July 23, 2017
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Nigeria Archives | TechCity

Anibe IdajiliAnibe IdajiliJul 20, 2017
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3min

Some foreign banks have agreed to finance a N5bn investment project scheduled to commence in October this year.

The proposed project, an ultra-modern three-storey edifice called Ikeja ICT Mart, is being positioned as the hub for Information and Communications Technology-related matters in the country and Africa in general.

Scheduled to open in early 2019, the project is expected to boost economic growth and enhance the Federal Government’s quest to diversify the economy.

The Group Managing Director, Master Reality International Concepts Limited, a member of the CFL Group, the firm building the modern architecture, Mr. Lai Omotola, said arrangements had been concluded to begin the construction in the next two or three months.

He said the firm was waiting for necessary approvals including that of the Lagos State Government to commence work on the edifice, which is expected to be completed within 18 months.

Omotola said the proposed Ikeja IT Mart would be located in Ikeja, not very far from the famous Computer Village.

He said, “We introduce to you Ikeja IT Mart, the next hub of ICT for Africa at large. We are building it on Simbiat Abiola Way directly beside the new Ikeja bus station on the axis of Otigba Computer Village and the rest.

“We believe strongly in government’s effort to diversify the economy. One of the fastest ways of diversifying our economy is through ICT. Why ICT? Basically today, there is so much crave for content and content development. How does content travel? Content travels through data. It is now known that data will move faster than voice and that people will be using more of data than voice in the nearest future.”

He added, “In order for us to prepare for the coming demand and even the existing demand that is making our network today shaky, we have decided to pioneer the Ikeja IT Mart as a way of solidifying the value chain end of the IT and communications industry. We have come to realise the value chain end is very important in bringing us to global recognition as an IT super house.”

According to Omotola, the company has chosen Ikeja as the location of the Ikeja ICT Mart because the history of IT in the country started in Ikeja, adding that the country must not lose that history.

 


Paul AdepojuJul 18, 2017
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2min

Nigerian government through the information and culture minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has established a  $1 million Venture Capital to boost the Creative Industry. This was announced in Lagos at the opening of a two-day Creative Industry Financing Conference.

The minister said 20 individuals each investing 50,000 dollars are expected to help make up the required amount. So far, he said five people had volunteered to invest 50,000 dollars each, and expressed the optimism that more investors would come forward.

The Venture Capital, according to him, would provide seed money for young and talented Nigerians to set up businesses in the Creative Industry. He said Nigeria’s Creative Industry needs to be taken into a golden era of smooth access to short and long term financing.

He revealed the Nigerian government is giving great attention to the Creative Industry because of its capacity to create one million jobs in three years, boost the economy and allow the creative talents of the youths to blossom.

The conference was declared open by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun. Others in attendance included Aisha Abubakar, minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment; Minister of Information and Communication from the Republic of Niger, Hadjia Koubra Sani.


Benjamin DadaJul 15, 2017
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7min

Today, the NAN (News Agency of Nigeria) obtained information about the monthly internet subscribers in Nigeria made available by the NCC.

But people are raising eye brows.

It is no news that data gathering in Nigeria is quite difficult to accomplish (see: 1 — business, 2 — health, 3 — forest industry etc) due in part to the poor state of infrastructure here. Coupled with the differing methodology for data gathering across the world. This usually leads to a noticeable discrepancy in data results as many of them are mere estimates. Hence, it is hard to find a single source of truth.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (popularly referred to by her acronym, NCC), the independent regulatory authority for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria said the number of internet users in Nigeria is 91,565,010. One would expect the NCC to be the single source of truth (which I think it is) since all operators need license from her to operate. However, I am unsure as to whether these operators simply send reports (on subscribers and others) to the commission or they (the NCC) can see it from their back-end. Whatever it is, we know it is only what the operators want to reveal that can be seen. But, let’s assume the operators are acting in good faith.

