The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullah has disclosed that the usage of Blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will positively transform the activities of the maritime sector.
This was disclosed by Mallam Abdullah during a courtesy visit by members of the Nigeria Shippers’ Council led by its Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, to NITDA’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.
BLOCKCHAIN: A GAME CHANGER FOR THE MARITIME SECTOR — DG NITDA pic.twitter.com/akY6A9FvCv
— NITDA Nigeria (@NITDANigeria) November 19, 2020
The DG explained that due to the unwavering determination to holistically implement the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, his agency will assist in the digital technical transformation of the maritime sector.
He disclosed that the agency is optimistic that the usage of Blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will positively transform the activities of the sector.
According to him, the deployment of Information Technology (IT) in the maritime sector, would bring about efficiency and more revenue generation, adding that Blockchain technology can be used in tracking and tracing trade, supply chain, training and many more.
He stressed that for the NSC to get the best possible outcome, the council needs to look at its business architecture to identify the gaps in order to know where they are currently and where they want to be.
What they are saying
In his speech, The NITDA boss said:
“We are set to assist Nigeria Shippers’ Council in the digital technical transformation of the maritime sector. We are optimistic that the usage of Blockchain technology, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will positively transform the activities of the sector.
“The infusion of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in the ports will bring about little or no human efforts with great result. As the transformation in the maritime sector is beyond technology alone, it has to cut across the people, the process and then the technology.
“The process flow and headhunt is required in order to look for people with the prerequisite skills to help get to where they want to be.”
Speaking at the visit, the Executive Security of Nigeria Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello said: “The purpose of the visit was to seek technical assistance to ensure that the maritime sector, especially the ports in Nigeria, are fully digitalised for efficiency so as to key into the pursuit of a Digital Nigeria.”
Intels is operating above the law due to its political influence – NPA Boss
The MD of the NPA has stated that Intels has been using its political influence to disregard government policies.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Port Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman has said that Integrated Logistics Services (Intels), has been using its political influence to operate outside of the legal framework of the Nigerian maritime regulations.
The NPA boss disclosed this in an interview with Arise TV on Thursday, in response to the contractual and TSA issues between the FG and Intels.
In her interview with Arise News, she said there is nothing political about the FG telling a company to pay what it owes to the TSA.
She said, “I don’t see what is political about a company complying with TSA. So, if government says all revenue of government should go into the Treasury Single Account and a private company refuses to comply, and government says you must comply, what’s political about that?
“In fact, who’s being political here? it is Intels, which has always had political advantage and always difficult to get them to comply with government’s directives. So, can we look at it that way, because I am curious as to what’s political about the fact that your contract ended and the NPA is reclaiming back its service.
“How is it political that your contract ended on August 9 and government said now that your contract has ended, we will continue that service you rendered and pay that your sister company for any revenue that arises and you say ‘No, I must be the service provider’. So, what’s political about that?
She said the political angle to the dispute was caused by Intels’ thinking that it is above regulatory scrutiny, because of its political influence.
“For me, what’s even political is the fact that a company thinks it is above the law, because it has been using its own political influence to operate outside of the legal framework. So, we should be asking Intels why it’s been political with its operations,” she said.
She added that the Service Boats relationship was another added layer to the conflict between the FG and Intels, citing that Intels sued the FG to remain as 3rd party service provider for Service Boats.
“On Intels, we have layers of relations. The noncompliance to TSA after a lot of pushback, and now their contract relationship with us on Service Boats has expired.
“They have gone to court to request for them to remain as the 3rd party provider, which is ridiculous. You can’t force government to allow you provide a service.
“Of course, we have another project to do with them regarding an amortization project. Revenues made from Service Boats is meant to pay for the amortization. But, the point is that Intels need not be the service provider for that service, to enable government repay them for that amortization.
“But of course, they have gone to court, and we are challenging it to ensure the FG gets value for their money,” she added.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in 2018 that Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman revealed how the revenue from the pilotage agreement between the Federal Government, Ports Authority, and Integrated Logistics Services was shared.
