The MCO in Abuja is more than occupied trying to manage the accounting, property and administrative issues for Abuja.

1.3.4 Regardless of the management structure adopted, Abuja and Lagos will have to co-ordinate and collaborate across a wide spectrum of programs and issues. To facilitate this, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) should be developed to address the division of responsibilities in all programs and administrative areas. It should be reviewed and updated annually to ensure that communication avenues remain open, minor irritants are addressed and that new challenges are identified and agreed upon. Based on the division of responsibilities articulated in the MOU, the reporting relationships of the DMCO in Lagos should be revisited.

Recommendations for the Mission

1.3.5 In conjunction with RSR and AAM, alter the management model for the Mission to establish administrative autonomy for Abuja and Lagos, with a Senior Officer or Head of Office in Lagos and an upgraded MCO in Lagos reporting directly to the Senior Officer.

1.3.6 Develop an MOU between Abuja and Lagos covering division of office responsibilities in all programs and administrative areas.

1.3.7 In conjunction with RSR and AAM determine incremental resource requirements in the context of the new management structure.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.3.5 Mission agrees with the recommendation. Some changes already in effect in Administration and Finance, full new structure can only be put in place once a Senior Officer/Head of Office is appointed next posting cycle. Mission is also proposing to reclassify that position and consultations with HQ to that effect have started. In progress for the summer 2009.

1.3.6 Mission agrees with the recommendation and is working with HQ to secure the necessary resources (an additional MCO on TD) to establish an MOU as well as address other major inspection recommendations. In progress as will depend on timing, which is still to be determined, regarding securing an MCO on TD.

1.3.7 Mission agrees with the recommendation and is working with HQ to secure the necessary resources (an additional MCO on TD) to conduct the necessary analyses to determine resource requirements. In progress as will depend on timing, which is still to be determined, regarding securing an MCO on TD.

General relations program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The General Relations (GR) Program is responsible for Canada's bilateral relationship with Nigeria and also leads the Canadian government's involvement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its affiliated bodies. Nigeria is one of two principal powers in sub-Saharan Africa. Canada's key strategic objectives with Nigeria include strengthening support for good governance and domestic stability, promoting democratization, building strategic partnerships with key allies on domestic, regional and multilateral peace and security initiatives and reinforcing poverty reduction efforts. Bilateral relations between the two countries are good, ***.

2.1.2 The GR Program is managed by an FS-03 officer (Counsellor) who is scheduled to leave the Mission during the 2008 summer rotation. Program staff include a Political FS-02 position (Second Secretary) as well as an LE-06 Public Affairs and Cultural Officer. The incumbent in the acting FS-02 position is also scheduled to leave in 2008. The Head of Mission participates in the GR Program when and as appropriate.

2.1.3 A new Counsellor as well as a new Political Officer will arrive during the 2008 summer rotation, which will be a challenge for the Program as both new CBS will need some time to learn the files. This situation, compounded by the temporary departure of the LE-06***, will leave gaps in the corporate memory.

2.2 Program Management

2.2.1 The Country Strategy provides the framework under which the GR Program operates. However, there is a need for more forward looking and proactive planning for the Section. The Program and the Mission would benefit from a rolling workplan and a public affairs strategy to increase Canada's visibility and facilitate the achievement of Mission objectives.

2.2.2 Informal meetings between the Program Manager (PM) and the Political Officer occur frequently, but rarely involve the LE-06. Regular meetings should be held including all Program staff. The Program has not yet developed performance objectives in a Performance Management Plan (PMP), nor have any discussions taken place regarding objectives, performance indicators, or career development. The PM, the Political Officer and the LE-06 have no learning plans and no training budget.

2.2.3 Reporting (both formal and informal) to DFAIT HQ and to partner departments is done ***, however, there is some confusion and disagreement over the frequency and timing. The reporting agreement would benefit from further input from the Mission as well as more consultation between the geographic bureau and the Mission.

2.2.4 Staff within the GR Program are aware of the New Way Forward (NWF), Political Economic Renewal. The Counsellor has reviewed the principles of the NWF with his staff and indicated they plan to deliver the new seven core services to clients.

Recommendations for the Mission

2.2.5 The Program should develop a proactive workplan that expands on the high-level objectives set out in the Country Strategy.

2.2.6 The Mission should revisit the reporting agreement with the geographic (the Africa Bureau - RFD) to refine content and establish benchmarks for frequency and timing.

2.27 The Mission should develop a public affairs strategy in consultation with all Mission programs.

2.2.8 Regular Program meetings should be held with all staff to discuss activities, key objectives, progress on proactive workplans and other issues.

2.2.9 The Program should ensure that PMPs are in place for all staff. As a part of this process, learning plans should be established.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.2.5 Discussions have already been initiated between the Mission and HQ to develop a work-plan. Once reporting agreement is agreed, a work-plan will be developed accordingly. In progress for November 2008.

2.2.6 Discussions have already been initiated between the Mission and HQ to revisit the reporting agreement and finalize in October 2008.

2.2.7 A public affairs strategy will be put into place at the same time as the work-plan. For the record, it should be pointed out that the lead person in this Mission on public affairs activities, the GR LES, spends close to 50% of her time on visa matters, as has the Political Officer some of the time. (See response 2.3.5). In progress for November 2008.

2.2.8 The GR Program has already put into place a post-CMM/post-ops briefing by the PM to members of the GR team. Following that briefing, a review of planned activities for the following week, an update on the progress of ongoing projects, and discussions on other issues, is done. Implemented August 2008.

2.2.9 (a) For the LES Officer: the current job description had not been updated since 2002. The GR PM has asked HQ for current generic job descriptions, in order to update it by the time the full time employee returns from *** in November 2008. Once she is back, GR PM will discuss her PMPs and learning plan.
(b) For the CBS: The High Commissioner has passed her Performance Management Agreement (PMA) to the GR PM. PMPs and learning plans for the GR CBS will be finalized by 31 October 2008.
In progress for October to December 2008.

2.3 Operations

2.3.1 The GR Program has established relationships with Nigerian government officials as well as the diplomatic community. A review of the Program's hospitality found that expenditures were properly documented. Hospitality diaries clearly and effectively indicated the purpose as well as the evaluations of the events, with good linkages to the Country Strategy. The Program is currently not allocated a Travel and Hospitality budget which causes difficulties in planning.

2.3.2 The Counsellor is the lead for issues related to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), liaising with senior government officials and is responsible for all international issues that relate to Nigeria and their potential impact on Canada. There is shared responsibility between the PM and the Political Officer on economic reporting as well as on assisting the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) on specific files such as the Joint Donor Basket. The Counsellor*** acts as Charge in the HOM's absence. In addition, as the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) staff is located in Lagos, the Counsellor is responsible for issuing diplomatic visas (following CIC approval processes) which accounts for about 10% of his time. As access to Nigerian high level government officials is challenging, the visa process at times provides the Program with excellent opportunities to build relationships with key political interlocutors.

2.3.3 The Political Officer position was created three years ago to lead on Nigerian security and democracy issues as well as human rights issues. However, there is some overlap between the MCO and the Political Officer on the security file. The incumbent held the pen on the development of the Country Strategy. Open communication exists with International Business Development (IBD) colleagues in Lagos. Trade issues in Abuja that involve communication with government officials are usually dealt with by the Political Officer. The Officer sits on the board that manages the Canada Fund and also chairs the Housing Committee.

2.3.4 The LE-06 provides administrative support to the GR Program, oversees the Program Initiative Fund (PIF), is the lead on Public Affairs (reactive at the moment), leads on the Military Training Assistance Programme (MTAP) file and provides media monitoring. She spends a considerable amount of her time (up to 50%) on immigration and visa related issues (diplomatic) even though*** on CIC's computer software program. This work encompasses the preparation and vetting of visa applications. The incumbent also works with IBD colleagues in Lagos to organize trade related events (seminars, educational promotion) in Abuja which occupies 5-10% of her time. The incumbent will be on *** beginning in the summer of 2008.

Recommendations for the Mission

2.3.5 A tracking system should be implemented to determine the time spent on dealing with diplomatic visas that are issued by the Political Program. A case for resources could then be made to CIC if justified.

2.3.6 Roles and responsibilities for the security file should be clearly defined. The GR Program should lead on security issues that could have an impact on Canada. Mission Security Officer (MSO) duties could be added to the Counsellor's portfolio and the Deputy MSO (DMSO) duties to the Political Officer's.

2.3.7 The Program should be provided with Travel and Hospitality budgets.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.3.5 A preliminary tracking system has been put into place and will be tested for a month, to ensure it adequately meets our needs. However, based on our experience to date, a CIC resource is definitely necessary in Abuja. As indicated in response 2.2.7, the GR LES spends close to 50% of her time on visa matters, as does the Political Officer. Furthermore, the HOM Program Assistant estimates she spends on average an hour per day on visa-related matters. Implemented with analysis to be completed in December 2008 - January 2009.

