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NCC, Stakeholders Brainstorm on Blockchain’s Benefits to Economy

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Dr. Haru Al-Hassan

Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), stakeholders in the academia, the public sector and enthusiasts of technology for development, have deliberated on the benefits derivable from emerging technologies such as Blockchain, to advance the growth of the Nigerian economy.

KANO FOCUS reports that at a recently-organised two-day workshop by the Commission, in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Service  Reforms (BPSR), stakeholders were in accord that through effective implementation of policies as expressed in guidelines, regulations and directions driven by the NCC, Blockchain could be a bedrock of economic innovation and growth.

The workshop, which took place in Abuja and focused on ‘’Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) Ecosystem, Decentralisation and Adoption Methods’’, drew participants from financial institutions, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the academia, the Nigerian military, and paramilitary forces, the Nigerian Cyberwarfare Command, and the private sector.

Cross section of dignatries

The stakeholders, who spoke in turn at the workshop, acknowledged and profoundly appreciated the role of NCC in engendering a dynamic digital regulatory environment, the remarkable contribution to the growth and development of novel and emerging technologies, and NCC’s adoption of adaptive mechanisms that have enhanced emerging technologies in Nigeria.

Addressing a large audience at the event, NCC’s Director, New Media and Information Security, Dr. Haru Al-Hassan, who delivered the opening speech at the event, on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said existing national digital economy frameworks such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030 instituted by the Federal Government as well as regulatory initiatives by the Commission, have been significant enablers of Blockchain and emerging technologies in the country.

According to Al- Hassan, “good regulatory policies are the bedrock of innovation and growth and it is the aspiration of the Commission that Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) otherwise known as Blockchain and other innovative technologies and services would continue to thrive and contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria.”

In the same vein, the Director-General, BPSR, Dr. Dasuki Arabi, informed the audience that the Nigerian government was already making efforts, through a number of initiatives, to harmonizing emerging technologies with the contemporary public service sector in a way that strengthens the efficiency of the public sector.

Dr. Dasuki Arabi

He also affirmed that Blockchain would be central in the implementation of the National e-Govt Masterplan.

The BPSR Chief Executive equally listed the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the Bank Verification Number (BVN), automation of enforcement activities of some agencies of the government, including the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), as well as automated performance measurement systems for public sector employees, as concrete examples of the utilisation of technology in the public sector.

Arabi asserted that Nigeria ranks third in Africa, in the use of telecommunications for public service delivery, coming behind South Africa and Egypt. Arabi called on policymakers to ensure robust policy formulation that ensures improved digital literacy and increased automation in public service delivery.

Other speakers at the event included  Dr. Abdul-Kareem Oloyede of University of Ilorin, Kwara State; Amaka Ukwueze and Vivian Okonkwo, both of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu State, and Col. Romi Legha of the Indian High Commission.

Oloyede, who clarified the difference between Blockchain and Bitcoin, stated that the former is the underlying technology used for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

He also stated that Blockchain could be utilised to minimise expenditure and expenses, speed up transactions, and improve data security for financial institutions, health care, and businesses.

Ukwueze particularly applauded the Commission for taking the lead in discussions on DLTs considering the fact that Nigeria does not have a clear-cut Blockchain policy yet, even though countries worldwide had begun integrating DLT as a central part of their business practices.

Cross section of dignatries

“Republic of Malta, a southern European island country, located in the south central region of the Mediterranean Sea, incorporated Blockchain into its digital and economic ecosystem. Also, China, Abu Dhabi, and Japan are also instituting DLT-friendly regulations in their governance processes,” Ukwueze said.

Accordingly, Ukwueze urged the Federal Government to adopt Blockchain deployment actively, promote legal certainty for Blockchain applications, and provide a flexible and adaptive regulatory environment that fosters innovation.

Conclusively, Ukwueze stated that “government’s regulatory enforcement processes must seek to encourage companies to be consumer-centric and ensure compliance”.

In her contribution to the discourse, Okonkwo said adoption of Blockchain technology would be essential in documentation, archiving, cloud storage, identity management, and online education.

Additionally, Okonkwo declared that blockchain is a cost-effective method of optimising the quality of the educational administrative processes, and equally a cost-effective application that could improve service delivery across the nation.

The DLT, such as Blockchain, DAG; Hashgraph; Holochain; Tempo (Radix), is a digital system for recording transactions of assets at multiple places simultaneously. The key features of DLT include: immutability (once written, it is extremely difficult to alter), and peer-to-peer sharing, in the sense that ledger is shared among peers while there is no central ownership.

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Dangote refinery insists international oil companies are frustrating its crude supply demands

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Management of Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has commended the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) for its various interventions in the oil company’s crude supply requests from International Oil Companies (IOCs), and for publishing the Domestic Crude Supply Obligation (DCSO) guidelines to enshrine transparency in the oil industry.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Vice President, of Oil & Gas, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr. DVG Edwin however said: “If the Domestic Crude Supply Obligation (DCSO) guidelines are diligently implemented, this will ensure that we deal directly with the companies producing the crude oil in Nigeria as stipulated by the PIA.”

Edwin insisted that IOCs operating in Nigeria have consistently frustrated the company’s requests for locally produced crude as feedstock for its refining process.

He highlighted that when cargoes are offered to the oil company by the trading arms, it is sometimes at a $2-$4 (per barrel) premium above the official price set by NUPRC. “As an example, we paid $96.23 per barrel for a cargo of Bonga crude grade in April (excluding transport). The price consisted of $90.15 dated Brent price + $5.08 NNPC premium (NSP) + $1 trader premium. In the same month, we were able to buy WTI at a dated Brent price of $90.15 + $0.93 trader premium including transport. When NNPC subsequently lowered its premium based on market feedback that it was too high, some traders then started asking us for a premium of up to $4m over and above the NSP for a cargo of Bonny Light”

“Data on platforms like Platts and Argus shows that the price offered to us is way higher than the market prices tracked by these platforms. We recently had to escalate this to NUPRC”, Edwin said and urged the regulatory commission to take a second look at the issue of pricing.