- According to Bala-Usman, the agreement allowed Intels to take 28 percent of the generated revenue for its services, while noting that the agreement was silent on the sharing formula for the 72 percent balance between Intels and NPA. This loophole made Intels remit arbitrary payments to the government through NPA at its discretion.
- Intels, in October 2017 had been drawn into a battle with the NPA over the termination of the pilotage agreement with the firm, based on advice by Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
- The company had threatened legal action, but later backed down and made assurances that it would comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) rules. This led to the issuance of ultimatum to Intels to pay $48million into the TSA.
- The NPA boss said the $48 million is the amount Intels ought to have remitted to the government between November 2016 and December 2017.
FIRS to commence recovery of all outstanding tax debts and penalties from January 1, 2021
The FIRS has stated that it shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest from January 1, 2021.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has disclosed that its waivers on penalties and interest on outstanding taxes arising from desk examinations, audit exercises, investigations, or all other forms of tax assessment will close on December 31, 2020.
Hence, effective from January 1, 2021 the Service shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest, in accordance with the provisions of the extant tax laws.
This disclosure was made by Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad, the Director of Communications and Liaison Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service, in a press release issued on December 2, 2020.
Consequently, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, in a notice urged taxpayers to use the advantage of the remaining days of this month to settle their tax obligations in order to enjoy all subsisting waivers offered thereof by the Service.
The Executive Chairman in the reminder notice tagged “Public Notice on the Recovery of Outstanding Taxes from Taxpayers”, disclosed that FIRS in recent times, has issued a series of palliatives for the waivers of penalties and interest on outstanding taxes.
He explained that the Service had noticed that some taxpayers are yet to take advantage of the palliative windows opened to cushion the effect of the challenges of the economy on taxpayers.
Mr. Nami, however, called the attention of taxpayers to the last window of opportunity for the waiver of outstanding penalties and interest on all taxes collectible by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, which will close on 31st December 2020.
What they are saying
Mr. Muhammad Nami, in the reminder notice, said:
“The Service has observed that some taxpayers are yet to take advantage of the palliative windows opened to cushion the effect of the challenges of the economy on taxpayers.
“Furthermore, the Service wishes to put all taxpayers on notice that the last window of opportunity for the waiver of outstanding penalties and interest on all taxes collectible by the Federal Inland Revenue Service shall close on 31st December 2020.
“Consequently, all concerned taxpayers are hereby put on notice that after the expiration date of 31st December 2020, the Service shall recover all outstanding debt with penalties and interest, in accordance with the provisions of the extant tax laws such as ‘the power of substitution’ conferred on it by Section 31 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act 2007.”
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala bags Forbes African of the Year, 2020
Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala has emerged the first African woman to win Forbes’ African of the Year award.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former minister of Finance and former Managing Director of the World Bank, has been named the Forbes African of the Year, 2020.
Forbes Africa announced on its official Twitter handle on Tuesday as it tweeted, “The 2020 #AfricanOftheYear Award honoree is…Congratulations to Dr. @NOlweala! Board Chair @Gavi; Board Chair @ARCapicity, gracing the cover of @forbesafrica,”
The honouree of the award would grace the cover of Forbes Africa magazine.
Last year’s edition of the award was also won by a Nigerian, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (2013 and 2019). Other Nigerians that have won include Muhammad Sanusi II (2011), Aliko Dangote (2014), amongst others.
In response to the tweet by Forbes Africa on its official handle, the 66-year-old replied through her Twitter handle saying she was thrilled to win the award and also dedicated the award to Africans suffering from the impact of the pandemic.
“Thrilled to be named @forbesafrica-CNBC 2020 African of the Year following in the footsteps of my great Brothers @PaulKagame and @akin_adesina,This award is for fellow Africans suffering the health & economic impact of Covid19. The energy and resilience of Africans inspire me!,” she tweeted.
The award is coming weeks after Okonjo-Iweala emerged the overwhelming choice for the post of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation after gaining the support of the majority of the 164 member-nations.