With the continued drive by the Federal Government to fully deregulate the downstream sector of the Oil and Gas industry in Nigeria, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), has reiterated its commitment to ensuring seamsless storage and distribution of products across the nation.
DAPPMAN said the significance of deregulation goes beyond price determination, noting that the handling of petroleum products have far reaching effects on the health of the general public and environmental sustainability.
“The critical role of DAPPMAN member companies in storage, distribution and supply infrastructure investment has been instrumental to the growth of the sector. As deregulation opens up the market, all stakeholders can rest assured that DAPPMAN’s role in promoting global standards gives the buying public value for money with a huge premium on transparency and professionalism,” said
DAPPMAN Chairman, Mrs. Winifred Akpani said the entry of private warehousing and logistics operators under the aegis of DAPPMAN has over the past two decades made the downstream sector more robust, competitive and efficient.
“DAPPMAN notes that a major part of the success of the oil and gas industry rests with investors in the warehousing and logistics aspect of the value chain as they enable producers, refineries, marketers and distributors to warehouse and transport their products in the short and long-term.
“This continues to enhance local capacity in the management of strategic and essential storage operations as well as distribution through investments in new and additional pipeline networks. This will certainly position the sector for increased growth upon full deregulation and translate to more value for consumers,” she added.
Industry experts say as has been the case over the last three decades, through their investments in major warehousing and logistics terminals totalling almost 1.029 million metric tonnes of products across the nation, DAPPMAN has been instrumental to efficient management of growing increase in the supply and demand of petroleum products, resulting in a higher level of reliability, security and transparency across the country.
DAPPMAN’s huge infrastructure development has helped improve the Supply Chain Management of the downstream sector, which has led to increased efficiencies in the distribution and retailing of petroleum products.
Mrs. Akpani said deregulation will also open up opportunities for other ancillary industries, while deepening economic activities and driving stable demand and supply mechanisms such as product blending facilities, necessary for the continued growth of the industry.
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“DAPPMAN sees a future of opportunities for all stakeholders through full deregulation of the downstream sector of the industry and believes that Nigeria is moving in the right direction towards becoming a major hub for warehousing and logistics management across the continent that would compete with major terminals across Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East.”
Pan-African software company AirSmat raises $100,000 investment
The new product innovation is a crucial area of focus for AirSmat.
AirSmat, a Pan-African Software company, has received a boost of $100,000 from Zetogon, a UK-based company, as pre-seeding investment to help the organization on the journey to deliver world-class service in the African continent.
The Nigerian-based firm will use the funds to get the flagship product, SmatCrows, to customers in Nigeria and support the product launch.
Speaking on the investment, the Chief Technology Officer, Adeoluwa Ibikunle, said:
“The new investment will enable AirSmat to further build on its position as a startup that helps customers to proactively take business decisions backed by intelligence obtained from AirSmat AI-based platform. We are starting out with food security for the continent; our solution allows smart farmers to gain control of their crop yield and general farming activities. Our innovative and creative approach will use world-class AI-powered software aimed at improving the efficiency of African farmers in terms of yields and productivity using the power of AirSmat Artificial Intelligent (AAI) driven software. The software will provide timely information about the state of their crops and general operations on their farmlands.”
On new markets, “Nigeria comes first with an official launch of our flagship product called Smatcrows in October and a similar launch would be carried out in other African countries by Q2 2021,” Ibikunle said.
In a statement issued by the management of Zetogon, it was said that, “The funds will be used to support the launch of the software services designed to change the agricultural landscape by providing AI driven data that will add value to farming and all agro-allied businesses.”
The new product innovation is a crucial area of focus for AirSmat, which will enable farmers to get more information about their farmlands, thus ensuring timely decision making and, ultimately, increase crop yield.
AirSmat is a software company founded on the belief that drones will shape the future. The company aims to provide cutting edge software solutions to many rapidly growing industries adopting drones into daily operations by helping to transform the way businesses collect, manage, and interpret drone data. AirSmat desires to help businesses unlock the power of drone data.
ipNX and USTDA sign deal to develop Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure.
ipNX also intends to continue to work with USTDA beyond the preliminary stage.
