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Maida applauds Project Train 3M on ICT Skills

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Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim

 

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida has applauded the proposal by the Hon. Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, to enlist and train three million Nigerians over a period of four years, which will make the country an exporter of digital skills.

 

KANO FOCUS reports that Maida, who spoke recently in Lagos at the City Business News Summit, said the programme, which has already attracted 1 million applicants, is capable of increasing Nigeria’s pool of technically-skilled persons in the global market leading to potential employers of digital and technical skills in the international scene to begin to engage more Nigerians.

 

Speaking on the theme of the summit, ‘Repositioning Nigerian Economy through Telecommunications: 2023 and Beyond’, NCC boss noted that, in recognition of the rapid pace of technological advancement that is disrupting industries across the globe, Nigeria’s vision is rooted in the belief that embracing this disruption and fostering innovation will propel the nation toward sustainable growth, economic diversification, and enhanced living standards for all Nigerians.

 

Represented by the Commission’s Director of Research and Development, Ismail Adedigba, the NCC’s chief executive officer said “the vision is, thus, to accelerate the growth of Nigeria as a global technical talent hub and a net exporter of talent; to deepen and accelerate our position in global research in key technology areas and raise the complexity and dynamics of our economy by significantly increasing the level of digital literacy across Nigeria. In this regard, the Honoruable Minister is looking to create a pipeline of three million technical talents.

 

“This programme, which has commenced already with over 1 million applications by potential trainees, is expected to increase the level of digital and technical skills among Nigerians, especially young and middle-level talents, to 70 per cent by the end of 2027. This will position Nigerians to productively contribute to the economy and place us in the top 25 percentile of research globally in the key areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), IoT, Robotics, Blockchain, and Additive Manufacturing in keeping with the strategic plan unveiled by the Honourable Minister,” he said.

 

Maida said the policy direction of the Ministry, which is being driven by five pillars, will deliver on the goals of fostering economic growth and development. These pillars which include policy; infrastructure; innovation, entrepreneurship and capital; trade and knowledge, are the bedrock of the Strategic Vision Plan (2023 – 2025) and form the guide to channel our efforts to harness the potential of the telecommunications sector and drive positive change in Nigeria.

 

He said the Commission remains committed to providing an enabling environment for the building of the critical infrastructure required to power a strong digital economy, guarantee improved access to quality broadband connectivity, and the efficient management of the nation’s spectrum resources.

 

“As we work with our supervising Ministry – Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy – to take these steps to provide the enabling environment for repositioning the Nigerian Economy through telecommunications in 2023 and beyond, we call on Nigerians—and especially our compatriots in the media—to tap into the aspects of these interventions that are relevant to them. The ambitious plans we have set out may seem lofty and even incredible, but through strategic partnerships and collaborations with all stakeholders, we believe that they are achievable,” the EVC said.

 

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Gov. Yusuf Flag off Distribution of Over N1 billion Worth Free Fertilizers to Smallholder Farmers in Kano

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf Thursday unveiled distribution of free fertilizers worth over one billion naira to smallholder farmers including females and People with Disabilities in the state.

A statement by Sanusi Bature Dawakin Tofa, the Spokesperson to the Governor, said the initiative was in fulfillment of Governor Yusuf’s campaign promise to improve livelihood through investment on Agribusiness.

Governor Yusuf had during his campaign activities towards 2023 elections promised to champion Agricultural transformation through provision of quality and affordable Agricultural inputs as contained in his 70 page blueprint presented to the good people of Kano tittled “My Commitment for Kano”

Besides, the Dawakin-Tofa revealed the over a billion naira worth NPK fertilizers that was distributed to 52,800 smallholder farmers across the 44 Local Government areas were produced by the state owned Kano Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO).

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf while flagging off the agric input disbursement explained the intention was to reduce cost of production and boost food security.

The state executive council had also approved the procurement of over five billion naira worth fertilizers that will soon be made available to Kano farmers at subsedised rate.

The Governor stressed that farmers already battling with high cost of inputs and labour occasioned by economic reality, now have cause to redouble energy to multiple their produces.

He emphasised on the government readiness to sustain food production through regular supply of fertilizer production by the state owned company (KASCO). Governor Yusuf said KASCO and other state manufacturering centres are being strengthening to revertilise revenue flow and sustain the economy of the economy of the state.

The beneficiaries which include women farmers and people living with disabilities are expected to recieve 25kg of NPK fertilizer to support thier farming activities and eventually boost the yeild of thier crops and improve livelihood of the people.

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Agriculture: Gov. Yusuf issues stern warning against diversion of fertilizer distributed to Kano farmers..

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… As Emir Sanusi harps on fairness in sharing

The Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, has issued a stern warning to officials of the state against the diversion of fertilizer distributed to 52,800 farmers across the 44 Local Government Areas.

This was contained in a statement issued by the governor’s spokesperson Sunusi Bature Dawakin Tofa on Thursday.

The governor’s warning was made during the flag-off of the distribution of free fertilizer to farmers across the 44 local governments, held at the Open Arena, Government House, Kano.

The Governor mandated the Kano Project Protection Association (Kano-PRO-PA) to ensure adherence to the distribution guidelines intended for smallholder farmers.

“Any government official found diverting this fertilizer will be dealt with severely.

“We will not tolerate corruption. This gesture is meant for real farmers,” the Governor warned.

In his remark the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, emphasized the importance of fairness in the distribution exercise to achieve the set goals and objectives.

He noted that the gesture was timely, as the Emirate has received reports from District Heads about the high price of fertilizer impeding farming during the 2024 rainy season, potentially causing food shortages.

Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II added that ensuring the fertilizer reaches the intended beneficiaries and providing the necessary farm inputs will significantly assist in achieving a bumper harvest.

He urged farmers to judiciously utilize the given resources.

The Emir also called on well-to-do individuals, philanthropists, and those capable in society to empower farmers with inputs and aid the needy during these trying times.

He commended the Kano State Government under the leadership of Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf for initiating people-oriented projects aimed at uplifting the standard of living of Kano’s populace.

Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II prayed for peace, unity, stability, prosperity, and economic development in the state and beyond.

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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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