Unlike Odunayo, I think NCC’s numbers are quite accurate as the internet world stats (IWS), an online aggregation from different sources puts the Nigerian internet users number for March 2017 at 93,591,174 compared to a population of 191,835,936 (a penetration rate of 48.8%).

The NCC’s numbers are gotten from an addition of the GSM and CDMA only. The CDMA users are a mere 0.03% meaning over 99% of the internet users reportedly come from the GSM operators (MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9Mobile — formerly, Etisalat).

However, I am wondering where the figure for internet users who subscribed through other ISPs (Internet Service Providers) e.g wireless/fixed wired services like Smile, Ntel etc. Perhaps, an addition of that number would bring it closer to the estimated 93,591,174 by the IWS.

While the number of internet users is growing, I expect that there might be a correlation in number of smartphone users (see Google’s 2016 consumer barometer filtered for NG — where, 62% of internet users corresponded with the 67% of smartphone users). Also, assuming that an increase in internet usage is being fuelled by an uptake of smartphones (as a connection point). Already, budget smartphones from Tecno (like iTel) make it quite affordable for people to jump on the smartphone train. I say smartphone adoption growth might have some correlation and not desktop because the mobile penetration in Nigeria is by far larger than that of desktop (E.g 67% vs 19%of people who use smartphones versus desktop respectively).

In conclusion, it is pertinent to note the following definition of terms for effective judgement calls.

  1. A user is not necessarily an owner. I might be using my brother’s phone to access the web.
  2. A connection to the internet is different from a unique mobile user. MTN estimated that the average Nigerian has about 1.76 SIMs (Subscriber Identity Modules). Hence, that there are 100 mobile connections to the internet doesn’t mean there are 100 unique mobile users. There could as well be only 57 unique users.

For instance, in 2016 Jumia, an e-commerce platform reported a whooping 97.2 million internet users in Nigeria in her third whitepaper on Nigeria Mobile Trends. Given the above explanation, I believe this might have been over-estimated. Perhaps, due to a poor definition of terms. In the same year, We are Social was cited by Twinpine, a mobile advertising network in her Nigeria Mobile Trend report that there are 74.7 million unique mobile users (out of an est. 184.6 m population) in Nigeria.

Hence, I submit that there are about 92m internet users (given a population of 192 m) in Nigeria as at July, 2017.

 

Jumia’s third white paper on Nigeria Mobile Trends

Rufai OseniJul 14, 2017
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7min

The recent debacle that hit foremost telecom operator, Etisalat Nigeria leaves a lot of lessons in its trail.For some it is a story of dashed hopes while for some it is another vintage talking point.

Down Memory Lane

When Etisalat was birthed in 2008, it came with a lot of verve and Nigerianness. The striking 0809ja theme took everyone by storm and young people were not left out. The fun thing was the fact that you could book your own number and it was going to be reserved for you.The joy that came with Etisalat only continued, a consortium between the Mubadala group and Nigerian businessman Hakeem Bello-Osagie. Bello-Osagie to a certain school of thought has anything but the midas touch but to another, has always made things bloom like he said at the Cambridge University African summit in 2013 when he talked about the dynamics of the Nigerian business market citing the UBA story.The marriage begat EMTS (Emerging Market Telecoms Services).

From the start it was clear Etisalat wanted to make an impact and they did this by investing in every facet of the Market. Their strides very palpable, amongst which, is the highly coverted Etisalat price for literature and some other laudable initiatives. Many circumstances worked in their favor to gain the over 20 million subscriber base or was it happenstance (the portability provision comes to mind.)

Growing in the rough

As we know,the growth of every business is dependent on money and there was a need for capital which they sourced from a consortium of banks in Nigeria; the sum was 1.2 billion dollars and terms were agreed. In 2015, the twists and turns of the oil market coupled with the uncertainty of the elections left Nigeria in an economic limbo and the first to be affected were the exchange and inflation rates which soared to over 18% as at December 2016. This further hampered the repayment protocol and led to the hoopla around Etisalat. Apparently the loan had doubled and repayment was stressful.