Nigeria’s pioneering information, communications and technology (ICT) company, ipNX and the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) have signed a partnership deal that will further support the development of Nigeria’s ICT and broadband infrastructure and help ipNX expand its fibre-optic network to more than 200,000 residences in Lagos and other locations, including Abuja and Port Harcourt.
A virtual signing ceremony that signalled the beginning of this far-reaching relationship between the two parties was held on Thursday, September 17, 2020.
At the Signing Ceremony, the Group Managing Director of ipNX, Ejovi Aror, had this to say: “We believe that world-class connectivity and broadband internet access will be pivotal to the digital transformation and socio-economic development of Nigeria. We are very positive that this project will play a crucial role in making our belief a reality.”
Aror added that with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the case for a vibrant ICT sector has never been stronger and the new partnership will bring ipNX a step closer to achieving its mission to continually leverage technology to create innovative solutions that help mankind thrive, while making a crucial impact to the lives of Nigerians across the country.
Through this innovative initiative, the USTDA is supporting ipNX to promote inclusive, secure and sustainable connectivity across the nation. The agreements were made possible as a result of several engagements between the USTDA delegation to Nigeria and the leadership of ipNX; and will advance the goals of the recently updated Nigerian Broadband Plan.
These projects will support the development of Nigeria’s telecoms infrastructure and help to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Plan,” said the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard. “The U.S. Government has committed significant resources to improving telecoms infrastructure in Nigeria and this support is crucial as we believe that investment in critical ICT projects will strengthen the resiliency outlined in Nigeria’s economic sustainability plan.”
Also present at the virtual event, the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Engr. Bako Wakil, who spoke on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, said: “The support this grant will provide to the telecommunications sector, in particular broadband, is in line with the National Digital Strategy and the National Broadband Plan. The NCC would like to congratulate ipNX as it shows the company’s integrity and commitment to be selected for this grant”.
ipNX also revealed that it intends to continue to work with USTDA beyond the preliminary stage, to execute many more projects into the future that will bring about the digital transformation and socio-economic development of major cities in Nigeria in alignment with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.
With their partnership, both parties fully agree that further development of the nation’s broadband infrastructure is key to unlocking the potential promised by Nigeria’s digital economy.
According to the World Bank’s ‘Nigeria Digital Economy Diagnostic Report’ released in 2019, Broadband is a key enabler to harness the digital economy transformation and high-speed broadband has the potential to accelerate Nigeria’s socio-economic development.
(READ MORE: Telecoms: Bright spot amidst the gloom)
ipNX has over two decades (20yrs) of experience in the Nigerian ICT market with fixed-wireless and fixed-wired operations in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Ibadan.
The company specialises in network connectivity and the delivery of broadband internet and voice services to a multitude of corporate organisations, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and residential customers by leveraging Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTX) cable technology as its core access-network infrastructure.
FITC/NIBSS Cybersecurity conference: The need for a robust cybersecurity strategy
Data protection is key as there are over seven billion internet connected devices in the world.
Stakeholders have underscored the need for a Robust Cyber Security strategy and Risk Management Financial Services Growth Cybersecurity risks, as e-fraud have continued to ravage global economies and businesses, with emerging market worst hit due to weak corporate governance and processes.
To get more businesses and financial institutions to know more about the rising trend and ways to curb it, FITC/Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), held a Virtual ThinkNnovation Cybersecurity Conference where stakeholders shared knowledge and insights on curbing the increase in cybercrime.
The conference drew industry experts and thought leaders in Cybersecurity, Technology and Financial services and regulators within and outside Nigeria to discuss avenues where the Nigeria Financial Services Sector can upscale its capacity to tackle emerging challenges in the Nigerian and African cybercrime space.
With the global digitization and shift towards a more connected tomorrow, cyberattacks and risks stemming from these innovations have increased in frequency and impact. The advent of telework arrangements necessitated by the COVID pandemic has seen cybersecurity risks rise significantly with current defences being challenged and weaknesses being exposed.
