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NITDA, Conduit Pipe to Siphon Money- Pantami

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Dr. Isa Pantami, Director General of NITDA

Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) has accused various government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of manipulating NITDA and lawmakers to siphon money through the budget, annually.

 

Pantami, pointing at the rot he met at the agency when he assumed office, blamed successive leadership of NITDA for abdicating their responsibilities which cost Nigeria several billions of Naira in losses.

 

The NITDA boss, spoke when he was honoured as a Friend of the Media, by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), at its Press Freedom Awards 2018.

 

He said the agency throughout its history never regulated Information Technology (IT), in the country, even as that forms one of the core mandates of the agency.

 

He said it has been manipulated by various government ministries, departments and agencies to siphon money through the budget, annually.

 

According to him, the MDAs, usually capitalise on the ignorance of the legislators on IT to get such fraudulent budget estimates passed when in the true sense of it, there was no clearance for such IT projects as stated in the budgets.

 

However, he said on his arrival, such leakages have been blocked with IT Clearance policy now made mandatory for all MDAs.

 

This, he said, had led to the saving of about N10 billion for the country in two years of his administration.

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“Before I came on board, NITDA had been established since 2001 and I joined the agency in 2016. Throughout the history, there was no time that the IT sector was regulated by it.

 

“It is only when I came on board that I discovered that we need to regulate IT in the country. And the first thing we started doing was to ensure that all IT projects in the MDAs are cleared, technically and professionally executed because before I came on board, many MDAs see IT projects as a conduit for siphoning money. When they go for budget defence, most of our legislators do not know what IT is all about. So, people find it easy to manipulate them and the budget passed without the necessary questions.

 

“With this IT clearance, huge amount of money has been saved, about N10bn so far, in addition to technical values added.”

 

Also speaking, Pantami said through this regulation, the administration makes sure it promotes our cybersecurity by creating public awareness about cybersecurity as part of the regulation.

 

Also on regulation, he stated that NITDA now ensures that local companies, indigenous ICT products are deployed in the MDAs, adding that: “We do not allow importation of IT products unless we discovered we do not have the capacity in the country.

 

“These are some of the initiatives we have taken, which by implication have been creating digital jobs, supporting our indigenous IT companies, and they are happy. They say the level of patronage as of today is very high compared to before. This is a clear indication that the economy is being supported by this regulation.”

 

According to the NITDA boss, “MDAs are no more using ICT to syphon money unnecessarily, adding that the entire sleaze may not be completely stopped but has been stopped at least 90% so far

 

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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E-Business

Nigeria’s Online Travel Booking Space in Search of Real Value

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Although boasting a lot of potential, Nigeria’s travel and tourism industry has remained in a state of near-misses and failed projections occasioned by the glaring gap and huge vacuum in the online travel booking space.

 

According to available statistics, the direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was N2,29bn, approximately 1.9% of total GDP in 2017 –  a figure that is expected to rise by 2.9% in 2018 and 4.3% per annum from 2018-2028, to N3,605.7bn, effectively representing 1.9% of total GDP in 2028.

 

On the other hand, the total contribution of Travel and Tourism to GDP was N6,205.8bn representing 5.1% of GDP in 2017 and is forecast to rise by 1.6% in 2018 and 4.8% per annum to N10,094.5bn from 2018-2018, representing 5.4% of GDP in 2028.

 

While the figures appear promising, it is worth considering where the Nigerian travel industry stands in the global scheme of things.

 

Ranked on a global list of 185 countries, Nigeria presently stands at positions 48 in total contribution and 163 in relative contribution respectively to GDP from the Travel and Tourism sector. In terms of expected real growth in the sector, Nigeria stands at a poorly 168 position and 59 in long-term growth forecast (2018-2028) in the sector.

 

Compared with global indices, Travel and Tourism represents 10.4% of global GDP while one-tenth of jobs worldwide are supported by the industry, representing 9.9% of global employment. Furthermore, one-fifth of all of all global net jobs created in the last decade have been within the Travel and Tourism sector.

 

It is an open secret that travel and tourism is an important global economic activity, with the potential to contribute significantly to a nation’s GDP.

 

Added to this is the immense employment-generation opportunity it holds when harnessed efficiently – a point aptly embellished by Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council when she enthused that “inclusive growth and ensuring a future with quality jobs are the concerns of governments everywhere. Travel & Tourism, which already supports one in every ten jobs on the planet, is a dynamic engine of employment opportunity.”