2.3.6 Incoming GR PM is already effectively acting as MSO. Formal agreement with the MCO will be reached to ensure minimum overlap on the security file between the GR, Consular and Security programmes. ***. Perhaps this can be remedied through distance learning and regular mentoring for both the MSO and DMSO. In progress for October 2008.

2.3.7 The Program has been provided with amounts spent in previous fiscal year. The GR team will develop a hospitality and travel plan for the current year once the reporting agreement is finalized and a budget will be provided accordingly. Ad-hoc hospitality - with our objectives in mind - is already being undertaken. Both Military Security Managers have also submitted plans to the MSO for periodic hospitality and travel activities to meet their program objectives. In progress for November 2008.

International Business Development Program

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 Nigeria is a very difficult environment for individuals and companies. *** . The main challenge for the Program is to communicate effectively the possibilities that exist in Nigeria for Canadian firms and the need to establish linkages with*** Nigerian partners in order to develop sustainable commercial opportunities. On the one hand, trade commissioners in Nigeria seek to attract Canadian companies to realistic opportunities in the country***.

3.1.2 The commercial relationship with Nigeria is Canada's second-largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2007, Canadian exports (primarily airplanes and grains, but also oil and gas equipment, vehicles and telephone equipment) totaled $184 million and imports from Nigeria (petroleum products) totaled $290 million. Previously, one of the major impediments to doing business in Nigeria was the absence of loan guarantees which are now possible with Export Development Canada active in Nigeria.

3.1.3 The Section has identified 107 main Canadian client companies with whom they work on a regular basis: 35 in Education, 38 in Information and Communications Technology, and 25 in Oil and Gas, with another nine in non-priority sectors. Of these, 24 have offices in Nigeria, 69 work through agents in the country, and 14 have local partners. Further, there are another estimated 130 companies which occasionally request services of the Section.

3.2 Program Management

3.2.1 The delivery of the IBD Program is *** managed by the Trade Commissioner and her team of three Locally-engaged staff in Lagos. The Program is aligned with business planning priorities and is focused on areas where Canadian expertise is currently in demand and where there are potential opportunities. The priority sectors covered are Oil and Gas (OG); Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Education marketing. A fourth major element of the IBD Program is a local contractual arrangement to verify ***.

3.2.2 There are no dedicated IBD resources in Abuja and contacts between the GR Program in Abuja and the IBD team in Lagos are limited. As a consequence, the IBD Program is focussed on trade promotion and while the Head of Mission may undertake targeted advocacy on occasion, no initiatives are envisaged by the IBD Section. However, the IBD Section is best placed to understand the level of importance to be placed on commercial issues in the Nigerian context and how to advocate for improvements of interest to Canadian clients. Improved linkages with the GR officers in Abuja are necessary in order to identify areas for advocacy on the part of Canadian economic interests and to provide input on economic reporting before it goes out from the Mission.

Recommendations for the Mission

3.2.3 Develop improved linkages with the GR Program in order to identify and advocate on issues of interest to Canadian businesses.

3.2.4 Adopt a targeted communications strategy to inform Canadian businesses clients of potential opportunities in Nigeria.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.2.3 The IBD Section has already held discussions with the GR Program Manager to that effect, and developed a preliminary list of contacts for the GR Program to develop in order to support the IBD Section in Abuja. Further discussions between the two programs will take place as soon as a visit to Lagos can be arranged in order to brief each other on respective priorities and key areas of interest for better sharing of intelligence and information gathering, especially of relevant laws and regulations that impact the IBD Section. In progress for October 2008.

3.2.4 Considering the difficulty in changing the perceptions of the Canadian business community regarding Nigeria, the Mission agrees that a targeted communications strategy is needed, along the lines of the priority sectors of the IBD Section. There already is a newsletter written by the IBD Section for the Oil and Gas Sector. A similar newsletter will be developed and sent to prospective clients for the Education and ICT Sectors highlighting, among other items, the opportunities in Nigeria and how the IBD Section can help Canadians to enter the market. In progress for November 2008.

3.3 Resources

3.3.1 The IBD Program is led by an FS-03 officer (Counselor), in an FS-04 position, who manages three Locally-engaged staff (2 LE-08s and 1 LE-05). The team is motivated, works *** together, meets regularly (numerous times per week) and job satisfaction is high. All team members have benefitted from regular learning opportunities and learning plans have been discussed. Performance Measurement is ongoing through regular meetings, although the annual PMPs remain stalled until all teams are established within the Missions. Two outstanding reclassification requests within the IBD Section need to be reviewed and examined by the Classification Committee.

Recommendation for the Mission

3.3.2 Review and examine two outstanding reclassification requests.

Mission Action and Timeframe

3.3.2 Upon her visit to Ottawa last April 2008, the Program Manager gathered information regarding the status of the two outstanding requests, as well as how to go forward. A Classification Committee should be created in Lagos within the next month to start duly processing the requests, with the help of the DMCO. Colleagues with experience and knowledge of the reclassification process have been identified in Ottawa for further support, if needed, to complete this process quickly. In progress with formal process to start at the Mission in October 2008.

3.4 Operations

3.4.1 All officers have recently received TRIO training and are hopeful that usage and reporting will be much easier and more efficient with the new system. The Client Service Fund has been well managed and reporting is good on events. Hospitality diaries contain only reports on the receipts and expenditures related to hospitality events but do not contain information on the events themselves and do not report on any results obtained as a result of the events. The diaries need to reflect the purpose and results of these events.

3.4.2 The commercial validation program run by the IBD Section uses the services of an outside contractor***. Interested Nigerian companies pay a fee of approximately $400, which is paid into a Special Purpose Account in Lagos and then paid by Lagos to the contractor. This program is similar to ones run by the US Embassy and the British High Commission. Positive reports are of use to Nigerian companies who wish to reassure potential Canadian clients of their business ethics and practices and similar reports conducted by the US and Britain can also be accepted after review. The report of the contractor is examined by the Program officers who also personally visit the company being verified to double-check affirmations before accepting any ***recommendations. ***.

3.4.3 The validation program is *** useful and should be maintained. It has resulted in a significant reduction in workload related to informing interested parties about the qualities of potential Nigerian partners. However, a description of the elements of the program, the process, the invoices, receipts and contracts with clients paying the fees all need to be provided and included in the administration file. A justification for the sole source selection of the consultant or a demonstration of a competitive process is also lacking from the file. Based on detailed explanations provided by Program officers, the program appeared to be well managed, but documentation of all elements of the program needs to be updated, and a file maintained on each validation. It is also recommended that the validation program be the object of an independent evaluation and some suggestions were made to the Program Manager on how to engage such services in a cost-effective manner.

3.4.4 Similarly, necessary documentation on the annual Education Fair needs to be provided. Canadian clients attending the fair each sign a Business Mission Agreement (BMA) with officials in Canada to outline the services they will receive for their payment. Accredited Nigerian agents however are not being asked to sign any agreements when they enter into a similar agreement with Lagos for participation in the fair. Given the number of years that this fair has been in existence, it is time for it to be evaluated to determine results and cost-effectiveness.

3.4.5 IBD officers in Lagos indicated that the visa refusal rate is an ongoing concern in attempting to develop productive commercial relations with Nigeria. ***. Indeed, IBD officers have also taken to assisting in the preparation of visa applications and their vetting before they are submitted to the visa section in order to ***. This additional workload is required for successful trade promotion in Nigeria but is not within the mandate of the Trade Commissioner Service.

Recommendations for the Mission

3.4.6 Ensure hospitality diaries are complete and provide results-based information on the events hosted.

3.4.7 Ensure files are updated regarding all financial transactions related to client services, including commercial validation program and education fairs.

3.4.8. Conduct an evaluation of the commercial validation program.

3.4.9 Conduct an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of the education fair.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.4.6 The forms for the hospitality budget have been completed as required so far but from now on a more detailed account of hospitality events will be kept by the IBD Assistant, including hospitality events not funded by the Mission's hospitality budget, for which no specific forms exist. Implemented September 2008.

3.4.7 Contact Registration Program: at the creation of this unique program three years ago, no guidelines existed as to what documents should be included for proper review and transparent accounting. The financial transactions related to this program were consequently handled as any other within the Mission, no more no less. When asking clarifications on the possible use and administration of the financial proceeds of the Program, supplementary documentary requirements were suggested. Upon her visit to Ottawa last April 2008, the Program Manager met with colleagues to discuss how to have the Local Contact Registration Program meet DFAIT financial documents requirements. Consequently, last June 2008 an agreement to be signed by the future registrants was drafted and was sent last week (mid-September 2008) for review to Ottawa. This document will be added to each future applicant file.