The intervention of Nigerian telecom and banking regulators, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), saved Etisalat Nigeria from being taken over by a consortium of Nigerian and foreign banks after talks to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed. The loan facility totalling $1.72  billion (about N541.8 billion) involving a foreign-backed guaranty bond, which Etisalat secured in 2013, was for the telecom company to turn around its network and expand its operations in Nigeria. However, the banks claimed that Etisalat had failed to service the debt as agreed since 2016. The consortium, comprising Nigerian and foreign banks, said it got the approval to take over the management of Etisalat Nigeria, effective June 15, but decided to extend enforcement of the order to June 23, 2017 after which Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, may have completed transfer of the 100 percent of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium of banks. The takeover followed the collapse of the efforts by EMTS to reach agreement with the banks on restructuring plan for the $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) debt.

The Exodus before the Genesis

Etisalat has been under pressure since 2016, following the demand notice for the recovery of loan facility it obtained from the consortium. The telco said it was not able to meet its debt servicing obligations due to a stringent forex policy and recession in Nigeria but appealed for a restructuring plan. However, the Nigerian banks, prodded by their foreign partners, threatened to take over the company and its assets across the country. But the intervention of the telecom sector regulator, NCC, and its financial sector counterpart, CBN, persuaded the banks to rethink their threat and give Etisalat a chance to renegotiate the loan’s repayment schedule. However, Etisalat of the UAE, which currently holds 45 per cent of Etisalat Nigeria, announced at the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, penultimate week that attempts to stave off the company’s takeover have proved abortive and so pulled out its investment in the company. Its technical partners, Mubadala, also followed suit, leading to a massive resignation of top executives of Etisalat Nigeria and the chairman of the board. As this continued, an ultimatum was given to EMTS to drop the brand name Etisalat among many other actions that have since followed. This has also raised concerns by subscribers about continued operations and I have to state that the operations would not be affected. It should be stated that a new board has been put in place to ensure the running of the business and prepare the business for investors. In fact, a lot of consortiums are bidding for the company as we speak.

Furthermore the NCC has put measures in place to ensure that subscribers are properly taken care of. It has to be stated that Airtel that has gone through 4 ownership changes and the subscribers have not been affected in the process of transition. In Etisalat’s case, the board has swung to action and the name change has been implemented, previously reported as 9mobile. This would pave the way for more investment and subscribers would be out of the imbroglio soon.

The lesson to be learnt here is that adequate buffering should be made by all businesses to cushion unforeseen shocks in various industries. As we watch the telecoms sector, there is a lot to be learnt.


Benjamin DadaJul 8, 2017
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7min

PiggyBankNG, the personal saving assistant that helps its owner save by automatically debiting their account a specified amount at specified intervals.

Overarching questions like: Is it safe? Is it free? and more can be answered on their FAQ site.

One thing is clear, Piggybank.ng (a subsidiary of SharpHire Global Ltd) is safe. It is a financial technology (fintech) solutions provider and when it comes to holding funds/deposits, they partner with UBA. It is a product of Metro Microfinance bank registered under CBN and also NDIC-insured, according to an email chat with a Cofounder, Josh Chibueze.

Currently, they have certain features which make savings more disciplined such as set withdrawal dates. Should you choose to withdraw outside of those dates you’ll pay a 5% withdrawal fee on the withdrawal amount. how about that for a punishment?

Also, upon sign-up you are encouraged to set a savings target. After doing so, you’ll be prompted to fill out your plan to achieve it at your own pace. It (savings) can be done daily, weekly or/and monthly.

Because it is done automatically, you don’t have to worry about forgetting. In that case, it emails you that ‘your savings was unsuccessful’ with an option to catch up using quick save – a feature that allows you quickly deposit money into your savings.

