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Business News

Firm to establish $2.9 billion deep seaport at Escravos, Delta

Other components of the project include industrial layouts, an independent power plant, a nature conservation park, an international airport and the development of prime infrastructure, new towns and cities.

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The Mercury Maritime Concession Company (MMCC) Ltd. has moved to decongest the Lagos ports as it revealed plans to establish a $2.9 billion deep seaport at Escravos, Delta.

The project which is expected to be completed within 5 years would be run on a build, own, operate and transfer model for a period of 50 years with funding coming from overseas.

This disclosure was made by the Chairman of MMCC, Rear Admiral Andrew Okoja, on Friday, April 23, 2021, at a stakeholders’ forum for the proposed Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC – 1) project in Lagos, saying that the project was at its preparatory stage.

READ: Maersk, Safmarine deny dumping Lagos, as port challenges affect operations 

What the Chairman of Mercury Maritime Concession Company is saying

Okoja in his statement said, “MMCC is the promoter of the Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC-1) project; this is a maritime-driven project cited in Escravos in Delta State, on approximately 31 hectares of land.

This project will consist of a deep seaport, others and a platform to drive resources from one point to another.

We went into this project because we have the capacity, experience and connections; we decided to deploy them to solve the maritime problem of the country,” he said.

Going further, he said that the project was expected to create about 30,000 to 40,000 jobs for the residents in surrounding communities and would help solve the problem of piracy and militancy in the Niger Delta.

READ: Ibom Deep Seaport will resolve the gridlock challenges on Apapa Wharf Road – Rep. Luke

He said the Federal Ministry of Transportation had already given provisional approval for the project asking the company to deposit the sum of $1 billion dollars as evidence of capacity and commitment to follow due process.

He said, “As a form of support, the government is bringing land; we will pay for it and then we will pay our tax. The Nigerian Ports Authority’s role is that of monitoring.’’

A transport consultant, Prof. Charles Asenime, said that the proposed $2.9 billion seaport project which includes a deep seaport, free trade zone, crude oil refinery and gas complex, would boost economic development.

Other components of the project include industrial layouts, an independent power plant, a nature conservation park, an international airport and the development of prime infrastructure, new towns and cities.

READ: Lekki Deep Seaport to begin operations by Q1 2023 – Gov Sanwo-Olu

Why the construction of the Deep Sea Port matters

The construction of this deep seaport would help boost employment opportunities, give Delta State direct multimodal transport accessibility to 70% of Nigeria’s landmass, four geo-political zones and Abuja, and several nations of the world.

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It would help reduce the pressure on the Lagos ports, which is characterized by congestion and long delay in clearing goods, improve the ease of doing business at the ports and provide support for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement operations, among others.

READ: FG approves $3 billion Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway and $462 million Bonny deep seaport

What you should know about Deep Sea Ports in Nigeria

A couple of deep seaport projects are going on across the country, to help decongest the Lagos ports. Some of these seaport projects include the Lekki deep seaport which is expected to be operational by next year, the $4.6 billion Ibom deep seaport, the bonny deep seaport which will be linked to the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail line and the Warri deep seaport.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency market bearish as ICP and SHIBA make top 20 entry

ICP and SHIB made entries into the top 20 coins by market capitalization, taking the #5 and #17 spot respectively.

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In the last 24hrs, the cryptocurrency market space took a hit amidst a decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Index, S&P500 and NASDAQ composite index. Although there is no known reason for the current decline, it is important to know that the cryptocurrency space is known for its volatility, and these types of dumps are expected.

With the decline in certain major cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance, it is important to also note that 2 coins, Internet Computer (ICP) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) made entries into the top 20 coins by market capitalization, calculated by coinmarketcap, taking the #5 and #17 spot respectively.

Internet Computer (ICP)

ICP was listed yesterday on coinmarketcap with the price currently trading $459.24 which represents 213.58% gain from its all-time low. It has a market cap of $56,830,052,964 and a circulating supply of 123,747,068 units.

Internet Computer is the world’s first blockchain that runs at web speed with unbounded capacity. It also represents the third major blockchain innovation, alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum. It is a blockchain computer that scales smart contract computation and data, runs them at web speed, processes and stores data efficiently, and provides powerful software frameworks to developers. By making this possible, the Internet Computer enables the complete reimagination of software, providing a revolutionary new way to build tokenized internet services, pan-industry platforms, decentralized financial systems, and even traditional enterprise systems and websites.

Shiba Inu (SHIB)

The Shiba Inu is currently trading at $0.000032. The coin is up 108.12% in the last 24 hours as a result of its listing on the Binance exchange. It has a market capitalization of $12,527,102,361 and a circulating supply of 394,796,000,000,000 units.

Shiba Inu coin is a cryptocurrency meme token and allows users to hold trillions of them, according to its website. These tokens are listed and incentivized on the ShibaSwap, its decentralized exchange. Its website claims to have locked 50% of its total supply to Uniswap, while the remaining have been burned to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. The tokens feature the same Shiba Inu dog as Dogecoin, which has rocketed in popularity recently. The Shiba token is nicknamed the “Dogecoin Killer” as it aims to replicate and surpass the success of Dogecoin.