The Education Fair in Nigeria was created initially with only local participants (local recruiting agents) five years ago, an upfront participation fee the only obligation, with no MOU required. As the Education Fair grew and attracted Canadian representatives of educational institutions, upon payment of their fee, HQ required them to sign an MOU. At the last Education Fair in February 2008, we discussed the disparity between Canadian and local participants and decided that we had to unify their obligations. During the same visit to Ottawa, the Program Manager had discussions with colleagues last April 2008 on how to proceed with this adjustment for local and Canadian participants, and it was decided that, starting at the next Education Fair in 2009, all participants will sign a similar MOU, laying out their financial responsibilities and obligations. Implemented September 2008.

3.4.8 The IBD Section will contact HQ for recommendations on how to proceed with an independent audit of the Local Contact Registration Program, once the agreement form mentioned in response 3.4.7 has been approved and integrated to the usual process of the program. The IBD Section will then contract for an independent audit of the program to be held between January and March 2009, conditional on the required extra funding be provided by HQ specifically for this. In progress with an audit to be conducted in January-March 2009.

3.4.9 The IBD Section will contact HQ for recommendations on how to proceed with an independent audit of the Education Fair, once the MOU mentioned in response 3.4.7 has been integrated to the usual process of the Fair. The IBD Section will then contract for an independent audit of the Fair to be held between January and March 2009, to include the period when the next Fair will take place, conditional on the required extra funding be provided by HQ specifically for this. In progress with an audit to be conducted in January-March 2009.

Consular Program

4.1 Program Management

4.1.1 The Consular Program in Nigeria is under the responsibility of the MCO in Abuja, with services also delivered in Lagos and Port Harcourt. While both the High Commission in Abuja and the Consulate in Port Harcourt collect and vet passport applications, all applications are sent to the Deputy High Commission in Lagos for final on-line processing. As well, all Citizenship applications are currently handled by Lagos under the direction of the DMCO. All other consular activities are provided for in both Abuja and Port Harcourt. In Abuja, these are provided under the direction of the MCO. In Port Harcourt, these are provided by the Honorary Consul in consultation with the MCO. The supervision of the Honorary Consul is the responsibility of the MCO and is outlined in the Letter of Agreement. Lagos is one of Africa's largest and most populous cities and the country's commercial capital. Port Harcourt is the centre of the oil producing region of the Niger Delta. ***. Together with the Honorary Consul in Port Harcourt, the Consular Program delivered by Abuja and Lagos is running well, in spite of local infrastructural and environmental difficulties.

4.1.2 As mentioned previously, the MCO's priorities have been the consular and ***. In the Nigerian context these two files are closely linked, and the MCO will need to continue pursuing consular outreach and contact-building as persistently as she has in the past. ***.

4.1.3 The recommendations in this report aimed at altering the management structure of the Mission will in turn affect the Consular Program. The recommended administrative autonomy for Lagos, including the designation of Senior Officer and MCO positions, would indicate both a regional basis for sharing the client service workload, and a need for agreement on sharing or allocating the Nigeria-wide consular issues. At present the client service workload is distributed based on where the enquiry is received, including for those received from areas outside of the three cities with a consular presence. As a result, the workload is centred in Lagos. Going forward, there would be merit in dividing responsibility for the various states of Nigeria between Abuja and Lagos. For Nigeria-wide issues, central responsibility for some subjects could be assigned to one office for the benefit of all.

4.1.4 The Consular Emergency Contingency Plan (ConPlan) for Nigeria needs updating. The latest version of the ConPlan held by the Emergency Response Centre Division (CNE) is dated 2002. As this is an annual requirement, and given the peculiarities of the Nigerian consular environment, the ConPlan should be updated annually. Consideration should be given to creating a separate ConPlan for Abuja and Lagos, or a joint ConPlan that incorporate both country-wide, region and mission specific aspects.

4.1 5 Realigning consular roles and responsibilities as necessary between Abuja and Lagos should take place either as part of the process by which administrative roles and responsibilities are realigned, or in a parallel process. In such realignments, it is recommended that retreats be held, objectives and plans developed, resourcing issues identified, and MOUs created and then updated regularly.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.1.6 Include in the MOU between Abuja and Lagos an agreement covering allocation of all aspects of Consular Program delivery responsibility in Nigeria, with special reference to:

  • Consular client service workload sharing;
  • Geographic areas of responsibility;
  • Country-wide files that will be handled centrally or decentralized regionally; and,
  • Agreement on common elements as well as territory specific responsibilities.

4.1.7 Update the Consular Emergency Contingency Plan (CECP).

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.1.6 The Mission agrees with the recommendation and is working with HQ to secure the necessary resources (an additional MCO on TD) to establish this MOU as well as address other major audit recommendations. However the Mission would like to retain the flexibility of sharing some resources (e.g. Consular) between Abuja and Lagos in the event of staff absences or other operational requirements. In progress as will depend on timing, which is still to be determined, regarding securing an MCO on TD.

4.1.7 Mission is currently reviewing the CECP and will be incorporating information collected from the CPAT (contingency planning team) visit conducted in January 2007. In progress for April 2009.

4.2 Service to Canadians

4.2.1 The Consular workload is marked by two specific types of cases, internet scams and stranded dual nationals who lack the proper Canadian documentation to return after a visit to Nigeria. In the first instance there are individuals who have been persuaded to part with funds as a result of promises made by someone they have met over the internet, and in the second, anxious individuals who find that they cannot board an aeroplane with a citizenship card or an expired Canadian passport. The Mission is monitoring trends in these cases, and alerting Headquarters as and when necessary. The Mission also deals with more complex consular cases, such as complicated judicial proceedings related to incarcerations as well as a hostage situation.

Wardens

4.2.2 There is an established warden network in Nigeria, that services a population of approximately 1,200 registered resident Canadians, many of whom are long-stay expatriates or dual-nationals. There are indications that the network may need invigorating, which could be accomplished by convoking a warden conference on either a regional or national basis. Rapid and reliable means of communicating with the Canadian community collectively or individually could be of critical importance in a country with poor land lines, and a cellular telephone system that could be rendered inoperable in an emergency.

Recommendation for the Mission

4.2.3 Reinvigorate the warden network by measures that include, but are not limited to, holding regular warden conferences.

Mission Action and Timeframe

4.2.3 DMCO (in Lagos) is currently conducting outreach visits to Lagos Wardens and others within the Southern states, e.g. Osun, Ogun, Oyo, etc. An all-Nigeria Warden Conference will be planned for 2009 when new the CBS consular personnel will be in place. Initiated and will be ongoing.

4.3 Passport and Citizenship Services

4.3.1 Passport inventories were reconciled in Lagos in the presence of the DMCO and the Military Security Guard (MSG) for the month of April 2008 and no irregularities were identified. Inventories were also found to be stored properly. All passport and citizenship processing, including Temporary Passports, is done in Lagos.

4.3.2 Once the Chancery Annex project is completed and mandatory passport training has been undertaken by the relevant individuals, Abuja should begin processing passport applications received in Abuja, and similarly for citizenship applications. At present such applications are passed to Lagos, which adds approximately one work week to the processing time.

4.3.3 There is minimal backup capacity between Abuja and Lagos. When the Consular Assistant in Lagos goes on leave the Consular Assistant in Abuja travels to Lagos to replace her. This leaves a gap in Abuja which would be hard to fill when Abuja commences processing passports. While temporarily exchanging Consular resources between locations is excellent for training purposes and job enrichment, there should be sufficient consular backup capacity in Abuja and Lagos at all times.

Recommendation for the Mission

4.3.4 Abuja should assume responsibility for passport and citizenship processing when all mandatory training has been completed, and essential backup capacity is in place.

Mission Action and Timeframe

4.3.4 The Mission has been advised by Passport Canada that a proper office must be constructed prior to the receipt of passport equipment in Abuja; the current temporary Consular Assistant office is not large enough to accommodate the equipment. Once the Annex expansion is completed, new office space will become available and the request for passport equipment may be made. In progress, to be completed following the completion of the Annex expansion and the renovations to current Chancery.

4.4 Honorary Consul

4.4.1 The Honorary Consul in Port Harcourt is managed by the MCO in Abuja, and by all accounts is doing well in the most volatile region of Nigeria. He has taken the lead and *** handled several high profile consular cases. His presence has been *** to the Mission.

4.4.2 While Abuja is responsible for guidance and communication with the Honorary Consul, Lagos is responsible for paying his honorarium and consular office expenses. When Abuja's Financial Section is fully staffed and operating smoothly, Abuja should assume financial responsibility for the Honorary Consul as well.

Recommendation for the Mission

4.4.3 Managerial and financial responsibility for the Honorary Consul in Port Harcourt should reside in the same office.

Mission Action and Timeframe

4.4.3 Upon staffing of the Senior Accountant's position in Abuja, financial responsibility for the management of the Consulate, Port Harcourt will be transferred to Abuja. In progress for December 2008.

