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TSA & the Significance of Software Nigeria

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If the nation is still searching for the alibi of the audacity and professional ability of Software-Nigeria, to effectively deliver world class solutions for the economic advancement, constructive development, National security and global competitiveness of Nigeria, the search stops here – with TSA.

The one-year-old Treasury Single Account (TSA) national project initiative is a digital knowledge infrastructure powered by developed by Systemspec developers and solutions provider of the Remita IT Infrastructure.

Remita is a distinct technology know-how statement and signature of the potentials of Software Nigeria.

After one year of its deployment – in line with global quality standards and best practice, the TSA initiative has now been acknowledged around the world, as a monumental success.  

There are many similar Software Nigeria solutions yet to be discovered.

According to the recent pronouncement by the Accountant General of the Federal – Mallam Idris Ahmed in Abuja, the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has N5.224 trillion as at February 2017 – after its successful deployment in September, 2015. 

Therefore, it is safe within the context of evaluating development methods for national Software, to state that the Remita Solutions is a Super Financial Banking Consolidation Application.

This success clearly validates the long-held and recognized fact, evidence and professional perception of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), that Software Nigeria Applications comply with major characteristics of global software trustworthiness.

Also, the advent of TSA represents a quality index to measure the capability, functionality and eminence of software Nigeria in general.  Then, what is responsible for the continued myopic crazy for foreign software in Nigeria?

Policy Makers must understand the is acute danger (leading to digital enslavement) in allowing the unregulated deployment of foreign software in key Federal Government institutions, functions and operations domain to foreign applications software. The goal of this write-up is to encourage and promote the establishment of a National Software Development Strategies as a Policy Framework and encourage the mandatory inclusion of the patronage and protection of indigenous software empowered by concrete legislation –IT Bill to enact a National Software adoption Act.

This will serve to improve the level of the nation’s computer knowledge maturity levels, innovation, creative content competitiveness, as well as promote and spread the development, relevance and use of indigenous applications software and services in governance, education, health, business and industry, agriculture, transportation, public administration, law and justice, entertainment and national security.

Recognizing Software Development as a new productive knowledge frontier and potential instrument for economic empowerment and creation of wealth, Government in 2005, decided to launch a nation-wide awareness campaign – based on the technical report submitted to it by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on National Software Development Initiative (NSDI) with Jim Ovia as Chairman.

Currently, our knowledge-base and technology environment of the “new economy” is greatly influenced, undermined and controlled by foreign information system, Application Software and Databases. Software plays a fundamental roll and globally viewed as the backbone and ultimate currency for modern wealth creation, national prosperity and security.

Setting a national software development strategy, policy and awareness agenda therefore, is also against the backdrop that consciously building  and systematically developing huge software capacities presents immense economic opportunities for sustainable nation building.

Suffice to state that Nigeria can earn a minimum of $10billion USD in foreign exchange annually from the local content-centric software industry. 

Indeed, a strategic national software strategic policy and related legislation should ensure that within the next 3 years, a major knowledge and wealth creation movement should happen by compelling all the Banks in Nigeria to migrate to indigenous banking application software.

Before that line of thought is crucified and for the records, Indigenous Banking Application Software in the 90s had an installed base of over 80 Bank branches before the Bank mergers policy by Professor Chukwuma Soludo – former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.

This policy, as much as it is commendable, grossly overlooked the local content technology maturity implications. The aftermath is that it virtually killed indigenous software companies who were getting ready to deepen innovation of their solutions.

The resultant effect is that is created a floodgate to the ubiquitous spread of foreign banking application software in Nigeria banking system. To date, there is still no level playing field for indigenous application software to fairly compete in the Banking and Finance Ecosystem.

What indeed is Indigenous Software? Indigenous Software (Software Nigeria) is hereby defined as “All Types and versions of Software developed in Nigeria by a company(ies) and its Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) owned by Nigerians, in Nigeria, where funds repatriation out of Nigeria is not required” Why Indigenous Software? First, the secret and future of all national development progress lies in the mastery of information systems, where software is the heart and oxygen! However, with a very poor Research, Design and Development (RD&D) platform and un-structured technology incubation and development culture, Nigeria is at best, described as light years away from mastering heavy industries, as experiences in the Industrial Revolution has portrayed – making us currently incapable of manufacturing such common technology products as an automobile, Airplane/ or even a simple motorbike or bicycle!  Above all, importation of foreign software currently costs Nigeria more than $5billion USD (five billion dollars) in foreign exchange, some of which constitute a colossal waste and national security issues.

Today, the range of ICT-related concerns facing policy makers has increased dramatically in recent years: communications infrastructure, procurement for government automation and e-government programs, intellectual property, government-sponsored research programs, incubators and technology parks, engineering education, foreign investment and, of course, the potential for export revenue. Software is a relatively low-investment, environmentally friendly, high-growth global industry – a good target growth industry for many countries.

