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ICT Stakeholders List Ways to Creating Billion Dollar Firms in Nigeria

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In a bid aimed at supporting the government and leaders in technology in their efforts at driving the change needed to be seen in the Nigerian technology industry, various key Stakeholders in the nation’s ICT sector recently met in Abuja and identified interventions required to create billion dollar companies in Nigeria.

At the first Digital Africa Leadership Series, with the theme: “Generating Laws and Policies for Creating Local $Billion Tech Companies – How do we get there?,” which held on the 20th of April, 2017 at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja, participants which included the Honourable Minister of Communications Technology, Barrister Adebayo Shittu; the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami; Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, members of the civil society organisations, entrepreneurs, government functionaries and CEOs of top ICT firms came up with far-reaching decisions.

In a communiqué at the end of the one-day event, participants noted that there is an established correlation between the number of $billion tech companies in a country and the size and level of development of their economy. Therefore, there is a need for the country to consciously think of the policies and legal framework needed to build the Nigerian Tech companies that would achieve multi $billion status. This also means that Nigerian companies should always see the whole world as its market.

Stakeholders at the event noted that Nigeria with a population of about 200million people is supposed to play a leading role in Africa, especially in the innovation and diffusion of ICTs. Whereas this is the case, other countries like Kenya and Rwanda seem to be bettering Nigeria’s efforts. It was, therefore, agreed that greater effort should be put in the country to ensure that she meticulously executes her National ICT policies or Road Map.

Participants agreed that the Minister and the leadership of other ICT agencies should inspire and drive a new vision for Nigeria’s ICT industry through their public engagement and use of the social media.

It noted that the country has developed several ICT strategy documents, roadmaps, national ICT blueprints and master-plans, and bemoaned the seeming confusion as to which is the driving document for the country. It therefore, called for a need for harmonisation and/or communication of the right document, as stakeholders desire to know which one of them is the driving plan for the industry.

The stakeholders noted the assurance of the Honourable Minister that the Federal Executive Council will soon approve the National ICT Roadmap document as well as the National e-Governance Masterplan document. Accordingly, they advised that when approved, the same documents should be widely circulated.

Stakeholders noted the existence of Local Content Office under the National Information Technology Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology and advocated for a target percentage of local ICT contracts to be awarded to Nigerian businesses, advising that where no Nigerian company is qualified, such Nigerian company should understudy the expatriate company in order to ensure transfer of knowledge within a specified period.

The Stakeholders further noted the inadequacy of the current intellectual property and copyright protection laws in Nigeria and advocated for the laws to be updated to provide sufficient protection for Nigerian businesses.

It was noted that the quality of ICT education from Primary, Secondary and especially the tertiary levels are weak when compared to what is obtainable from other parts of the world. It is, therefore, important for the government to create the enabling policies, laws and infrastructural environment needed to greatly enhance the quality of ICT education in Nigeria, adding that Government’s direct intervention to hasten the size and variety of capacity in ICT for the country is highly desirable.

Participants at the one-day forum noted that despite the two decades of efforts at enhancing relative ICT infrastructure in the country with regards to electricity, telecommunications network and computer hardware availability, the level, size, number and quality of infrastructure in the country are still insufficient, thereby impinging on the ability of the country to properly participate in the coming 4th Industrial Revolution. They, therefore, advised that the government must take urgent action to provide the country with a befitting infrastructure in readiness for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The forum also noted that many infrastructural projects in the country are poorly supervised and built with substandard materials. Therefore, Government should ensure that an effective quality system is introduced and that projects are undertaken to specification, cost and agreed timeline.

It further noted that there is a need to ensure that various ICT policies from the different ICT Regulatory Agencies in the country are appropriately communicated to all relevant stakeholders such as trade unions, individuals, organisations and sectoral regulators.

Stakeholders observed and noted that most organisations that are calling themselves Incubators are actually playing the role of Accelerators and that there is a dearth of knowledge in Incubation Hubs Management, and therefore, advised that the Government should create special facilities for training Nigerians on the development and running of Incubation Hubs.

With regards to investment in all sectors of ICT, it was noted that if the enabling environment is there as well as the right kind of incentives, not just local investors but even international investors and capital will move in. Similarly, it was noted that in order to enhance capacity for the industry, Government should encourage organisations that train people for various ICT skills with incentives such as Tax Breaks. This according to the forum, will encourage numerous organisations to train graduates bearing in mind that they will only be able to keep a few while the rest will go into the industry to enhance capacity.