Administration Program

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 Administrative support is provided to DFAIT Programs in Abuja and Lagos and to partner departments (CIDA in Abuja, and CIC in Lagos). Both the MCO and the DMCO are single assignment officers on their first posting. The ***the local environment, multiple property and finance issues, and sometimes challenging clients present unique demands on the Program at both locations.

5.1.2 The MCO's single assignment is a secondment to DFAIT from another government department. She spent two months at HQ prior to her posting ***

5.1.3 The current arrangement of responsibilities between Abuja and Lagos evolved as Lagos passed from being the only Mission, to the larger office and then finally to the smaller office. As recommended in Mission Management, there is a need to revisit the roles and responsibilities and administrative autonomy of both offices. The offices are already operating in this manner on a de facto basis, as the distance between them and their specialized roles do not support a two-office model. Achieving full administrative autonomy should be done in the context of MOU negotiations, retreats, action plan drafting, and resource needs determination, all with the aim of changing the Mission's management model.

5.1.4 ***. In the short term, there are three reporting options available for the current DMCO in Lagos, depending on the degree of autonomy between Lagos and Abuja at any given time, and on the views of the HOM. The DMCO could report to either the MCO in Abuja, the HOM, or the Senior Officer in Lagos. Ultimately, he should report to the Senior Officer in Lagos when that position is established and staffed.

5.1.5 There are two recently approved and funded LES positions that remain vacant in Abuja, although one position was temporarily being filled pending a competition. They both should be permanently staffed as soon as possible.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.1.6 Staff the two vacant LES positions in Abuja.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.1.6 The competition of the Senior Accountant's position is underway. An advertisement was run for one day in a National Paper and 305 applications were received. Applications are being vetted. Competition material is being developed and a competition should be run by November 2008. Position should be staffed by November, 2008.
The competition for the Consular Assistant is in the early stages but *** has been engaged on contract to assist. The Statement of Qualification poster is being developed. It is estimated that with the support of the contractor, the competition should be underway by October 2008 and the position should be staffed by the end of December, 2008.
In progress for November and December 2008.

5.2 Human Resources

LES Pension and Benefits

5.2.1 The Inspection Team met with LES Committee members in both Lagos and Abuja, and with all LES in Abuja. The major point raised was that the cost of living has risen dramatically in Nigeria, especially for medical expenses and housing, particularly in Abuja. Clinics demand full payment in advance, and those that cannot afford to live in or near Abuja have to commute long distances.

5.2.2 There was a substantial LES pay increase in April 2007. Nevertheless, staff indicated that there were still concerns regarding the local cost of living, substantiated by data gathered by the LES. They stated that allowances such as housing had not been reviewed since 1996. HLD has clarified that there is a tradeoff between separate allowances such as transportation, housing, meals, etc., and basic pay. Increases in such allowances would mean reduced increases in pay.

5.2.3 The date of the Mission's last Handbook is 1994 and the medical plan was last upgraded in 2000, with an annual maximum per family of Naira 60,000. There was a proposal in April of 2006 to increase the annual maximum to Naira 120,000, but this and other suggested changes were never implemented due to a communication breakdown between the Mission and HLD. The LES pointed out that even at the larger figure, the medical plan would be far from sufficient to address current costs.

5.2.4 HLD is currently in the process of undertaking a total compensation review for missions throughout the world. This compensation survey will encompass both pay and benefits components of compensation taking an overall approach to determining the total compensation package. While the Mission's concerns regarding the limits of their health plan are understandable, HLD indicated that it is important that a benefit not be reviewed in isolation so that an anomaly is not created for the overall benefits review. The Mission is schedule for Phase 2 of the worldwide compensation review, to commence in fiscal year 2009/2010.

Overtime

5.2.5 Overtime practices in Abuja and Lagos vary widely, with many instances of overtime being claimed without prior approval. Both CBS and LES are involved, making it difficult to monitor expenditure trends and maintain a budget. All overtime should be pre-approved by the relevant manager (the HOM for program managers), with the exception of consular and other emergencies, and drivers, whose activity schedules are ultimately approved by the MCO/DMCO.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.6 Require pre-approval for overtime claims for CBS and LES.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.6 The pre-approval for overtime for LES is currently a Mission practice. All LES must request to work overtime prior to work being conducted or the Program Manager requests overtime work to be considered by the LES. A message sent previously to all CBS will be resent reminding them the of requirement to seek pre-approval of overtime. This message will be resent and the message will be reviewed by CMM. Implemented and to be repeated in October 2008 CMM and again upon arrival of new CBS.

Contractors

5.2.7 Both Abuja and Lagos have engaged drivers and maintenance workers on long-term contracts. For Abuja there are two drivers, two gardeners and two handy men, and for Lagos, there are two drivers and one property engineer. The latter has LES benefits spelled out in his contract, and the Statement of Work is a job description. All receive daily instruction from their supervisors. ***. This question should be included in the overall resourcing picture to be determined in conjunction with the development of administrative autonomy for Abuja and Lagos.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.8 Ensure that an analysis of necessary resources is conducted to support a request for regularizing any contract positions.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.8 The Mission would like to note that several contract positions were requested to be regularized during the 2006-2007 Country Strategy exercise but were turned down. The Mission agrees that an analysis of the contract positions should be conducted and is working with HQ to secure the necessary resources (an additional MCO on TD) to conduct these analyses. In progress as will depend on timing, which is still to be determined, regarding securing an MCO on TD.

Lagos Information Technology Support

5.2.9 One position in Lagos is divided 70% Information Technology (IT) and 30% Finance. The position is not listed in the Human Resource (HR) system as an IT resource, but as a finance resource. At present it is filled by a Canada-based *** who will be leaving in the ***.

5.2.10 The position was originally for an accountant, and it was converted to half accounting and half Signet Support Assistant, because of the IT expertise of the then incumbent and finance expertise of the then D/MCO. The current incumbent is fully engaged in both aspects of the position for both Lagos and Abuja, and he visits Abuja for several days approximately every six weeks. In the past the MSG in Abuja acted on occasion as a de facto IT resource.

5.2.11 The Mission, together with the Client Support Regional Manager (CSRM) in Nairobi and Infrastructure Technology (AIT) need to consider the IT resource requirements for both Abuja and Lagos as the process of administrative autonomy moves forward. Both offices are likely to expand in the future, especially Abuja with its Annex and new Chancery projects. It would make sense to have the necessary technical resources in place as they will be required, and even before, to prepare for the projected expansion.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.12 In conjunction with AIT and the CSRM in Nairobi, the Mission should resolve the Lagos LEITP situation as part of the IT component of the Mission's overall resourcing strategy.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.12 The Mission has been aware of this issue for several years and has engaged the assistance of HLD to determine the status of this position, i.e whether it is an LEITP or a common services position. This review is ongoing. The decision of where to place an LEITP and the possible physical relocation of the position to Abuja will coincide with the end of posting of the IBD CBS ***, i.e. summer 2009. In progress for summer 2009.

LES Appraisals

5.2.13 A sample of files was reviewed in both Abuja and Lagos. There was evidence of measures to upgrade the files in both locations, but more work needs to be done to bring them fully up to standard. Abuja had individual, security and leave files for each LES, but no position files.

5.2.14 There were no appraisals on the sample of files reviewed in Abuja. In Lagos there were no appraisals dated after 2006.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.15 Complete the upgrade of LES personnel file management.

5.2.16 Conduct annual appraisals on all LES members.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.15 The MCO will commence the rewrite of all LES job descriptions with an aim to completing them and having them signed off by March 2009. In progress for March 2009.

5.2.16 The Mission will ensure that all Program Managers have provided their LES employees with annual appraisals by the end of fiscal 2008/2009. In progress for March 2009.

Training

5.2.17 Training will assume additional importance as Lagos and Abuja move towards administrative autonomy, and roles and responsibilities are altered or added. Each office will go through a period of adjustment, then emerge with a revised administrative and consular profile. Abuja and Lagos should each develop a training plan aimed at current and future skills development needs.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.18 Establish a separate training plan for Abuja and Lagos that reflects the impending skills needs of the Mission's revised management structure.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.18 A training coordinator has been appointed in Abuja and one will be appointed in Lagos upon arrival of permanent DMCO. Training plans were established for all CBS in this past fiscal year and the ones for the newly-arrived CBS need to be reviewed. Training plans for LES are not yet in place and will be established by end of this fiscal year. In progress for March 2009.

Out-of-Office Notifications

5.2.19 One of the aspects of the interpersonal tension situation that came frequently to the Inspection Team's attention was lack of information concerning when colleagues were out of the office. Knowledge of when a colleague may not be available is important when signatures, for example, are needed.