In an interview with Jefwa of CIO East Africa, as a #DEMOAfricaFinalist, Josh mentioned that “Piggybank was created to ease the stress of physically depositing money daily into a physical saving box”. Hence, it is unsurprising to see their other products/features feed off that vision. For example, Safelock.

Safelock – a piggybank feature that safely locks your savings

Safelock is a piggybank feature which allows users safely lockaway their savings for a period of time while earning interest, till its expiry date (which is user determined at the beginning). It was announced four months ago, in March, on their Medium-hosted company blog.

Interest rates per length of time

Yesterday, another addition to that feature was announced via their Twitter platform. This allows you to create multiple safelocks such that you can split your savings (into their different purposes) and identify them with different names.

In 2016, piggybank.ng reported saving 21 million naira for their users.

I think this is an interesting addition as one could want to save for a parent’s birthday while saving to buy a travel ticket and would not like both savings to be bundled together. Hence, this gives you at a glance, the state of your savings for the different purposes you specified.

In 2016, piggybank.ng reported saving 21 million naira for their users. In September 2016, they were one of the 30 finalists (out of 723 startups across 27 African countries) at the DEMO Africa. October 2016, they were one of the finalist for the 2016 AppsAfrica Innovation Awards – fintech category.

At the Village Capital Fintech 2017 in May, they won $50,000 alongside Kenyan startup, OlivineTech, a software company that specialises in developing automated data capture tools that integrate with third party solutions such as, SAP business.  Still in May, they were shortlisted as one of the Top 20 finalists (fellows) of the Ecobank Fintech Challenge (out of 850 startups from across Africa). This opens them up to potentially more funding, technical support, multinational product roll0ut across Ecobank’s 33 markets in Africa and a service provider & partnership deal, according to Ecobank press release.

Furthermore, they seem to be getting a lot of good user reviews. I imagine their NPS (Net Promoter Score), a management tool used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer, around the +40 – 50 mark (which also implies users are likely to recommend them to others).

With sales, user review and funding in check the sky will only be their starting point.

Read more about the Piggybank process here.

Also, You can follow me on Twitter for a possible analysis of their NPS.


Paul AdepojuJul 5, 2017
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2min

An amicable resolution has been reached by Nigerian banks and Etisalat over the debt owed by the telecoms company, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Making the announcement, Tony Ojobo, the director, Public Affairs, NCC, said a smooth transitional process was currently ongoing on mutually agreed terms and that the amicable resolution would allay the fears of stakeholders on enquiries regarding the current position on Etisalat Nigeria.

He said NCC was confident that the amicable resolutions reached by the parties would further strengthen Etisalat’s capacity to continue to provide services to its over 20 million customers. With the resolutions, Ojobo said Etisalat will be able to fulfill its obligations to its other stakeholders as a fast growing business concern.

“This is regardless of any changes that the parties have agreed to Etisalat’s ownership, its board and/or executive management. We further wish to assure that as empowered by the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, the commission will continue to work assiduously with all industry stakeholders.

“This is to ensure that the Nigerian telecommunications industry remains capable of playing its critical role as a key driver of national socioeconomic development,” he said.

“The commission also wishes to acknowledge the pivotal role of the Central Bank of Nigeria in resolving the matter in a manner that protects the interests of all stakeholders, especially the creditor banks and Etisalat’s over 20 million customers,” Ojobo said.


Anibe IdajiliAnibe IdajiliJul 4, 2017
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2min

Etisalat Nigeria appoints Boye Olusanya as its new CEO. This comes after the former Chairman Hakeem Belo-Osagie resigned early this week.

It also confirmed the appointment of a new board and top management constituting of Dr. Joseph Nnanna – Chairman, Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth, Mr. Ken Igbokwe, Mr. Boye Olusanya and Mrs. Funke Ighodaro.

Etisalat Group took over Etisalat Nigeria as a result of the telecommunications firm’s inability to repay its debts reaching $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion).