The Communiqué commended the Minister on the plan for the proposed transformation of NIPOST to amongst other things, provide electronic banking services, e-commerce services, banking and finance services, transportation and logistics services, property development services, etc. It noted with excitement that the NIPOST reform package will soon be launched and therefore, encouraged the Minister to see to the successful and timely implementation of same.

The forum noted that in order for the Government to catalyse the Nigerian ICT industry, and because of the general recession in the country, government should in addition to setting up the necessary enabling environment, provide funding for startup businesses, and provide the needed funding for entrepreneurs under an appropriate arrangement without having to be in business itself.

The stakeholders acknowledged with commendation, the fact that the Federal Government has decided to build a National ICT Park. They suggested that in addition to this, a minimum of 30 Techshops should be built across the country. The Techshops will provide implements or building materials, i.e. both process and product technologies with which to fabricate whatever innovative ideas Nigerians may have using all possible fabrication materials like iron, steel, wood, plastics, etc. In other words, the Techshops will provide centres with all the necessary building tools for the trialling and fabrication of different innovative ideas.

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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NIMC DG Urges Nigerians to Obtain NIN

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Nigerians and other residents in the country have been advised to get their National Identification Numbers.

This call was made on Friday by Mr. Aliyu Aziz, director-general of the National Identity Management Commission.

Aziz stated that Nigerians should regard the NIN as a most crucial feature of their lives since it was the unique identifier for all in the country.

He said that Nigerians should regard the NIN the same way Social Security Number was regarded in the United States, the National Insurance Number in the United Kingdom or AADHAR number in India.

According to him, what is common in all the countries mentioned is just the number. “Therefore, you need a unique NIN from cradle to grave,” he said.

The NIMC boss advised Nigerians and residents in the country to present themselves to be enrolled for NIN to avoid any rush.

He said that rush might arise with the enforcement of the mandatory use of NIN for transactions and access to services, as stipulated in Section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007.

“By law and along the entire lifecycle of individuals in Nigeria, you need to present your NIN, whenever you need to be identified for services such as passport issuance.

“You will need to present NIN during banking services, land transactions, insurance services, pension, health insurance, payment of taxes, voter’s registration, consumer credits and all government services.

‘In all these, there is nothing temporary about the NIN slip issued after registration, the NIN is your identity and is considered more important than the card.

“NIMC’s current focus is on the number – NIN, and not the card. We are already in a digital economy driven by unique index numbers and not by physical tokens such as a card.

“The law specifies that we should issue general multipurpose smart cards as the exercise continues,” he said.

Aziz said the commission was mindful of the demands of the public for the physical cards and efforts were being made to meet them.

The NIMC director general said however that provision of the physical cards had huge financial implication for the nation.

According to him, the number of people with their NINs is 23.3 million, an increase from seven million in November 2015, when he took over the mantle of leadership in NIMC.

“So, please enrol for the NIN, encourage everyone you know to do same, including children and legal residents.

“This is necessary as all other government agencies will follow soon and make their respective announcements on the mandatory use of the NIN,’’ he said.

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SCCI@10: Sidmach Welcomes Pupils On Software Dev ‘Hands-On’ Experience Tour

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Adesina Adewale, the president of SCCI (m); Olayemi Oladiran, head, Sales & Marketing, Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited (l) and a staff of Sidmach, during SCCI’s visit to the Company recently.

By peter oluka

Schools Computer Club Initiative’s (SCCI) has continued its bid to build up student/pupil experts as the workforce of future advancement for tomorrow’s information and computer technology.

The team recently led pupils from different schools in Lagos on excursion at Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited as it seeks to ensure school pupils’ acquisition of computer skills, exposure to a real IT world through seminar, workshops, and exhibitions.

Speaking to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek while leading team to Sidmach, as part of activities to mark SCCI’s tenth anniversary, Mr. Adesina Adewale, the president, said that they are keen to ‘impose’ professional responsibilities on school IT team leaders, build self esteem for members, and motivate young growing children to embrace the appropriate use of the computer.

Adewale said that the big picture behind SCCI was to develop technology innovators ‘Technnovators’ who will eventually become technology entrepreneurs, developing solutions to solve the nation’s multifaceted challenges.

