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FG inaugurates National Centre for Artificial Intelligence Robotics

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The Federal Government has inaugurated a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in a move to scale Nigeria’s Information Communication Technology.

Built by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the centre is said to boost the development of emerging technologies in preparing Nigeria for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Ali Pantami, said the centre “will serve as a leading hub of innovation, research and development, knowledge transfer, and training in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and other emerging technologies.”

He also said, “Our adoption of regulatory sandbox frameworks for testing technology in a controlled environment will enable the center accelerate the progress we are making in the development of our digital economy.”

Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, noted that the centre is one of the projects that is demonstrating Nigeria’s determination to join the league of countries that are already making fortunes from digital economy.

Abdullahi said NITDA was developing platforms that would provide opportunities for young Nigerians to showcase their ingenuity in ICT.

He said, “This project is one among many of our developmental programmes in accordance with NITDA’s core mandate of facilitating the growth of Information Technology (IT) development in Nigeria.

“We are focused on providing support for viable innovations with socio-economic impact as well as a level playing field for all Nigerians to thrive in. As we enter the age of advanced technological breakthroughs such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Nigeria cannot be left out in harnessing the advantages of AI, Robotics and other emerging technologies.”

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Nigeria’s oil revenue not enough to cover petrol import costs – Finance minister

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Nigeria’s revenue being generated from its low oil production cannot cover the cost of imported petrol, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said.

She stated this on Thursday in an interview with Reuters on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

She said the Federal Government hopes that oil production will average 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) this year.

In the first quarter of 2022, Nigeria’s oil production averaged 1.5 million bpd.

The minister said, “We are not seeing the revenues that we had planned for. When the production is low it means we’re … barely able to cover the volumes that are required for the (petrol) that we need to import.”

This year, the FG had budgeted 1.8 million bpd of production, but frequent crude theft and attacks on pipelines continue to affect the nation’s wealth.

In April, it asked the national assembly to drop the projected production volume to 1.60 million barrels per day.

Despite higher oil prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war, under-recovery costs, also known as petrol subsidy, continue to erode gains.

Nigeria has spent about N1 trillion on petrol import shortfall in the last four months and will spend up to N4 trillion this year. This has also dwindled the federation revenue — just as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has been unable to remit any amount to the government purse this year.

On the recent hike of the monetary policy rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the minister said the move was necessary due to policy adjustments by the US Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe.

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Aviation

No plane crashed in Lagos – FAAN, NEMA

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Two government agencies, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and National Emergency Management Agency, have dismissed reports of a fresh plane crash in the Ikeja area of Lagos.

An internet user who saw a plane being towed away had sent the picture to the social media, concluding that it was the wreckage of a fresh plane crash in Lagos.

The aircraft, which had missing wings, was spotted on Ikeja-Agege road, causing gridlock along the route on Tuesday as the news went viral on the social media.

But FAAN in a terse statement posted on its social media handles, said Nigerians should disregard the news.

It stated, “The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria would like to inform the general public to disregard the news making the rounds on social media about an alleged crash at Ikeja Airport.

“The aircraft was sold by the owner to a buyer, who was taking it to its final destination.”

Also, Ibrahim Farinloye, the zonal coordinator, South-West, NEMA, said after due consultations with all critical stakeholders and tracking of all incoming and outgoing flights in Lagos, there was no plane.

An aviation analyst, Daniel Dikio, had also tweeted his observation of the viral video.

“It is an Airbus A319, hasn’t flown domestically in years. I can see traces of a green logo; it likely belonged to First Nation Airways in its time.

“The wings are separated cleanly; this wouldn’t happen in a crash. The separation is a sign of dismantling.

“There is no damage to the fuselage, almost impossible given the purported circumstances”, Dikio noted.

 

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Business

FG targets 1.4mbpd domestic refining before 2027

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Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva

The Federal Government has disclosed plans to actualise 1.4 million barrels per day, mbpd, domestic refining of crude oil in the next five years.

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