On Monday, the company’s CEO Matthew Willsher and Chief Financial Officer Olawole Obasunloye stepped down as part of its transition process.

Boye Olusanya was the former Deputy MD of Celtel Nigeria, former Deputy CEO of ECONET Wireless, and former Chief Business Transformation Officer at Dangote Industries.

Boye Olusanya holds a BSc in Civil Engineering and MSc in Environmental Civil Engineering from a Liverpool University. He also has another MSc in Computer Science from Manchester University.

 


Paul AdepojuJun 30, 2017
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4min

Vodacom Business Nigeria in its bid to address the gap between women and men in the ICT sector, where, according to the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics says that the ratio of Nigerian female workers to men in ICT was 3.3:1 in 2012; organized a one day ICT field trip for female students from Baptist Girls Academy, in Lagos to motivate girls to choose future careers in ICT.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the share of Nigerian females in the ICT workforce rose steadily from 19.02% in 2010 to 22.96% in 2012, with 78,757 Nigerian females employed in the sector at that time. With companies like Vodacom who are actively accelerating gender equality in the workplace, it is expected that the number of Nigerian females in the ICT sector must have grown substantially between 2012 and now.

When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, Vodacom leads. Currently, 43% of Vodacom’s workforce is female. In the last year, promotions of female employees rose by 9%, while 17% of the executive workforce is female. Vodacom’s working policies also allow women more flexibility around maternity leave and returning to work. However, with the decline in the number of female candidates admitted into Engineering, Technology and ICT faculties between 2014 and 2015, it is important that more companies join in the promotion of females in ICT education in Nigeria.

Speaking at the Girls in ICT workshop organized by Vodacom Business Nigeria, the Senior Product Manager, of the company, Mrs. Funke Atanda said:

“Gender equality remains a challenge, particularly in the ICT sector, and so we realize that we should do more to bridge the disparity between male and female in this sector. By supporting ICT skill acquisition for girls, bringing females into our organizations to learn about new technologies and helping them further develop their ideas, we are able to encourage more girls to choose courses and careers in ICT. This will help increase the number of women in the ICT sector in the near future”

According the National Bureau of Statistics, of the 564 candidates admitted into the Faculty of Engineering in Lagos State, in 2014, only 129 were female. The numbers declined in 2015 with only 84 females admitted of the 414 candidates admitted into the faculty of engineering in Lagos state. By providing donations, training and support to ICT driven programs, Vodacom Business Nigeria is accelerating the removal of barriers for girls and women in the ICT field.

Vodacom has created youth empowerment programs like the Power to You project and #ConnectedSheCan, a campaign that targets a broad spectrum of women who face a range of challenges around work. Also, over the years, Vodacom Business Nigeria has supported Girls in ICT Day; an initiative of the ITU which aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICTs, enabling both girls and technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector. Atanda added that “Vodacom will continue to support and advocate for gender equality for women in and through ICT; this will strengthen their stance in the sector while continuing to improve lives of all around the world”.


Paul AdepojuJun 20, 2017
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2min

Etisalat is now under new management following the breakdown of its negotiations with Nigerian banks over its USD1.2 billion loan.

According to media reports, the takeover followed the collapse of the effort by Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, EMTS, promoted by one-time Chairman, United Bank for Africa, UBA, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, to reach agreement with the banks on debt restructuring plan in the protracted $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) debt impasse.

However, EMTS Holding BV, established in the Netherlands, has up to June 23 to complete the transfer of 100 percent of the company’s shares in Etisalat to the United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the consortium of banks.

Etisalat Group, the parent company of Etisalat Nigeria, announced the takeover on Tuesday in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate.

“Further to our announcement dated 12 February, 2017, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC, “Etisalat Group” would like to inform you that Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited “EMTS” (“the company), established in Nigeria and an associate of Etisalat Group with effective ownership of 45% and 25% ordinary and preference shares respectively, defaulted on a facility agreement with a syndicate of Nigerian banks (“EMTS Lenders”).