5.2.20 The Mission has one or two versions of calendars that are used to record periods of absence by individuals. There is also an Outlook calendar that is used for Mission special events. Absences are sometimes recorded on it. The existing systems have either fallen into disuse, or else are used for other purposes. The Mission needs a reliable, readily accessible, and easy-to-use calendar or spreadsheet for recording individual absences from the office.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.21 Communicate staff periods of absence from the office in a readily-accessible, user-friendly manner.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.21 A Mission calendar is already in place and a reminder has been sent to staff about how to use it. Members of Mission Operations Committee will be asked to go over their section's upcoming absences every week. Implemented August and September 2008.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Property/Administration Section in Abuja is managed by the MCO who leads a team composed of two LES, (one permanent, one term). This unit also includes a receptionist, two non-office LES (drivers), a gardener and a cleaner. There are an additional two maintenance workers, two drivers and one gardener on contract. Given the difficult environment, problems with the Chancery, Annex and OR, and the high demands of CBS, it can be a challenging Section to manage. A number of adjustments are necessary to improve service levels and internal controls.

5.3.2 The Property/Administration Section in Lagos is managed by the DMCO who leads a team composed of four LES (an administration assistant, two drivers and one gardener) as well as one property engineer, two cleaners and two additional drivers on contract. The Chancery functions well and the SQs are maintained by building management and require little support from the Mission Property Section. This unit also include a protocol/customs clerk and receptionist.

Chancery

5.3.3 In 1999, Lagos was reopened after a two year closure and Abuja was opened for the first time, as a micro Mission. A former residence in Abuja was converted into the Chancery to accommodate the then complement of staff. The Chancery's poor condition and lack of satisfactory capacity to accommodate the number of staff needed for effective program delivery has been a long-standing issue for the Mission and the Department. In addition to the main Chancery building, there is an Annex building on the connected neighbouring property that used to be an SQ. It has been vacant since the summer of 2007 with the intention to renovate it to create additional office space. A representative from the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) has been on site on temporary duty (TD) since January 2008 attempting to initiate the renovations. Renovations in the past several years undertaken by the Mission have tried to address some of the Chancery issues though these have been only temporary measures to accommodate additional staff members when required. Though much of the chancery-related problems are out of the Mission's direct control, the MCO has taken steps to improve working conditions to the extent possible.

5.3.4 As well, ARD has been planning to construct a new chancery in Abuja for several years. A representative from ARD has visited Abuja regularly over the last year in order to develop a plan. The Department owns *** piece of land on which the chancery will be built however finding a contractor and finalizing the project has proved to be time consuming. The planned chancery will also have recreational space for CBS and a suitable space to host official events. Although the property issues have been known for some time, such processes move slowly in Nigeria and the completion dates for a new Chancery as well as an Official Residence (OR) are moving further into the future.

Official Residence

5.3.5 The Official Residence is a local residence leased and fitted with appropriate security measures. The OR had a serious electrical fire in September 2007 and since then the house has been uninhabitable. There had been previous small electrical fires and it was known that the wiring in the house was dangerous. When the HOM arrived in Abuja in October 2007, she was moved immediately into the ***. This has affected her ability to perform her role fully and to host events aimed at increasing the profile of Canada in Nigeria.

5.3.6 The Mission had previously paid the rent for the OR in advance up to July 2, 2008 (as is the norm in Abuja). The monthly hotel costs are being paid by the Mission Resource Management Division. ARD had wanted to perform renovations on the OR, pay for them themselves and renegotiate an extended lease with the landlord including consideration for the renovations. In May 2008, the landlord declined the offer and ARD commenced the search for a new OR. Initial research showed there were adequate houses available but they would be costly to lease and fit up. Leasing an OR is still a temporary measure as the Mission owns land in Abuja on which it intends to build a new OR in the coming years.***.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.3.7 In conjunction with the Physical Resource Bureau (ARD) acquire and fit up a new Official Residence as a temporary measure until a Crown owned OR can be constructed.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.3.7 ARD has asked the Mission to keep looking for a possible temporary OR to be leased until a new Crown-owned OR is constructed (timeline for this still to be determined but likely be five years in best case scenario). Ten months of searching (including by a long-term TD officer hired by ARD sent here for that purpose) have not resulted in anything suitable being found, although the Mission is still on the look-out for any new properties that may come on the market. Meanwhile a regular SQ is being fitted up as a temporary measure for the HOM to reside in, although it will not result in the Mission being able to meet programme objectives through normal hospitality activities. This is one of the single largest challenges facing the Mission and the HOM. Initiated and in progress.

Staff Quarters

5.3.8 The Mission has made progress in the last several years to improve its SQ portfolio. Based on a visit to a representative sample of SQs, staff at the Mission are well housed. There is one standalone villa, two flats in an apartment building, and a newly constructed four unit townhouse “compound”. The standalone villa is considerably larger than the other SQs, however, it has the same monthly lease cost as the smaller townhouses.

5.3.9 The townhouses are enclosed in a walled compound that also contains a common swimming pool and a large garden running the length of the compound. The townhouses do not have individual back garden/lawn areas - they all share the main garden. The Mission has been providing all of the care and maintenance of the garden. Each townhouse occupant should be paying a share of the care and maintenance of the common garden, based on the size of the yard that would normally be associated with an individual townhouse.

5.3.10 The Property Section is not performing regular inspections of the SQs as some tenants have refused entry to the MCO and LES Property Manager. Chapter 15.3 of the Property Management Manual states that staff quarter inspections must take place at least annually, and Chapter 15.4.1 states that regular inspections shall be conducted by the MCO. To assist with regular inspections, the standard checklist in the Property and Material Manual should be used to ensure a consistent approach to SQ inspections.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.11 Establish an appropriate cost sharing arrangement for the townhouses garden expenses.

5.3.12 Conduct regular staff quarter inspections and implement the use of the SQ inspection checklist to this end.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.11 The MCO will explain this policy to the tenants and will discuss appropriate approaches to ensure that policy is being met. Four CBS tenants will be required to determine if they can come to some agreement with respect to one gardener or if they will each hire their own gardener. In progress for October 2008.

5.3.12 The MCO will establish a schedule for reviewing SQs to be presented to CMM for approval. In progress for October 2008.

Mission Housing Committee

5.3.13 From a review of the Housing Committee minutes in Abuja, the Committee was in part duplicating the work of the Administration Section. In the Inspection Team's view such action by the Committee members took place in an attempt to redress perceived deficiencies in Administration Section performance. The Committee may also have been sidetracked ***. There also were differences of opinion and ambiguity regarding the actual role of a Housing Committee.

5.3.14 The role and composition of a Mission Housing Committee (MHC) is covered in depth in the Property Management Manual (PMM), Chapter 7.3.1. “The purpose of the MHC is to make recommendations (through the CMM) to the HOM on such matters as housing allocations and accommodation deficiency adjustments”. Guided by the PMM and the HOM's views on the structure and type of recommendations she requires, the Mission should develop new terms of reference for the Housing Committee, and implement them.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.15 Develop and implement new terms of reference for the Mission Housing Committee.

5.3.16 The Housing Committee should ensure that all records of decision and meeting minutes are documented and stored in a central location.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.15 A Housing Committee meeting was held recently and a proposed new list of members was provided to the HOM and approved. The Terms of Reference will be drafted for the HOM's approval at the next meeting in October 2008. In progress for October 2008.

5.3.16 A Secretary for the Housing Committee will be appointed at the next meeting and meeting minutes will be stored on the I-drive so all CBS can access them. In progress for October 2008.

Work Order System

5.3.17 In Abuja one of the irritants between a number of clients and the Administration Section was requests for repair, maintenance and acquisition of small items that frequently malfunctioned, e.g. light bulbs. Abuja has a work order form which is used, but difficulties arose over alleged lack of communication regarding (a) action taken or follow up, as seen by the client, or (b) close-out as seen by Administration.

5.3.18 During the Inspection, the Team drew the Mission's attention to the on-line work order system used by a number of missions that have been inspected in the past. This system *** was observed to work very well in these missions, provides ample scope for tracking, follow-up and report generation. Abuja was provided with all the necessary acquisition details by the LEITP in Warsaw. ARD advises that the Mission should acquire the system immediately, rather than waiting for a possible Departmental roll-out.

5.3.19 A review of some work orders coupled with the tour of the SQs identified *** from some CBS of the role of the Property Section. Some requests are for work that tenants are expected to perform themselves,***. Expectations need to be adjusted.

5.3.20 A new work order system will have to be coupled with new and well communicated service standards in order that expectations are also understood. Service standards should be developed and implemented to provide the CBS with a known time line for resolution of their requests.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.21 Acquire and implement an automated interactive work order system.