Edwin’s response came against the background of a statement by the Chief Executive Officer of NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, in an interview on ARISE News TV said that “it is ‘erroneous’ for one to say that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) are refusing to make crude oil available to domestic refiners, as the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has a stipulation that calls for a willing buyer-willing seller relationship.”

Edwin noted that “The NUPRC has been very supportive to the Dangote Refinery as they have intervened several times to help us secure crude supply. However, the NUPRC Chief Executive was probably misquoted by some people hence his statement that IOCs did not refuse to sell to us. To set the records straight, we would like to recap the facts below.

“Aside from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), to date, we have only purchased crude directly from one other local producer (Sapetro). All other producers refer us to their international trading arms.

“These international trading arms are non-value adding middlemen who sit abroad and earn margin from crude being produced and consumed in Nigeria. They are not bound by Nigerian laws and do not pay tax in Nigeria on the unjustifiable margin they earn.

“The trading arm of one of the IOCs refused to sell to us directly and asked us to find a middleman who would buy from them and then sell to us at a margin. We dialogued with them for 9 months and in the end, we had to escalate to NUPRC who helped resolve the situation,” Edwin stated.

According to him, “When we entered the market to purchase our crude requirement for August, the international trading arms told us that they had entered their Nigerian cargoes into a Pertamina (the Indonesia National Oil Company) tender, and we had to wait for the tender to conclude to see what is still available.

“This is not the first time. In many cases, particular crude grades we wish to buy are sold to Indian or other Asian refiners even before the cargoes are formally allocated in the curtailment meeting chaired by NUPRC.

“However, we would like to urge NUPRC to take a second look at the issue of pricing. NUPRC has severally asserted that transactions should be on a willing seller / willing buyer basis. The challenge however is that market liquidity (many sellers / many buyers in the market at the same time) is a precondition for this. Where a refinery needs a particular crude grade loading at a particular time then there is typically only one participant on either side of the market.

“It is to avoid the problem of price gouging in an illiquid market that the domestic gas supply obligation specifies volume obligation per producer and a formula for transparently determining pricing. The fact that the domestic crude supply obligation as defined in the PIA has gaps is no reason for wisdom not to prevail”, Edwin stated.

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Gov. Yusuf reinstates Emir of Gaya, appoints two others for Rano, Karaye emirates

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

Gov. Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State has approved the appointment of three second class Emirs of Rano, Gaya and Karaye Emirates.

 

KANO FOCUS reports that the new emirs are to serve as second class answerable to Kano emirate.

 

According to a statement issued by Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, the Spokesperson to the Governor and made available to journalists in Kano the newly appointed Emirs are: Alhaji Muhammad Mahraz Karaye, as Emir of Karaye (who until his appointment was the District Head of Rogo); Alhaji Muhammad Isa Umar, as Emir of Rano (who until his appointment, was the District Head of Bunkure) and Alhaji Aliyu Ibrahim Abdulkadir Gaya, as Emir of Gaya (who was the emir of the defunct Gaya emirate).

 

While congratulating the newly appointed Emirs, Governor Abba K. Yusuf enjoined them to be custodians of culture, peace and unity of the people in thier respective emirates.

 

You may recall that the Governor had on Tuesday the 16th of July, 2024 signed into law three second class emirates in the state with Rano covering only Rano, Kibiya and Bunkure Local Government areas. Gaya covering only Gaya, Ajingi and Albasu Local Government areas. Karaye covers only Karaye and Rogo Local Government areas.

 

The appointments are with immediate effect.

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Publishing company trains 40 teachers on basic literacy

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

Non-Formal Development for Education and Health Initiatives (NDEHI) in collaboration with Ibzaar Publishing trained forty teachers and facilitators on basic and post basic literacy.

KANO FOCUS reports that the two day workshop held at Bayero University Kano, attracted teachers and facilitators from across the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Kano State Agency for Mass Literacy (SAME) among others.

The convener of the programme Dr. Auwal Halilu who doubles as the State Coordinator Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), explained that the workshop was organized to complement the declaration of state of emergency on education by the present administration.

Dr. Auwal Halilu

Dr Halilu, a lecturer with the Department of Adult Education and Community Development stressed that the teachers selected to undergo the training, were expected to cascade the training to forty teachers each.

“It is the first time we are seeing a corporate organization not a development partner or government entity organizing to set aside funds to train teacher for the development of our children’s education,” he said.

In his address the Chairman Kano State Universal Basic Education Board SUBEB Alhaji Yusif Kabir, pointed out that the state government has set out certain criteria for appointing head supervisors known as school support officers.

Alhaji Yusif Kabir

According to him “teachers that have a minimum of first degree must undergo aptitude test.”

He described the workshop as apt, saying that the intervention would go a long way in improving effective service delivery in the education sector as the government alone cannot do it.

The Acting Executive Secretary of Kano State Agency for Mass Education SAME, Alhaji Surajo Mahe Alkali pointed out that this is the first time they were carried along as a non-formal sector.

“I hope to see the non-formal sector living up to expectations as it is a sector that is key and critical but neglected,” he observed.

The Kano state chairman of the school-Based Management Committee SBMC, Alhaji Tijjani Baraya observed that this intervention is unique as most Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the state were focused on school renovation and providing teaching and learning materials.

Alhaji Tijjani Baraya

“State Basic Education Boards (SBEB) also need similar support as they are responsible for visiting and monitoring schools,” he noted.

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