 

Here in Nigeria, the engine of economic prosperity inherent in the Travel and Tourism is yet to be unleashed, owing predominantly to the vacuum in the online travel booking space which holds the key to transforming the sector.4

 

In real terms, only a small proportion (about 13%) of Nigerian air travelers currently book travel products online – a damning statistic for a country boasting a population grossing over 190 million.

 

For the four components of the Travel and Tourism sector which include Leisure travel (inbound and domestic), Business travel, Domestic travel and Foreign travel, the outlook remains the same: total contribution of the sector to GDP is nearly three times greater than its direct contribution.

 

Aligned to this is the poor experience of most Nigerians, many of whom have expressed their dissatisfaction with the level of service in the online travel booking space, despite the existence of a glut of players. For many corporate travelers, a segment that represents the overwhelming majority of online travel service consumers, the prevailing opinion is a glaring lack of real value. Same sentiment dominates among leisure travelers – many of whom are frustrated by sub-standard service and the limited choices of packages/offers available among current players – two of the most recurring pain-points that have drained confidence among customers in the sector.

 

Considering the nexus between technology and value-offerings in the online travel booking space, there is a growing need for a strong player backed by cutting-edge technology to fill the vacuum in the sector and take the industry to the next level. Further justifying this need is the undoubted influence of a world-class online platform and innovation in service delivery which has transformed the entire value chain of an allied sector such as e-Commerce in Nigeria, as seen in the rise and dominance of strong local players such as Konga which has re-defined the scope of offerings and customer experience in the industry.

 

The global travel and tourism industry is a multi-billion-dollar establishment which relies heavily on innovative technology and world-class customer experience in delivering a wide range of value offerings to all classes of travelers.

 

Nigeria is due for this disruption which has the potential of growing the sector’s contribution to GDP. Digital innovation is the way forward.

 

 

 

 

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TechX Innovation Hub Unveils Office in Enugu

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Technology Extra, TechX, Innovation Hub, a global organization that is concerned with the slow adoption of technology in the developing countries especially Africa has opened office in Enugu, South Eastern part of Nigeria.

Tech X is focused on four key areas of technological advancement; Awareness, Access, Adoption and Application.

Speaking at the unveiling of the office, Tony Ojobo, founder, TechX Innovation Hub, said that a key strategy that addresses the issue of low ICT penetration is awareness.

“People need to be aware of the power of ICT to transform lives, businesses and the economy at large. The most capitalized firms in the world today are playing in the ICT space. The capacity of technology to lift peoples and nations out of poverty is phenomenal.

In recognition of these tested facts, we decided to start from the area where penetration is low and scale up to other regions in the country.

“Nigeria however, has the market, the people and local innovations that can disrupt business models around the world. We are on track to making this happen,” he stated.

According to him, “TechX shall create a platform for people with ideas to incubate, startups, business developers, coders, programmers and techies to perfect and scale up their innovations through a structured mentoring process, training and knowledge development programs.

“Our focus will encompass the following; Coding, Gaming, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT’s) Robotics, Digital Innovations, Business Development, ICT Training, Software Development, Cyber Security, Digital Marketing etc.

“Our teeming youths can focus their creative energies more positively with a platform such as TechX Innovation Hub to give them a head-start in live. ICT has become the new oil and countries that have depended on oil as the economic main stay are beginning to embrace technology.”

“We have examples from UAE, Qatar and other countries in the Gulf region. The federal government has been making efforts towards diversification of the economy; however more still needs to be done through the encouragement of innovations, startups and SMEs.

“In realization of this need, TechX was set up to play our part towards the economic development of our people and thus contribute to poverty reduction in the region in particular and the country at large,” he said.

Ojobo noted that TechX will be collaborating with relevant Stakeholders, such as; the Media, Regulators, Hub owners, Tertiary Institutions, State Governments, Federal Government, SME’s, Multilateral Agencies, Embassies, Equipment Manufacturers, Ministries Departments and Agencies.

 

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NSE Trading Platform Suffers 4 Hours Technical Glitch

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Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Monday encountered a technical glitch which impacted trading activities for about four hours.

 

Mr. Bola Adeeko, head of Shared Services Division, NSE, said the glitch was resolved and market transactions continued at 1:45pm.

 

Due to the lost trading time, Mr. Adeeko explained that a decision was taken to extend the trading hours on Monday to 3:30p.m, from the usual time of 2:30p.m.

 

He further confirmed that the root cause of the disruption has been fully rectified.

 

According to Mr. Adeeko, NSE has a robust business continuity framework in place with processes designed to forestall and reduce the impact of such unpredictable technical glitches when they occur.

 

“The Bourse has a solid track record of high availability and systems resilience, whilst working with some of the cutting edge technologies required to power up a modern Exchange and will continue to work to enhance this”.

 

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