5.3.22 Develop and communicate service standards regarding what work will be done and within what timeframes.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.21 The Mission was advised by Desktop Applications Configuration (AIAE) in August 2008 it could not acquire the recommended software until the Departmental roll-out, as it is still in the review stages at HQ; it is apparently being treated with the highest priority. Once AIAE advises that the software is available, it will be purchased and installed. In progress and will depend on when the AIAE review is complete.

5.3.22 The Mission will review current service standards and policy (as per DFAIT Property Manual) and information will be provided at a future CMM. CBS will be requested to assist with identifying and establishing work order priorities. Once agreed to, information will be shared with the Property Manager. In progress for October 2008.

Inventory System

5.3.23 The Mission needs a reliable and efficient inventory management system. Its assets are spread out over an overcrowded Chancery and Annex (both converted villas), with little formal storage space.

5.3.24 There are commercially available automated inventory systems based on such devices as bar code labels and hand-held bar code readers. The Inspection Team has seen some of them in use in other Missions. Inventory control and asset protection is a key element of asset vigilance in the ***.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.3.25 Acquire an automated inventory management system.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.25 The MCO will liaise with HQ to ascertain systems available and assess best approach for the Mission. Property TD will be required to assist with inventorying all current assets and Property Manager will be responsible once system is up and running. In progress for six months after the arrival of the Property TD.

Vehicles

5.3.26 The Administration Section in Abuja manages a fleet of nine vehicles. A total of five drivers (two regular, the HOM driver and two on contract) report to the Property Manager, who reports directly to the MCO. CBS are permitted to import and use personal motor vehicles in Nigeria and many do so. However, should CBS and spouses wish to have use of a driver and a vehicle for personal use, there should be a cost recovery formula in place to charge them for this privilege and based on the type of vehicle given the high operating costs of armoured vehicles. The commuting assistance for staff who prefer to be picked up at their residence each morning rather than driving should also be reinstituted and collection enforced.

5.3.27 The necessity of having five drivers and armoured vehicles should be assessed. Based on an initial analysis of the drivers' scheduling, the drivers are used primarily for staff commuting, the contract drivers are given more daily runs than the LES drivers, the HOM driver is under utilized when the HOM is not present, and some drivers regularly have only a few runs per day. Utilization of drivers is concentrated heavily on morning and afternoon commuting times with many working hours in between not being utilized. Airport runs require two drivers which occasionally may interfere with normal operational needs. ***

5.3.28 Areas for improvement related to vehicle management focus on improving control over certain aspects of operations. In particular, vehicle logs should be given more attention with respect to fuel usage and maintenance. Currently, no one is monitoring the fuel consumption from month to month for each vehicle. The Property Manager should establish a monthly log review, including an examination of the kilometres to litres of fuel ratio to identify trends or any discrepancies in vehicle fuel efficiency. The drivers' logs should be properly completed to show the kilometres driven each day to make a proper reconciliation possible. Spot checks on the odometers should be performed periodically to ensure they reconcile to the drivers' logs. Controls need to be put in place around the petrol and diesel tanks at the Chancery in order to determine the litres of petrol and diesel being pumped into the vehicles. An attempt to determine the expected fuel consumption of each vehicle should be made in order to be able to assess purchases and fill ups against expected usage. After market armouring nullifies manufacturers' standard fuel consumption rates.

5.3.29 When a cost recovery system is put in place, controls surrounding the collection of these revenues will need to be implemented.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.30 Ensure that CBS using official vehicles for regular commuting and/or personal use are paying commuting assistance and/or cost recovery charge.

5.3.31 Analyse the drivers's time to determine the necessity ***.

5.3.32 Monitor drivers' logs and vehicle fuel consumption and related rates.

5.3.33 Implement controls over the collection of fees for a cost recovery system on vehicle usage.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.30 The Senior Accountant will be required to ensure that CBS are invoiced monthly for commuting assistance and personal use of Mission vehicles and drivers. This will be implemented upon staffing of the Senior Accountant position. The CMM will be required to review the current "Personal Use of Mission Vehicles" policy to ensure that everyone is in agreement and understands it. Some Mission staff have already enquired as to why they would need to pay commuting assistance when using their own vehicles to commute to work is not an option due to lack of parking space at the Chancery: clarification is being sought from the Strategic Policy, Planning and Monitoring Division (AEF). In progress for November 2008.

5.3.31 The MCO will prepare a business case to support the current complement of Mission drivers. It should be noted that two contract drivers' positions for Abuja were requested to be regularised in the 2006-2007 Country Strategy exercise but turned down. In progress for March 2009.

5.3.32 The MCO and Property Manager will establish a monthly schedule for reviewing drivers' logs and fuel consumption. A spreadsheet will be set up on the I-drive to collect fuel data on a monthly basis. Drivers will be instructed on proper completion of their log books and spot checks will be conducted by the MCO. In progress for October 2008.

5.3.33 The MCO will verify with other missions on procedures that are currently in place. Procedures will be provided to CMM for review and acceptance. Upon acceptance, the process will form part of the "Personal Use of Mission Vehicles" policy and will be communicated to all staff. In progress for December 2008.

Fuel Consumption

5.3.34 Fuel is problematic in Nigeria in terms of availability and price. There are periodic shortages owing to local production and distribution problems, and the price is high and rising. All this is notwithstanding the fact that Nigeria is one of the world's major oil producing countries. The price of fuel in Nigeria is rising for both global and local reasons.

5.3.35 The Abuja office consumes a large amount of fuel, mostly diesel, because of the presence of fuel-inefficient (i.e. armoured) vehicles, and because of the generators which regularly run many hours every day. There are generators for the Chancery, the Annex, the OR, the townhouse compound, and one SQ, for all of which the Mission must supply diesel fuel. This amounts to a total of six fuel tanks, including one for petrol for some of the vehicles. For 2007/2008 a total of 133,490 litres of diesel were purchased in Abuja, at a cost greater than $150,000.

5.3.36 There are virtually no controls over the supply of diesel and petrol to the Mission's fuel tanks, and no monitoring of fuel consumption rates for either vehicles or generators. This means that there is no means to judge if fuel is being consumed properly, economically, or otherwise. Given the costs involved and the ***, the risks are high.

5.3.37 In principle the controls to be implemented are straightforward. For vehicles, the fuel consumption standards should be established and then compared to actual fuel consumed. Chapter 9, Annex D of the Materiel Management Manuel requires actual fuel consumption to be calculated for each vehicle, along with the maintenance of the required vehicle logs.

5.3.38 For generators, running hours are recorded on a counter that is located on the control panel of each generator (similar to an odometer on a vehicle). In theory, it should be a straightforward matter to calculate generator fuel consumption rates: - simply fill up all the connected supply tanks, take the first counter reading, run the generator for an observed number of hours until the tanks are depleted, refill the tanks to full again with a measured quantity of diesel, then take the second counter reading. Such a process would associate a known number of running hours with the fuel used to provide those hours, e.g. litres per hour of electrical power generated.

5.3.39 In practice, for Abuja, measuring the amount of fuel supplied and used is problematic for the following reasons:

  • Fuel delivery trucks are not metered. Their tanks are of a nominal stated capacity, and they discharge the entire amount into one or several of the Mission's generator tanks.
  • There are no gauges on the generator tanks. The volume of fuel they contain is indicated by a transparent hose attached to the top and bottom of one end of the tank, and measured in the case of one tank by a dip stick.
  • The actual capacity of the generator tanks is not certain. They are single wall tanks of local manufacture, and although they have a nominal capacity, their actual capacity has to be determined by measuring their dimensions.
  • Some doubt has arisen regarding which tanks supply which generator for the Chancery and Annex.
  • The level of fuel in the tanks is recorded daily by the contract security guards. ***.
  • There is no certainty that the generator tanks are completely filled, and with the billed amount, unless actual before and after measurements are recorded.

5.3.40 ARD have planned to replace the existing generator tanks with double-walled tanks of European manufacture. This would address safety issues and provide gauged tanks of known capacity, but the rest of the above problems remain. ARD's project to replace Abuja's diesel tanks should proceed as soon as possible.

5.3.41 In the meantime, Abuja should begin the process of computing fuel consumption rates. Such rates are necessary for projecting future fuel requirements, and for determining if actual fuel consumption is as it should be. The first step would be to develop an ongoing and reliable process for recording the requisite data. The maintenance engineer from Lagos could be brought in to advise and assist, as well as help sort out actual tank-generator connectivity for the Chancery and the Annex. Alternatively, a local generator maintenance contractor could be retained. In any case the presence of the MCO to monitor and/or spot check the accuracy of data collection and of fuel delivery is essential.

5.3.42 ***.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.43 Compute fuel consumption rates for the generators for purposes of determining economy of fuel usage, and for forecasting future fuel requirements.

5.3.44 Determine the actual capacity of the Mission's diesel and petrol tanks, and develop a reliable system for producing accurate fuel consumption data.

