Abuja — As emerging frontiers, especially digital ledger system also called blockchain become a more globally recognised solution, experts have called for frameworks that will enable Nigeria’s oil and gas sector to benefit from the innovation.
With a new $2.5million funding secured by US-based, Rocky Mountain Institute, from about 10 utility companies to support Energy Web Foundation (EWF), to extend the use of blockchain across the sector, stakeholders have said the transition of the financial technology in the petroleum industry remained unstoppable.
Blockchain, described as an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently, and in a verifiable and permanent way, provides a singular network, with a constantly increasing list of records that are referred to as “blocks”.
The technology, which reduces transaction costs by keeping a single logical copy of transaction records, would help the sector avoid the need for reconciliation and settlement, thereby a potential game-changer for the energy sector.
A report conducted by Deloitte, titled, “Is Blockchain’s Future in Oil and Gas Transformative or Transient?, discovered that the data-intensive opportunities available through the growth and expansion of the Internet of Things, could make blockchain an important vessel to carry the industry’s data transformation forward.
In the Nigerian scenario where transparency, accountability and efficiency are reportedly lacking, Deloitte expect Blockchain to offer “transactional verification instantly across a network, without relying on a central authority – potentially reducing operating costs, more securely storing and managing data, and improving the speed of transaction processing.”
Experts quoted in the report, said the challenges development is posing to orthodox models across the world, required proactive measures to mitigate the impact of the trend, especially in Nigerian kind.
President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Prof. Segun Ajibola, said the capability of the trend to address issues bothering on the recurring cases of openness of data and accuracy as well as accountability in the Nigeria petroleum sector would be a welcome development.
“A lot of issues that bother on transparency and accuracy of record, issues on honesty and sincerity in terms keeping records and open disclosure of what is happening in the oil and gas in Nigeria. Operators and regulators may not feel comfortable of the openness the technology will introduce. But it will override the interest of individual,” he said.
But for the system to work, Ajibola said: “We need a seamless, legal, institutional and operational framework. We need to recognise it in our payment system. We need to also invest in technology using our peculiarity. We need to appreciate the globally acceptable system coming from blockchain technology.
“Since the global payment system is embracing the technology, we need to start thinking about it in Nigeria.]]>
The Kenya financial market has been ranked fifth in Africa with a score of 59 percent in the Africa Financial Markets Index.
South Africa, with a score of 92 percent is first in the index followed by Mauritius, Botswana and Namibia.
The index by Barclays Africa and the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) measures six pillars of financial markets namely; depth and breadth of financial instruments, access to foreign exchange and market transparency and regulation.
Other factors that the index looked at are macroeconomic opportunity, legality and enforceability.
“The Index provides countries with valuable insights and tools to improve the state of their financial markets,” said Jeremy Awori, Managing Director, Barclays Bank of Kenya. “By broadening and deepening their understanding of the requirements of local and international investors, Africa’s leaders can develop robust markets – a prime condition for sustainable, inclusive growth,” he added.
Kenya scored the highest ranking in East Africa attributed to its strong contract enforcement policies, market depth as well as the capacity of local investors, ahead of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Kenya outpaced its East African peers in the market depth pillar, which focussed on areas such as the range of financial products, currencies and hedging options available and capacity of local investors’ parameters.
The survey, however, challenged Kenya to improve on areas such as low historical growth in export market share, low GDP per capita and relatively small market capitalization.
“Improving the regulatory and policy environment is a prerequisite for attracting foreign capital,” said George Asante, Barclays Managing Director and Head of Markets. “The inaugural Barclays Africa Group Financial Markets Index is an important barometer measuring the progress and potential of Africa’s financial markets.”
“African financial markets have traditionally suffered from a lack of depth relative to other regions. This, he added, has been a key factor holding back the ability of firms and investors within and beyond the continent to exploit expansion opportunities.”]]>