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e-Business Will Drive the Industry in the Future-Ibekwe

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Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development has constituted a restriction on one side to courier business but the same ICT is actually throwing up a major opportunity of the future for the industry. Mike Chukwuemeka Ibekwe, chief executive officer of Suvex Delivery Service and financial secretary, Association of Nigerian Courier Operators (Anco) disclosed this to Nigeria Communications Week in his office recently. Ibekwe says the real future of the industry in Nigeria is e-business which is already being practiced abroad where someone can stay in his bedroom and order what he wants from anywhere. In this process, Ibekwe says the shop doesn’t deliver these items but the courier. "That is the business of the future and that is what will determine or drive the industry in the future. That aspect of the market is grossly underdeveloped in Nigeria but time will come when the market in Nigeria will be e-driven", Ibekwe predicted.

To improve the services of the courier industry, Ibekwe says it will take the will power of the government to fast track action on the postal reform bill believing that once that bill is passed into law and the commission set up that the commission will then be able to define standard and ethics of the profession as well as measure operators and those that don’t measure up to those standards as he suggested, may be given a time frame either to measure up or fold up or join with some others. In addition, there is need for public enlightenment as Ibekwe expects that customers should also know what his or her rights are to courier service as well as recognize his responsibilities too.

Ibekwe emphasizes the need for training in the courier industry arguing that courier is a peculiar industry where there is no university or institution that offers courier as a course underlying the fact that the industry is vague to some extent. Therefore, to get the real quality and service according to Ibekwe, the industry has to come up with clear cut training programmes and packages, processes and procedures, standards and expectations which each organization will be involved in. Ibekwe says Suvex Delivey Service which provides domestic and international courier services, haulage, consultancy, in-house mail management has its own customized approach to doing business which the company does not compromise no matter what. He defines Suvex Courier as a company that observes honesty, integrity, character, relationship, value for money and respect for their customers as the core values of the organization especially this time around when there are a lot of sharp practices in the industry. "People don’t honour promises or honour their words but we go to any extent to keep our promise", Ibekwe said.

Ibekwe identifies the customer as the king and the reason for the existence of Suvex Delivery Service even as he says that it is a sacrilege for the organization to do anything against their clients and that the firm goes any mile to ensure customer satisfaction. Professional and efficient delivery of service within the budget of the customer is some of the selling points of the organization. Ibekwe believes it is one thing to deliver service and another for the service to fall within the budget of what the customer can afford.

He talks of Anco as a young organization that is still coming up compared to most of other trade groups. He says the biggest challenge in the organizations is trying to mobilize people who don’t believe in themselves not to talk of believing in an organization. Ibekwe says the truth of the matter is that the courier industry cannot get to its zenith without a proper organization and that that is what Anco is trying to do with the help and support of the Courier Regulatory Department (CRD). According to him, the association is looking forward particularly when the industry will be sanitized, when it will have a legal frame work that properly defines what should be and what shouldn’t. "You have an independent umpire there setting the standard and a professional organization that understands, believes and is willing to take all it has into the industry. We will then have a room to operate. That is the future we are looking at but right now Anco is using moral persuasion and every means possible to convince, mobilize, encourage and galvanize the multitude of people that are licensed to operate courier in the country," Ibekwe said.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world.

So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Apple Begin Sale of MekaMons Built by Adekunle, Nigerian Engineer

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Silas Adekunle with his 4-legged MekaMon robot

Apple stores in the US and UK have begun the sale of MekaMons, a gaming robot built by Silas Adekunle, a Nigerian-Briton.

 

Adekunle, an engineer, graduated with first class honours from the University of the West of England in Bristol, with a bachelor of science in robotics technology.

 

He was born in Nigeria but moved to the UK when he was 11 years old.

 

His company, Reach Robotics, an augmented reality gaming company which creates robots for both fun and STEM education, struck the deal with Apple recently.

 

MekaMons has been on sale since November 16 for $299.95.

 

The four-legged robots can be controlled via an iPhone and other smartphone using a companion app for augmented reality gameplay.

 

“We’ve created an entirely new video gaming platform,” Adekunle said in a statement by Black Enterprise.

 

The 4-legged MekaMon robot

 

“MekaMon straddles both the real and virtual worlds while taking the gaming experience beyond a player’s screen and turning their sitting room into a limitless robotic battle zone.