“Subsequently, discussions between EMTS and the EMTS Lenders did not produce an agreement on a debt restructuring plan.

“Accordingly, the Company received a default and security Enforcement Notice on 9 June 2017 requesting EMTS Holding BV (EMTS BV) established in the Netherlands, and through which Etisalat Group holds its interest in the company) requiring EMTS BV to transfer 100% of its shares in the company to the United Capital Trustees Limited (the Security Trustee”) of the EMTS Lenders by 15 June 2017.

Subsequently the EMTS Lenders extended the deadline for the share transfer to 5.00 pm Lagos time on 23 June 2017,” the filing said.


Paul AdepojuJun 1, 2017
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1min

The recently released Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016 painted a poor outlook for innovation in Nigeria. According to the report,19 African countries rank higher than Nigeria. Furthermore, the country ranked Nigeria 114th out of 128 countries that were surveyed and considered to be innovating and thinking ahead.

The African countries that performed better than Nigeria on the list include Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ghana. On the other hand, Nigeria ranked higher than Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Niger, Cameroun, Zambia, Togo and Guinea.

According to the report, Nigeria performed below its level of development; noting that Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda stand out for being innovation achievers at least four times in the past five years.

According to the report, ICT access and use in Nigeria stand at 28.2 per cent and 18. 1 per cent respectively, with government’s online service and e-participation at 30.7 per cent and 33.3 per cent respectively, which it described as low.


Paul AdepojuMay 25, 2017
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2min

Social media giant Twitter has extended First View to Nigeria. First View is a video product from Twitter which allows advertisers, particularly brands, to use Twitter’s top advertisement slot for 24 hours.

This vantage position can be used by advertisers and brands to share their brand story using video.

According to the social media giant, Twitter is used daily by millions of people across the world majorly to talk about what they are passionate about – including culture-shaping topics. Likewise, the platform has become a medium for brands to reach the live, premium audience, creating significant brand moments for their product launches, event sponsorships, and film premieres. With First View, marketers can scale their efforts even further.

This is how the service works.

When you first visit the Twitter app or log in to twitter.com, the top ad slot in the timelines will be a Promoted Video from that brand. Allowing marketers to tell a powerful visual story across the Twitter audience.

The medium allows Twitter to latch on video which is expected to be the fastest-growing content type on mobile and desktop through at least 2020, when it will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic.

It has also been revealed that video tweets are six times more likely to be shared than image tweets.

“In markets where First View has been available it has helped brands across a variety of verticals quickly achieve scale with compelling video creative. On average, First View can increase Tweet recall by more than 141%; campaign awareness by +58%; message association, +29%; brand awareness, +18%; and purchase intent, +13%,” Twitter said


Paul AdepojuMay 22, 2017
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3min

The Nigerian government has signed an Executive Order compelling its agencies to buy Made-in-Nigeria goods and services – a move experts strongly believe will go a long way in boosting indigenous businesses and the local content drive in Nigeria.

The order signed by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo last Thursday focuses on the preference for indigenous goods and services as well as the removal of bureaucracies which stall businesses. TheExecutive Order as detailed in a document presented by Okechukwu Enelamah, minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, notes that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government shall grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and service providers in their procurement processes for a number of items including food and beverages, motor vehicles, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, furniture and fittings, among others.

Commenting on the development, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, chairman of Zinox Group, hailed the FG’s move as a step in the right direction and a potential game-changer for many quality-minded local businesses in Nigeria.

He said: “This announcement alone would have excited an army of 21st Century young Nigerian entrepreneurs who have been facing depression based on rejection of their certified products by government agencies and parastatals. It is a great development in our new Nigeria and I pray the Federal Government demonstrates the will to implement this to the letter in order to activate real and progressive development in the country. As you know, this policy direction will potentially result in massive job creation for our youths.