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Business

How FG can implement blockchain technology for efficient service delivery

Blockchain technology is an efficient and cheaper platform for governance as it curbs middlemen and bureaucratic channels, makes processes more effective and adequately reduces fraud.

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KPMG, PwC, Blockchain technology expected to tackle Africa’s challenges across multiple industries

A report on the Nigerian budget by BugIT last week revealed that Nigeria’s 2021 budget had 316 duplicated capital projects totalling N39.5 billion, a 14% increase to the security sector allocation with no audit done in 5 years and many others.

Other discrepancies discovered in the report include ZERO audit records of the N10.02 trillion received by the security sector between 2015 and 2021, a total of 117 federal agencies received allocations for “Security Votes” worth N24.3 billion despite many of these agencies already having allocations for “Security Charges” to cover each agency’s security needs, etc. These figures show that the government is permitting multiple leakages in its budget despite falling crude oil revenues and rising debt to revenue ratio.

The damning report was a catalyst for Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to petition President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the reported N39.5 billion duplicated and mysterious projects inserted into the 2021 budget.

The Election problem

Nigeria also lacks transparency in her electoral process resulting in voter apathy, rigging and other forms of electoral fraud, post-election violence, and post-election litigations. The ugly situation is not lost on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which has called for better use of technology in the conduct of elections, stating that the introduction of technology would enhance the credibility of elections in Nigeria. The electoral umpire has also alluded to working with the National Assembly to introduce reforms to Nigeria’s Electoral Act.

“There is a need to introduce further technology to enhance the credibility of the elections that we are going to conduct in 2023. That explains why INEC intends to introduce new technology in the revalidation of register, that we have been putting in place since 2010-2011. The way forward is to introduce technology and ensure the register is credible and 2023 elections reflect this credibility and that election are better,” INEC said.

Can Blockchain offer this technology for transparent service delivery?

According to euromoney.com, a blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger.

The decentralised database managed by multiple participants makes blockchain technology a system that is difficult to change, hack, falsify or defraud.

In 2018, Sierra Leone became the first country in West Africa to conduct an election with the aid of the Blockchain, recording votes at 70% of the polling to the blockchain, a first of its kind to prevent electoral fraud.

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Sierra Leone wishes to create an environment of trust with the voters in a contentious election, especially looking at how the election will be publicly viewed post-election. By using blockchain as a means to immutably record ballots and results, the country hopes to create legitimacy around the election and reduce fall-out from opposition parties,” the developer, Agora said in a statement.

“Blockchain is the only technology that has been created which can provide an end-to-end verifiable and fully-transparent voting solution for the future” they added.

Perhaps, Blockchain is proof that it may indeed be possible to “ innovate to prosperity” using technology, especially in low trust societies like Nigeria bedevilled with poor public accounting and electoral processes.

This position is supported in a report by Northwestern University, citing that Blockchain’s smart contracts can improve efficiency in emerging markets like Nigeria.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to eliminate one of the most significant barriers to economic growth through private business transactions in developing countries—lack of trust,” the report said.

“Developing countries often lack effective or transparent institutions and are frequently plagued with corruption that weakens substantially their level of security in economic transactions.

First, because blockchain uses an open architecture, all transactions are publicly accessible, immutable, and verifiable by anyone. This helps to eliminate corruption and fraud from the transaction. Second, because all smart contract transactions are recorded along a blockchain and cannot be modified ex-post, a permanent and publicly accessible ledger is available to shed any doubt about payments or other transactions throughout the process. And third, because blockchain systems are automated, security in the enforcement mechanism is all but guaranteed. For instance, failure to deliver goods by a set time will automatically trigger a default clause that transmits payment of liquidated damages to the injured party without the intervention of a judge or arbitrator,” the report added.

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Basically, the report suggests that if the Nigerian government pursues a policy on total efficiency in service delivery, blockchain could be the best alternative for the nation as it reduces corruption and fraud in multiple government sectors.

Olumide Adesina, a financial market analyst and Yahoo Finance Contributor says implementing a blockchain-driven service delivery model would make governance cheaper and reduce corruption.

“A blockchain is simply a digital ledger that records information on the network in such a way that it is almost impossible to forge, hack and manipulate despite being open source,” he said.

“This is an efficient and cheaper platform for governance as it curbs middlemen and bureaucratic channels, makes processes more effective and adequately reduces fraud,” he added.

Would the CBN’s crypto ban affect blockchain’s use in governance?

“The CBN ban has little or no effect on the blockchain, as its statutory powers only excluded Nigerian financial institutions from relating to Crypto Exchanges and platforms,” Adesina said.

Bottomline

The report of over N39 billion in duplicate expenses shows that even in a period of revenue decline, the government is struggling with curbing corruption in various sectors. The implementation of technology-backed solutions will not only save the nation from resource pilfering and wastage, but it will also be vital in electing credible government officials to oversee proper, efficient service delivery and governance.

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