He said, “We hear about the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and other technnovators who today are big entrepreneurs. Today, Microsoft, for example has become a household name world over; people are using the products of Microsoft daily, ranging from the development of animation, games, office allocation to the point of using thee cloud.

“It is part of reasons we brought the students on tour of Sidmach Technologies. So, we are passionate about ‘catching them young’, right from primary and secondary schools, such that on graduation they don’t keep hoping on a non-existing white collar job. They are been positioned to develop the entrepreneurial mindset.

Speaking Achievements in the Last 10 Years:

“We started this advocacy in 2007. what inspired us was a speech by Professor Charles Uwadia, who happens to be the current President/Chairman in Council of CPN. At that year’s conference he charged us to develop the students at the secondary school levels to the point they can stand out and develop solutions/platforms that meet societal needs.

“Since then, we have been developing students in primary and secondary schools to the point many of them are interested in taking up careers in IT which is called the Nigerian Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS).

“We have some who have passed through Sidmach Technologies either during industrial training/ attachment or internship programmes. We have some of them who can develop games, others- animations; we have others who can develop browsers and other solutions that can meet the need of the society.

Hopeful About the Future of the Students:

“Following our activities in the last 10 years, we are hopeful that technnovators and techpreneurs will be developed from these students. Invariably, we are reducing the problem of unemployment in the country. We are hopeful that these students will be able to meet the needs of our communities.

Why Choice of Sidmach

“Recently, we had training at the University of Lagos (Unilag); we had a ‘hands-on’ session. In IT, it is always imperative to marry the academic and the industry ideas to have a robust solution or platform. So, it is a combination of the gown and the town. At times we develop curriculum that fails to meet the needs of the society.

“Therefore, we have to find means of bringing the academic knowledge to bear in the industry practice. This excursion has accorded the students opportunity to meet software developers at Sidmach. The Company has done so much in the software for JAMB, WAEC, even in the oil and gas industry. They have the smart school solution too. So, we are here to let the students appreciate what is happening in the industry so that upon graduation it wouldn’t be all new terrain to them. That’s why we choose Unilag, representing the academic environment and now Sidmach Technologies, a leading indigenous software development firm.

Also, in a chat with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, Mr. Jide Awe, chairman, Conferences at Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), said that such programmes that allow hands-on experience, are critical in building the future of the youths. “We are already in a knowledge-led economy showing more digital processes. We don’t want to continue as consumers, therefore, we must train our children on 21st Century skills- programming, application development, so they will not  be disadvantaged. Already, a lot of countries (developed) are ahead of us. Thank God some of the kids have access to the resources they can use; what we now need are initiatives as Schools Computer Club Initiative (SCCI) to provide guidance. The essence is to ensure the students do no use those things for wasteful ventures”.

“The significance of exposing the students to industrial operations,” Awe added, “is that, it is one thing to learn to program or build software, however, it is important to know how it is being done; which is more encouraging to the students who have seen how this Company operates daily, especially in developing the software. It is a sort of career enlightenment to them. It gives them a practical feel of what it takes to be a programmer in a theoretical and practical sense. They were not on tour of a foreign firm and the reason was to inculcate the spirit of patriotism; we can develop solutions to the challenges we face in the country and even ship the solutions to other nations”.

He urged the students to make best use of knowledge acquired during the visit at Sidmach which was set up by entrepreneurs. “It must be stressed that Sidmach was established by entrepreneurs. They (the students) too can become IT entrepreneurs”, he charged them.

On Schools Computer Club Initiative (SCCI) at 10, the Chairman NCS Conferences, described the platform as a commendable initiative that should be encouraged; “that is why NCS and CPN have always been part of it. The Initiative has had its ups and downs, but it is here to stay. We really have to encourage them, because the issue at stake deals directly with the future of our children”.

Legacy Sidmach Is Leaving Behind For Next Generation,

Mr. Olayemi Oladiran, head, Sales & Marketing, Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, while addressing the students, said he was quite impressed to see them, especially with the capabilities they have shown, even as younger ages. “They are already coding. It gives me the confidence the next generation will do better than we have done”.

“We don’t mind any one of them working for Sidmach. Obviously, we have a standard and of course it is going to be the best that will take in it. For those that have the vision, I will encourage them to work hard to excel in what they do. Importantly, they should not have employee mentality. Rather a mentality that can tell them- look I can develop a prototype software solution that I can take to the market. So, they should not limit themselves.