“Granting preference to local manufacturers is a sure way of igniting the spirit of indigenous entrepreneurship. This is the standard the world over. Nigeria boasts a number of world-class companies whose products can compete favourably with those of their foreign counterparts. The problem has always been the right form of support from the government.

“Zinox, for instance, is patronized by a number of multinationals. Apart from Chevron Nigeria who remain one of our most regular customers, we have also enjoyed consistent patronage from other multinationals such as Total and Shell. Some of these companies – Chevron, Shell, Total have been patronizing Zinox for over 14 years and this is based purely on service quality as we all know the high standards these companies aspire to.

“I must commend the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo for this bold move which will certainly go a long way in strengthening our local industries, provide more employment for our youths and boost our local currency.”


Paul AdepojuMay 11, 2017
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2min

Nigeria’s federal minister in charge of the communication sector, Adebayo Shittu, has inaugurated the country’s National Broadband Council.

Speaking at the ceremony, the minister said the council has been saddled with responsibility of providing periodic evaluation of progress and facilitate coordination in the delivery of the National Broadband Plan.

According to Shittu, the ministry and ICT stakeholders have identified some key challenges mitigating against infrastructure roll-out such as Right of Way (RoW) charges, Forex regime, inadequate power supply and security of installed equipment. He revealed that a number of steps have been taken to address the challenges including cooperation with relevant MDAs, States and corporate bodies to secure an improved operational environment, reduce cost of infrastructure roll-out, improve on the security of installed equipment and facilities, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship as well as improve on the ease of doing business regime.

Vanguard reported that the minister charged members of the committee to review the status of the National Broadband Plan as at 2017 and suggest ways of accelerating infrastructure deployment to achieve the target of 30 per cent broadband penetration by the year 2018. The Council is made of 19 members and is to be chaired by the minister.

The first council was inaugurated in 2013 by former minister of Communications, Omobola Johnson.


Paul AdepojuMay 9, 2017
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2min

The annual card maintenance fee currently being paid holders of debit and credit cards in Nigeria has been increased by N500 by the regulator following a policy review.

Under the new regime, bank customers in Nigeria will from this month be paying a N50 monthly card maintenance fee instead of a yearly N100. This means that every year, each bank customer would be paying N600 instead of N100.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is behind the tariff hike and it affects debit and credit cards and the implementation will begin from May 1, 2017. The CBN said this new tariff is in line with review of chargesby banks and other financial institutions in the country.

According to media report, the “Guide to Charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions” provides a basis for the application of charges on various products and services offered by the banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria to their customers. Kevin Amugo, CBN’s Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, said the charges came after extensive consultation with stakeholders.

“The aim of the guide is to enhance flexibility, transparency and competition in the Nigerian banking industry,” he said.

According to Amugo, “where a charge is stipulated as “negotiable”, banks and other financial institutions are required to draw the attention of customers to their rights to negotiate and the two parties are required to mutually agree on the applicable interest and/or charge via a verifiable means.”


Benjamin DadaMay 8, 2017
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4min

When it was time for you to choose a University, what steps did you take? I guess, for the majority of us, our parents already had a University choice in mind for us. But, how did they get to know about that university? – usually, word of mouth/referrals (which is arguably the best form of marketing). Perhaps, one of their older friends’ children already passed through the University and they admired it. So, they went to the University’s website to learn more about it. However, this mode of learning about Universities is exclusive, (almost) archaic and not all encompassing.

The need for a (Nigerian) University compass

There exists a unicompass service, but, this site shows no result for Nigerian University search. Perhaps, they don’t think any student will like to study in Nigeria (I laugh at our dilapidated educational system).

Back to the point, University Compass, Nigeria’s first University search engine identified this gap and recently launched their website which provides you facts about Universities in Nigeria at-a-glance as well as, more detailed facts such as a list of courses, tuition fee, accommodation plans, location and directions etc per selected university. However, that is not the interesting part. 