5.3.45 Confirm which diesel tanks serve the generators in the Chancery and Annex.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.43 The Maintenance Engineer in Lagos will provide TD support to the MCO in Abuja to achieve this target for all Mission locations in Abuja. The Maintenance Engineer is well-versed in issues related to generators. In progress for October 2008.

5.3.44 As part of 5.4.43 above, this will be addressed through the support of the Maintenance Engineer in Lagos who will work on TD in Abuja. In progress for September 2008.

5.3.45 As part of 5.4.43 above, this will also be addressed through the support of the Maintenance Engineer in Lagos when on TD in Abuja. In progress for September 2008.

Recommendation for ARD

5.3.46 Proceed with plans to provide new fuel tanks to the Mission, petrol and diesel, as soon as possible.

ARD Action and Timeframe

5.3.46 Project has been identified and is approved within the Property Maintenance and Operations Section (ARAF) workplan for implementation in the 2008/2009 fiscal year.

Lagos Office Adjustments

5.3.47 In Lagos the accountant's office is located on the second floor near the IBD Section, and is therefore away from the Administration Section which is on the first floor. The CIC Section has two similar problems. They need space to access and store immigration files, and to co-locate the second CBS officer within the Section. This officer is presently located within the Administration Section in an office that the accountant should occupy once it has been vacated. The DMCO has planned how to accomplish these rearrangements, and he should proceed with them, but in conjunction with advice and guidance from the Property Maintenance and Operations Section (ARAF) Regional Maintenance Manager.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.3.48 Proceed with the Lagos office rearrangements in conjunction with advice from ARAF.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.3.48 A detailed plan and budget are in place to proceed, and formal approval from HQ has been sought. In progress for December 2008.

Physical Resources Resourcing

5.3.49 As Abuja and Lagos migrate towards administrative autonomy, the human resource requirements for maintenance, property and materiel purposes will need to be determined for both locations. Implementing the recommendations in this report will add considerably to the demand on the Mission's resources. For example, Abuja has only two contract labourers for maintenance work, while Lagos has a *** property engineer (also on contract). In the Nigerian context property and maintenance work is especially resource intensive.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.3.50 Incorporate resource needs for the Physical Resources program into the resource requirement profile for the administrative autonomy of Abuja and Lagos.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.3.50 The Mission strongly agrees with this recommendation and will make the case for appropriate resources. In progress for March 2009.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The Finance Sections in Abuja and Lagos are managed by the MCO in Abuja and the DMCO in Lagos who supervise two LE-05 Assistant Accountants, one in each location. Bank reconciliations are reviewed by the MCO. The MCO is otherwise not involved in the Finance function and no longer reviews the supporting documentation for the Lagos bank reconciliation prior to signing. The DMCO should be accountable for the bank reconciliation in Lagos and should sign for it. It should then be forwarded to the HOM in Abuja. When the Missions are separated, the bank reconciliation from Lagos should be forwarded to the Head of Office in Lagos for final review and signature. Accounting operations are modest, with the banking disbursements consisting solely of manual cheques, of which there are approximately 50 per month in each Abuja and Lagos. The Petty Cash accounts are used regularly.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.2 The DMCO in Lagos should sign the Lagos bank reconciliations and forward them directly to the HOM for review.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.4.2 This had been implemented earlier this fiscal year when we had a permanent DMCO in LAGOS. Current DMCO is on TD and does not have required signing authority. Practice will be resumed as soon as permanent D/MCO is in place. Previously implemented and will be reimplemented December 2008.

Financial Management

5.4.3 Financial management has not been a priority at the Mission. The Mission has not been provided with a fixed budget in recent years. As resource levels were not specified, RSR provided initial funding at the beginning of the year and additional funds upon request, as the Mission regularly exceeded their initial allocations part way through the fiscal year. This year, the Mission has been allocated a resource level of approximately $4 million. The DMCO has started the process to allocate the budget by program and provided individual hospitality and travel budgets to each program. It has been understood that programs will work within their budgets. Finance understands that it is their role to track the actual spending against the budget and to provide regular reports to budget holders so that they may manage their budgets. The budget for this year has not yet been formally approved by the HOM. Knowing that the budget is based on last year's actual spending will provide the MCO with a better understanding of the costs the Mission is incurring. Not only will actual spending against budget require tracking, but so will current year actuals against last year's actuals. Knowing this information will provide the MCO with a reference point from which to manage the Mission's expenses.

5.4.4 An opportunity exists to put in place numerous controls over the financial management of the Mission. The information provided by understanding where the money is being spent will allow the Mission to begin with controls over the largest value items. It is being recommended that immediate controls be placed on the highest value and highest risk items and that a continued risk assessment be carried out to identify areas where controls can be implemented on less of a priority basis.

5.4.5 Financial management is an area that will require a higher priority in the future if the spending is to be brought within budget and so that Mission management can feel more confident with regards to accountability.

5.4.6 Signing authorities pose a further challenge in Abuja and Lagos. The fact that the staff are split between two physical locations means that normal signing authorities are not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). In Abuja, the HOM and MCO are able to sign section 33 with the Chargé being able to sign if the HOM is away. In Lagos, only the DMCO can sign section 33.

5.4.7 Section 34 signature would normally be undertaken by the program manager of the program for which the expenditure was made, however, with the Administration Section being the most frequent purchaser and the regular need for the MCO to sign section 33, other program managers are regularly called upon to sign section 34 for expenditures other than their own ***. Other staff have asked not to have signing authority due to the perceived high volume of documents to sign. Several documents have been processed without a section 33 or a section 34 signature.

5.4.8 It is recommended that staff are made aware of their rights and responsibilities regarding signing authorities as per the FAA and the Policy on Delegation of Financial Authorities. A more thorough understanding may alleviate some of the concerns. The HOM should assign signing responsibility to the appropriate CBS officers and although no one can be forced to sign section 33 or section 34, they should be able to provide an adequate explanation as to why they were unwilling to be held accountable for the transaction. This will aid the Mission in determining where the shortcomings lie, in documentation, lack of knowledge, etc.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.4.9 The HOM should approve the 2008/2009 budget including the allocation of hospitality and travel budgets to each program.

5.4.10 Finance should provide regular (monthly) reports on the budget spending to each program to track adherence to budgets.

5.4.11 Controls should be implemented starting with the larger Mission expenditures, for example, diesel and petrol purchases and usage. As controls are realized over the largest expenditures, appropriate controls for the risk can be implemented over some of the smaller scale expenditures.

5.4.12 Signing authorities should be assessed and assigned based on the staffing levels in each Abuja and Lagos.

5.4.13 Mission Management should ensure that no payments are processed without appropriate signatures having been obtained.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.9 Program Managers are to provide planned spending for review by HOM and CMM for both hospitality and travel expenses for the balance of the fiscal year. Once approved by the HOM, the budget will be approved. Completion of this task is also contingent upon the arrival of the Senior Accountant and training being provided. In progress for December 2008.

5.4.10 This will be part of responsibilities of the Senior Accountant and is contingent upon the position being staffed and training being provided. In progress for December 2008.

5.4.11 The Mission agrees strongly with this proposal. In the case of the diesel and petrol, this will be implemented upon 5.3.43 being completed. In progress for November 2008.

5.4.12 Several of the new CBS have their signing authorities in place. In addition, the MCO will conduct a review of all signing authorities with DMCO and the HOM to ensure adequate coverage in both locations. In progress for October 2008.

5.4.13 The MCO will remind CMM of the CBS that have cheque signing authority and will remind those CBS of the requirement to ensure that appropriate signatures have been received prior to the cheque being issued. In progress for October 2008.

Accounting

5.4.14 The accounting functions are split between Abuja and Lagos. Abuja has one accountant assistant position and has just created a senior accountant position which was waiting for the Inspection visit before staffing. Lagos also has an accountant assistant position. Each is the sole accountant currently at their location and each does all IMS entries, processes all cheques, and reconciles all bank statements. Segregation of duties will be required.

5.4.15 The bank reconciliations done by each accountant are forwarded to the MCO without supporting documentation, for signature. The MCO is accountable for the accuracy of the bank reconciliations despite the fact that she has never seen the supporting documentation for the transactions in Lagos. Previously, she used to go to Lagos regularly and was able to access the documentation for review, however, with a change in priorities, she is no longer able to go to Lagos regularly. It is recommended that the bank reconciliation for Lagos is signed by the DMCO in Lagos and forwarded by him to the HOM.

5.4.16 Accounting is working *** in Lagos, but it is not functioning efficiently in Abuja. ***. It is recommended that the newly created senior accountant position be filled as soon as possible with a qualified individual. Some segregated accounting functions can be left with the current assistant accountant, for example bank reconciliations, however, the Mission has been asked to*** once the senior accountant is fully trained and working at capacity.