Combined with the expanding threat landscape, organizations are seeing a steady rise in the number of security breaches, with many organisations experiencing stealthy, sophisticated, and targeted cyberattacks. The gap between cybersecurity risk and defensive effectiveness is now as wide as it has ever been for most companies.
As the number of cyberattacks increase, and take more time to resolve, the cost of cybercrime continues to rise. Organisations are now faced with an evolving and fluid threat landscape with cross jurisdictional actor parties that target every vulnerability.
FITC, Nigeria’s leading knowledge curating and performance improvement firm for the financial sector, in its zeal to bridge the gap between cybersecurity threats and defences, while demonstrating its technology-driven and innovation-led approach to value creation, collaborated with Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) to bring to stakeholders Africa’s largest virtual cybersecurity conference.
The event attracted experts from across different sectors of the economy including Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Deputy Governor Financial System Stability, Ms. Aishah Ahmad CFA, Deputy Managing Director, NIBSS, Niyi Ajao, Chief Information Security Officer at FirstBank, Harrison Nnaji, Dr. Obadare Adewale Peter, Co-Founder and COO, Digital Encode, Chief Information Security Officer, Zenith Bank Plc, Festus Amede, NIBSS, Chief Information Officer at NIBSS, Wunmi Faiga, the Security and Compliance Specialist at Microsoft, Somi Ochuba and Wema Bank CEO, Ademola Adebise, among others.
The conference was attended by over 1000 delegates across five continents, 30 countries and 300 organizations. The conference’s virtual platform using AI technology mimicked and, in some cases, enhanced the experience beyond that of a physical conference.
Some of the major topics discussed include – Cybersecurity and Digital Transformation: Challenges for Emerging Markets; Cybersecurity and IT Infrastructure Protection; Cybersecurity and Financial Services: Imperatives, Risks and Control; Building Cybersecurity for Financial Services Growth; among others.
In her opening remarks, Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer FITC, Ms. Chizor Malize, said the programme is for collection and documentation of new knowledge in the areas of cyber security and finding new ways of tackling the menace.
According to her, FITC as an organization driven by technology and innovation is delighted to have organized the largest of such engagement on cybersecurity in Africa. She said,
“For over 15 years, FITC has published survey findings on Fraud and Forgeries cases in the Banking Industry, insights from this quarterly publication highlights the issue of cybercrime and the imperatives for players in the industry to build cybercrime fighting capacity relevant for today’s sophisticated digital world.
“Some of the increasing risks and threats facing organizations emanate from social engineering, ransomware, and security risks from IoT which necessitates integration and interoperability of devices. It also includes cloud misconfiguration and, in some cases, general data protection regulations and compliance that further exposes organizations with global operations. The COVID-19 pandemic also further exacerbated the level of cyber attacks in 2020.’’
According to her, organized crime groups have shown themselves more ruthless and entrepreneurial, repurposing phishing, attacking infrastructures, and building fake websites with recorded increase in scam.
Also speaking, CBN Deputy Governor Financial System Stability, Ms. Aishah Ahmad CFA, said the financial services sector is particularly susceptible to cybercrime given its crucial role of financial intermediation in a highly connected financial system.
Aside significant financial losses, the sector is also exposed to potential compromise and loss of customer data, and disruption of operations, which undermine stakeholders’ confidence in financial system stability. She said,
“The challenge of banking product security and abuse is impacting the adoption of products. If people find out that digital channels are getting more secured and that there are opportunities they can leverage when they have challenges, there are more chances that they will embrace the channels.
“As the world switched to social distancing and remote working, remote learning, remote shopping and electronic financial transactions, due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, more opportunities have opened for cyber criminals to prey on unsuspecting citizens and businesses.’’
Speaking further, Ahmad said the CBN is committed to strengthening its regulatory and supervisory framework to boost the resilience of the financial system against cybercrime.