By answering a set of questions; the site (intelligently) recommends a set of courses that could fit your personality based on the answers you provide. As a bonus, things like career advice and scholarships have been incorporated into the site. Personally, I am excited about this project and I think it has potential. But, I am sceptical at the acquisition strategy to get people to use the site. Also, revenue generation. Perhaps, with a good number of hits at peak periods (summer time when people are looking for schools) they could incorporate Google Ads. It would be interesting to see that the information here is objective and not bias towards any University.

Interesting bit of trivia, this site was developed as the final year undergraduate project of a Computer Science student from Covenant University, Mr Seunla Osinowo, who decided not to leave his project on the proverbial academic shelf but rather take to market.

Are you an aspiring student? Do you have siblings and friends looking to get into the University? Do well to give the site a run. It should be worth your while. Also, if you have any suggestions for improvement or complaints, visit universitycompass.

 

 

Figure 1: Uni search for Nigeria
Figure 2: Uni search for UK

 

 

 

 


Paul AdepojuMay 2, 2017
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2min

The services of 280 workers of MTN Nigeria were no longer needed, prompting their disengagement last Friday according to the operator.

MTN said the disengagement exercise which affected 280 mostly long-serving workers would enable the company to delve into full ICT and digital operations.

Pleading anonymity, an MTN official said in Lagos on Monday that the company would inject another group of new employees, capable of delivering on it new goals. The source said that the disengagement was necessary because of the changing dynamics of the telecommunications industry in recent time.

The source said that the service provider introduced the Voluntary Severance Scheme (VSS), urging staff to apply for voluntary disengagement.

According to the source, only 200 workers applied for the VSS, while 80 were given compulsory disengagement The source added that those affected were those who had worked for five years and above in the company.

The source said that the affected workers were given  a severance pay of  75 per cent of their gross monthly income, multiplied by the number of years they had worked with the company.

“Those who decided to leave under the VSS were paid the equivalent of their three weeks gross salary for every year they worked with MTN. What it means is that if one worked in MTN for five years, one would be paid three weeks of the person’s gross salary times five.”


Paul AdepojuApr 11, 2017
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1min

Apparently, Ghana is performing better than Nigeria when it comes to using Point of Sale (PoS) channel for payments during transactions, a new report has revealed.

According to Indexmundi, Ghana ranks second in Africa regarding PoS adoption as reflected by the proportion of transactions made via PoS machines while Nigeria ranks seventh. While 80% of all transactions in Ghana are via PoS, only 21% of total transactions in Nigeria are via PoS.

South Africa is leading in Africa  with 91 percent followed by Ghana 80 percent while Tunisia is third with 79 percent. Other countries ahead of Nigeria are Egypt, Morocco and Kenya in that order.

According to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the PoS density per 100,000 people in Nigeria is 13, while India’s is 67; Uganda, 453; Namibia, 338

The target for Nigeria, according to the bank, is to meet Brazil’s PoS deployment rate of 2,247 per 100,000 people by 2020.


Paul AdepojuApr 7, 2017
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1min

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) believes that there has been considerable improvement in the Quality of Service (QoS) provided by telecommunication companies in the first quarter of 2017. Prof. Umar Danbatta, the commission’s executive vice chairman, revealed this at the presentation of the NCC’s Performance Report by Dr. Joe Abah, director general of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, to the management of the commission.

According to Prof. Danbatta, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that define QoS had been put in place for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) assessment.

“The result of the assessment in the 1st quarter of 2017 has shown improvement in QoS by telecommunication companies,” Danbatta said.

But he said the commission would continue to ensure that telecoms subscribers in Nigeria get the best services.

According to a statement signed by Tony Ojobo, NCC Director of Public Affairs, he observed that very strong business organizational structure, policies and practices that facilitate effective and efficient service delivery were some of the high points that the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) considered before naming the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) top in institutional work processes in the country.



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