5.4.17 Segregation of functions should also be applied in Lagos. There is currently an LEITP position that is responsible 70% for IT and 30% for accounting. Reconciliation of bank accounts could be included in the 30% accounting responsibilities.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.4.18 Implement segregation of functions in the bank reconciliation process.

5.4.19 Staff the senior accountant position in Abuja as soon as possible. As the process of administrative autonomy progresses, assess financial resource requirements in both locations.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.18 This will be implemented upon arrival of the Senior Accountant. In progress for November 2008.

5.4.19 The staffing process is underway. The Statement of Qualifications is completed, the applications have been received and are being vetted (305 applications were received). The Mission is now working on competition material with a plan to run the process in late October 2008. In progress for November 2008.

Cash and Bank Accounts

5.4 20 *** . Although the Team understands that Financial Operations, International (SMFF) is in the process of changing Mission banking worldwide, this is a long-term process that may not be completed for some time. In the interim, the Mission should ask that SMFF allow it to use *** service and doing so would alleviate many of the current issues with errors and delays which are hampering the accounting section's ability to provide efficient service to the Mission.

5.4.21 Nigeria is a cash based society. In the past, when situations have arisen requiring large cash payments, CBS have used their personal funds to make payments and claimed it back after the fact. Due to the frequency of these occurrences in this environment, the Team believes that both Abuja and Lagos should be provided with an emergency cash parcel and a cash account. While cash accounts are not the norm *** , allowing the Mission more access to cash would be more effective. The cash account would be an amount deemed reasonable to both SMFF and the Mission based on actual past cash payments.

5.4.22 The emergency cash parcels have already been discussed and are in progress. Logistics of safekeeping will have to be determined and guidance to the Mission from SMFF should be sought (for example when received, these will be counted, resealed and remained sealed lest an emergency evacuation is necessary).

5.4.23 The controls over petty cash in Abuja need to be tightened ***. Further, another petty cash should eliminate the running out of money which occurs somewhat regularly in the petty cash.

Recommendations for SMFF

5.4.24 In conjunction with the Mission, consider having Abuja change to ***.

5.4.25 In conjunction with the Mission, establish an emergency cash parcel and a cash account in both Abuja and Lagos.

5.4.26 Provide guidance to the Mission on the appropriate controls for both the emergency cash parcel and cash account when created.

SMFF Actions and Timeframes

5.4.24 SMFF supports the recommendation made by the Mission to change *** in Abuja and has been working closely with the Mission to expedite the process.

5.4.25 Discussion about establishing an emergency cash parcels was started in June 2008. SMFF has been working with the Mission to determine the value and ensure that security measures are implemented.

5.4.26 As soon as the amounts are determined and approved, SMFF will provide to the Mission complete instructions on how to open, safeguard and control both emergency cash parcels and cash accounts.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.4.27 Implement controls over petty cash, having one accountable person for each petty cash.

5.4.28 Consider establishing an additional petty cash.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.27 This has been completed. Implemented August 2008.

5.4.28 The Mission agrees that a second petty cash is required in Abuja. A second safe is required and has been ordered. Upon receipt of the safe, a second petty cash will be established. In progress for January 2009.

Contracting

5.4.29 Abuja and Lagos do not have many contracts and the majority of Abuja's are for contract employees. The largest contract, the one for private security guards, was sent to Ottawa for the Departmental Contract Review Board's (DCRB's) approval, however, this was not documented in the file leaving the Inspection Team with the impression that it had not been done. Only electronic documentation was kept of this review and approval. A central file for each contract with all supporting documentation would provide a permanent record and demonstrate transparency and accountability.

5.4.30 Other contracts do not meet the departmental contracting standards. Frequently too many paragraphs are removed from the template taking out many of the built in safeguards. Start and end dates and payment terms are often not specified. Contracts for employees have been left to expire while the individuals remain working at the Mission.

5.4.31 There is no Contract Review Board (CRB) in Lagos and the CRB in Abuja is not functioning efficiently. The Abuja CRB indicated that it is not being provided with all the contracts the Mission is entering into. The CRB has also had difficulty in defining its role. The Administration Section indicated that the CRB tries to involve itself in the process at too early a stage and want to approve the purchase decision, not just review the contract. The HOM is ultimately responsible for approving the purchase.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.4.32 Create and retain central files for each contract with a copy of all documentation particularly approvals.

5.4.33 Implement a CRB in Lagos.

5.4.34 Redefine the CRB in Abuja to ensure they become the final control over contracts before they are signed. Ensuring that appropriate clauses are included and that appropriate approvals were obtained are some of the functions of the CRB.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.32 The Mission plans to create a central registry for files, including contract files, once further space is available. This will coincide with the completion of the Chancery Annex project. In progress for March 2009.

5.4.33 A CRB has been re-established in Lagos. Implemented September 2008.

5.4.34 The MCO will ensure that all CBS are invited to participate in selecting the members for CRB. The final list will be provided to the HOM for approval. The policy regarding CRB will be shared with new members and clarification will be sought from HQ, if required. In progress for October 2008.

Travel, Hospitality, and Advances

5.4.35 A review of the travel and hospitality files of several CBS and the HOM was performed. Hospitality events were well supported with appropriate documentation with the exception of the items noted in paragraph 3.4.1 for the IBD Program. Travel authorities and expense claims were sometimes difficult to follow. Some travel authorities were filed for travel scheduled several months ago and no following expense claim was filed. Some travel authorities did not indicate a travel advance but IMS documentation showed that one was issued. More care should be taken to ensure travel authorities and expense claims are completed accurately and in a timely manner, including timely processing by the Finance Section.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.36 An audit of each hospitality and travel claim should be carried out to ensure accuracy and complete documentation is on file. Claims should not be paid unless they are properly completed.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.4.36 The MCO reviews each hospitality claim for correctness and will ensure that the travel claims are also properly reviewed. The MCO will provide a review on completing hospitality and travel claims for the CBS to ensure everyone is aware of how they are to be completed. Implemented, and overview will be provided in October 2008.

Revenues and Disbursements

5.4.37 Disbursements need to be processed in Abuja in a *** timely manner. Several examples were noted of payments being made approximately two months after the date of invoice. Delays are due to a number of factors including long bank delays, difficulty in obtaining proper signatures on documentation, interruptions faced by the assistant accountant,***. Implementation of other recommendations such as hiring a new accountant,*** and resolving signing authorities should resolve this issue.

5.5 Information Technology

5.5.1 The Information Technology requirements of Abuja and Lagos are served by an LEITP in Lagos and a Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) based in Accra, all under the guidance of the CSRM in Nairobi. Staff and the CSRM's indicated that good customer support is being provided by these individuals.

5.5.2 The question of rationalizing the LEITP position in Lagos has been dealt with in recommendation 5.2.16. The CSRM views the position as 90% IT work based on the traffic he sees. The position, however is located in the HR data base as a finance position, and not as an IT position.

IT Resourcing

5.5.3 As Abuja and Lagos migrate towards administrative autonomy, the information technology requirements will need to be determined for both locations. Factors that would determine such resource requirements would include but not be limited to the number of Signet clients, amount of equipment located in each place, future expansion, the number of systems to be maintained, the local infrastructure, IT architecture complexity in place at each location, etc.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.5.4 Incorporate resource needs for the Information Technology into the resource requirement profile for the administrative autonomy of Abuja and Lagos.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.5.4 The MCO will work with HQ to clarify the LEITP issue as per 5.2.15 and will determine the best location of the LEITP. If it is determined that both Abuja and Lagos should have an LEITP, the MCO will prepare a business case to support this request. In progress for December 2008.

Appendix A: Inspection Scope and Objectives

The scope of the inspection included a review of Mission Management and the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs.

The inspection objectives were to:

  • Assess management controls and systems, procedures and activities that make up the programs;
  • Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
  • Assess the reliability and adequacy of information available for decision-making and accountability purposes;
  • Ensure resources are judiciously used and that the Department is receiving value-for-money; and,
  • Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of programs.

The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, and past inspection findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.

During the inspection, issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the HOM, and Program Managers, meetings with the LES Committees, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission Management and Mission operations.

Appendix B: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Table 1: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources
Physical Resources - Abuja
AssetsCrown LeasedCrown Owned
Chancery2-
Official Residences1-
Staff Quarters7-
Vehicles-9

Table 2: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources Lagos
Physical Resources - Lagos
AssetsCrown LeasedCrown Owned
Chancery1-
Official Residences--
Staff Quarters4-
Vehicles-5

Table 3: Mission Resources Fact Sheet Financial Information
Financial Information 2007/08
Total$4,123,288
Operating Budget (N001)$2,581,070
Capital Budget (N005)$160,154
CBS Salaries Budget (N011)$542,600
LES Salaries Budget (N012)$839,464

Appendix C: Organization Chart

Organization Chart


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Date Modified:
2012-10-17