“It is gratifying to note that most Nigerian banks have in place Security Operation Centers (SOCs) in line with global best practices, others have been encouraged to follow suit, whilst the CBN has also commenced the development of an industry wide SOC – CBN Cybersecurity Fusion Centre (C2FC) – to serve as a shared service platform for the Financial Sector providing cyber intelligence gathering, analysis, dissemination and crisis response,” she added.
Deputy Managing Director at NIBSS, Niyi Ajao, said the programme is crucial for the industry, as a way to guide industry wide cybersecurity development. He said,
“We will continue to educate and inform stakeholders about cyber fraud threats to protect the system. We will keep partnering with stakeholders to share experience, and the participants to put what they learnt in practice to bring benefits to the industry and their companies.”
Ajao spoke on the theme: Cybersecurity and Financial Services: Imperatives, Risks and Controls. He stated that e-fraud is increasing due to increase in financial inclusion and e-payment adoption. He also added that from basic technology to AI, tools are readily available to rogue players who are after unauthorized access to data.
In his Keynote address, Senior Director, Supervisory Guidance, Toronto Centre, Phang Hong Lim, shared proven roadmaps to a more cyber resilient financial sector. He emphasized the imperatives for banks to develop an effective control and response framework for cyber risk including the implementation of general sound risk management practices to provide baseline cyber hygiene.
Wema Bank CEO, Ademola Adebise, who was one of the speakers at the second plenary, shared that the bank started ALAT in 2017 and had known that cyber threats will occur. The bank, he added engaged a Chief Information Security Officer and took governance issues seriously ensuring that the CIO reports to the MD and risk management committee presents regular report to the board.
The Chief Information Officer at NIBSS, Wunmi Faiga, who was one of the speakers at the third plenary, advised that people should be risk aware. The risk segment of the organisations should pay attention to the insider threats adding that some of the crimes are aided and abated by internal stakeholders. She said that controls should be extended to homes as people have started working from home.
On third party risk, she said that it is a cashless world, and there’s demand for quick realtime services and that third party risk assessment is very critical for NIBSS, adding that all third parties connected to organizations should have the right governance.
Also speaking, Chief Information Security Officer at FirstBank, Harrison Nnaji, shared that very importantly too, financial service providers need to build confidence in the digital products they offer. They need to make sure the products they put up are well secured.
Co-Founder and the Chief Operating Officer of Digital Encode Limited, Obadare Adewale Peter brilliantly shared that there is nothing like 100 per cent cybersecurity because any system can be digitally invaded. “You need to be able to take charge of architecture, design, implementation and operation of your security to be able to secure your systems. In building cyber security, a company’s chief information officer (CISO) needs to look beyond technology, and strike balance between the people, process, and technology. As a CISO, one needs leadership, material, and financial skills to build stable and robust technology. The CISO is expected to be dealing with a lot of stakeholders in the company and needs to be versatile,” he said.
Chief Information Security Officer, Zenith Bank Plc, Festus Amede, said that rapid adoption of technology without adequate defence mechanism and pressure on financial institutions to keep costs low remains a major challenge facing the adoption and deployment of digital products.
“Most emerging markets have their data centre in-house, only very few are in the cloud. Even though cloud is where to be, you need to prepare before migrating to the cloud. Account hijacking is also a major concern, especially with people using unsecured channels because of the challenges to grow the numbers. Using channels like USSD exposes bank customers a lot, as their SIM cards can be swapped, or your PIN harvested through phishing among other means,” he said.
Security and Compliance Specialist at Microsoft, Somi Ochuba, explained that as businesses embrace digital transformation, and compete with companies trying to develop their own technology, they would need to develop new digital capabilities using data and information. Data and information are the lifeblood of organizations, but they also attract criminal activities.
According to her, Data protection is key as there are over seven billion internet connected devices in the world, excluding laptops and devices, which are sources of vulnerabilities.
According to Ruth Didam of Bank of Agriculture, the conference was one of her best virtual event experiences. “The cyber security conference was so super amazing, insightful, and revealing. FITC was able to take virtual learning to another amazing level. Looking forward to the 2021 conference.”