Partnership with OEMs

He said they are partnering with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) We do have such as HP, Microsoft and Sophos to build dependable solutions that address student’s e-learning challenges.

“We support them; to get them achieve their best. We support their dreams and aspirations. Whatever we need to do, that we shall do to provide encouragement and enabling environment to fan up their dreams”, he pledged.

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Kwesé TV Makes Triumphant Entry To Nigeria, Launches 3, 7 & 30 Days Subscription Plans

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(L-r): ChiChi Nwoko, general manager Kwese Free Sports Nigeria; Elizabeth Amkpa, general manager, Kwese TV Nigeria, and Joseph Hundah, president group CEO, ECONET MEDIA, during the launch of Kwesé TV Nigeria, Thursday.

By peter oluka

Africa’s dynamic broadcaster Kwesé, Thursday, announced the launch of its entertainment and sports television network Kwese TV in Nigeria.

The launch of Kwesé TV brings  the very best in premium entertainment, international and African series and movies, award-winning children’s entertainment channels, up to-the-minute news and a diverse mix of exclusive channels for the entire family to enjoy.

“We are excited to launch our dynamic content business in Nigeria, a market that we know is hungry for a compelling alternative pay TV network. At Kwesé we pride ourselves in having selected a strong general entertainment and sports programming line-up which we believe will be well received by viewers of all ages – kids, young adults, men and women, alike,” expressed Elizabeth Amkpa, general manager Kwesé TV Nigeria.

“Our business is premised on the concept of TV anywhere and everywhere. This means we have made our premium content easily accessible across a number of platforms namely linear TV, mobile and digital platforms, providing unlimited viewing options for our subscribers.”

Kwesé is at the forefront of innovation through pioneering ground-breaking payment options that offer flexibility and convenience in the industry.

“With Kwesé, content is not only accessible through our multi-platform service, but also through a revolutionary payment model. We have pioneered ‘pay-as-you-watch’ subscription packages for premium programminng which enables consumers to purchase three and seven day subscriptions at N990 and N1,850 respectively, as well as a 30 day subscription option for only N6,275,” added Amkpa.

Subscribing to Kwesé TV is as simple as visiting a Kwesé branded store and purchasing a satellite dish and decoder combo for N10,960 inclusive of installation. What’s more, your first month’s (30 day) subscription to Kwesé TV’s full entertainment and sports bouquet is free! After expiration of this free 30 day pass, Kwesé audiences can continue to enjoy exceptional quality programming at an affordable price of just N6,275 per 30 day pass.

The full Kwesé TV bouquet offers over 65 channels of pure entertainment with well-known international channels such as CNN International, DreamWorks, DTX, ESPN, VICELAND, Diddy’s REVOLT TV and home-grown channels such as Channels TV, TVC News and NTA.

What’s more Kwesé subscribers can also enjoy an always on programme offering on their Kwesé TV decoders. The always on offering features selected free-to-air channels, which form part of Kwesé’s programming line-up, which remain available for viewing on you decoder even with a lapsed subscription.  This means Nigerian audiences can remain connected to Kwesé with channels such as Africa News, Flow TV, NTA, Islam TV and of course Kwesé Free Sports.

Kwesé also prides itself in being the exclusive broadcast partner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sport lovers can look forward to live action, weekly previews and highlights from the NBA, international boxing (including exclusive coverage of all Anthony Joshua fights), IAAF World Championships and the National Football League among other sports, on Kwesé Sports 1, Kwesé Sports 2 and Kwesé Free Sports which was first introduced to Nigerian audiences in earlier this year.

Kwesé Free Sports is Africa’s largest and first Pan-African free-to-air TV channel available in 25 countries providing premium sporting content to sports fans for free. The channel holds exclusive free-to-air rights to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and the Premier League.

Viewers looking for premium lifestyle channels can enjoy telenovelas on Passion and Zee Bollynova, exciting Nollywood movies and series on African Movie Channel, African Movie Channel Series and Kwesé Movies 3 which is dedicated to showcasing original African movies.

The little ones in the family can look forward to a wide array of kiddies’ channels including Boomerang, CBeebies, Cartoon Network, Jim Jam and the Kwesé exclusive Toonami for superhero fans.

There is something for everyone on Kwesé TV.

 

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