 

“MekaMon represents a quantum leap forward in the leveraging of augmented reality. Players can whip out their iPhone to battle their multi-functional, connected battlebots in the physical and virtual worlds at the same time.

 

“When I was a student at UWE Bristol I spent some time going into schools to help inspire young people and it struck me that there was a huge untapped market for a consumer robot with a difference.

 

“We used to go in and explain simple robotics to try to inspire the young roboticists and engineers of the future and this experience set me off thinking about designing gaming robots.

 

“This is an exciting time for our company as now after years of development work we are finally able to bring Mekamon to customers across the UK and US and with plans to go global.

 

“UWE Bristol has given us an amazing start and we are so grateful for their support.”

 

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Telecom

NCC, NSCDC Ink Agreement on Telecom Infrastructure Protection

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Nigeria Communication Commission and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Wednesday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to protect critical Telecom infrastructure from vandalism and theft.

 

Prof Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of NCC signed on behalf of the commission, while Abdulahi Gana, commandant-general of NSCDC signed for his organisation.

 

According to Danbatta, the commission is leveraging on the reach of NSCDC to protect telecom infrastructure.

 

He said that the infrastructure were being damaged and at times it could be unintended due to road construction.

 

The executive vice chairman said that the signing of the MoU had further lend credence to NCC’s commitment to secure the lives of Nigerians wherever they live, as well as protecting telecom infrastructure from vandalism across the country.

 

“We are concerned about this infrastructure and, therefore, we pray that through this partnership with NSCDC they will be protected.

 

“ These centres have been put in place to bring relief to Nigerians in distress.  They are provided to offer emergency services between the people in distress and the emergency agencies.

 

On pre-registered SIM Cards,  Danbatta said  that  NCC  would not allow unscrupulous few among the citizens to use preregistered SIM cards to undermine the security of the country.

 

“We must be seen to be doing everything within our mandate to end the use of unregistered SIM cards and, I want to warn those engaging in it to withdraw or the law will catch up with them.

 

“We will do all we can to make sure they are not in circulation. We have taken some measures, in addition to electronic forms to ensure we give a good example of those who willfully use the preregistered SIM cards to  commit fraud.’’

 

He also appreciated the assistance of the Corps to the protection of the centres which served as inter-face with the people.

 

Earlier, the NSCDC commandant-general,  Abdulahi  said that it was the corps mandate to protect critical national infrastructure, adding that they were ready to provide the equipment, and fire arms to protect the national infrastructure.

 

Gana said that the defence corps has offices not only in the 36 states but in the 774 Local Governments.

 

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E-Financial

Linkifin to provide Supply Chain Financial Solution in West Africa

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Linkifin, a leading financial technology company in Nigeria, announces a new partnership with the South African company Propell.

 

This partnership is part of Linkifin’s International Development plan. Linkifin, based in Lagos Nigeria, provides end to end Supply Chain Finance (SCF) solutions across West Africa.

 

Both companies recently signed an agreement to provide Prime Revenue’s award-winning supply chain finance platform in South Africa..

 

Ms. Omolade Fadase, business development and Ibukun Ekujumi, technical lead both at Linkifin spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek on the challenges in the supply chain ecosystem, stating that one of the biggest headaches in the supply chain link was cash flow challenges and delays in payments due by buyers to suppliers and this is what Linkifin SCF platform is about to change.

 

Obinna Mejeh, head of Business Development, added, “Our platform is basically one for invoice trading, adding flexibility and visibility in a supply chain ,unlike the legacy systems used by banks , discount houses and factoring companies. One of the beautiful things about this platform is that it is a win-win situation for all – buyers, suppliers and funders.

 

Hussaini Yakubu, MD/CEO of Linkifin, further commented, “Nigeria is the second strongest economy in Africa and the largest in West Africa. In order to gear the region towards a robust supply chain finance solution for the future we have to act now. The potential is huge and untapped amongst our target of small and medium sized businesses. We have already met with several major local companies and are going to announce new customers in the coming month”.

 

He ended by expressing his optimism that Linkifin will be able to bridge the gap in the supply chain ecosystem and ended the interview by saying the future for supply chain finance in Nigeria was bright.

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