But it has also become the most critical and expensive element of the government and business systems that every nation must build for itself. As Stanford Professor Edward Feigenbaum put  it while serving as Chief Scientist for the US Air Force, we now live in a “software-first world” (Clark et al., 1998). The increase in global demand that makes software exports a growth industry is driven by the continued consumption of software at home and then by other countries and business enterprises.

What Nigeria Must Do? Good strategic planning about government automation projects and investment incentives to domestic Software Developers can have a positive impact on the growth of a country’s software exports compared to relying on market forces alone. Establishment of massive Software-Knowledge Academies requires urgent attention.

Above all, retooling of the national workforce is imperative. Creation of a National Software Board and establishment of Regional Software Engineering Institutes as well as Software Development Bank are now mandatory.

Furthermore, creating certain types of software exports requires coherent long-term planning and investment strategies to complement and augment market-driven activity. Every country software-development Ecosystem has evolved a unique industry, shaped by its own resources and situation and by the particular local opportunities presented at the time. That indeed was the case of Microsoft.

The current shape and dynamics of the software industry should, therefore, inform ICT strategy, planning and policy, no matter the country’s stage of economic development. With TSA, the Software Case for Nigeria dictates that Nigerians are very capable in engineering and developing global standard software.

The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has over the years advocated for the need to establish a progressive national strategy and responsive policy for software acquisition, development, application and use, due to its very complex nature.

Systemspec is a dignified member of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) and deserves a national honour for its technology assiduousness and leadership through Remita.    

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-Financial

Court Asks FG to Take over Bank Accounts without BVN

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Bank account owners who are yet to have a Bank Verification Number (BVN) run the risk of forfeiting their money to the federal government within the next two weeks unless they can justify their ownership of such accounts.

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted a temporary forfeiture order on such accounts.

It also restrained commercial banks from operating such accounts for the meantime and directed them to disclose the owners of the accounts and the status of the funds in them.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba handed down the order on October 17 while ruling on an ex-parte motion filed by the Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

The ex-parte motion – FHC/ABJ/CS/911/2017- was filed on September 28 this year and argued by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, A. D. Tyoden.

It was brought pursuant to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Know Your Customers Guidelines and Section 3 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2011 as amended.

The enrolled orders from the ruling reads: “That the 1st – 19th defendant banks shall disclose: (a) the names of the accounts as operated; (b) account number(s); (c) outstanding balances (d) domiciliary accounts and (e) the branch/location where the accounts are domiciled of all accounts without BVN.

“That the 1st – 19th defendant banks to disclose any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any products including fixed/term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial Papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the accounts.

“That an order is hereby made freezing the said accounts by stopping all outward payments, operations or transactions (including any bill of exchange) in respect of the accounts pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.

“That an order is hereby made directing the 1st to 19th defendant banks to disclose any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any products including fixed/term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the accounts.

“That an interim order is hereby made directing the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems to validate the information contained in the affidavit of compliance/disclosure filed by the respective 19 banks within seven days from the date of service on the Central Bank and NIBSS.

“That an interim order is hereby made appointing a Bank Examiner from the Central Bank of Nigeria to examine the books of any bank that fails to comply with the order of the honourable court to file affidavit of disclosure.

“That an interim order is hereby made granting leave to the applicants or any officer authorised by them to advertise the accounts without BVN disclosed by the bank in a widely circulated national newspaper as notice to any person or body corporate or financial institution who may have any interest in any of the said accounts to claim ownership of same within 14 days of the publication of the order and show cause why the proceeds in the account should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Further hearing in the case was fixed for November 16.

At the last count, the Central Bank (CBN) had issued 30,511,506 BVNs.

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) says a total of 45.85 million bank accounts remain unlinked although when compared with the active accounts the number stood at 15.72 million unlinked to BVN as at February 2017.

Even before the court order the CBN had issued a memo warning the banks and NIBSS, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) to ensure proper capturing of the BVN data and validate same before linkage with customers’ accounts; ensure all operated accounts are linked with the signatories’ BVN; and ensure customer’s names on the BVN database are the same in all of his/her accounts, across the banking industry.

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UBA Introduces Video Live Chat with Co-Browsing Technology

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In recent times, customer behaviour and expectations are ever-evolving and with this challenge, comes the need to meet their needs as well as ensure, new offerings are at the forefront of technological evolution.

 

On the back of this development, UBA a leading innovative player in Financial Services is finding new ways to communicate and engage with their customers.

 

With the growing mobile consciousness, customer demand for online services is on the rise and it is imperative to meet this demand with digital self-service platforms.

 

However, to meet this demand, the role of human interaction in the process cannot be underestimated.

 

It fits into our creed to continue to foster our unlimited dedication and access to the customers.

 

In this regard, the United Bank of Africa, in its unrelenting effort to raise the bar, likewise the levels of ease and convenience in customer experience through innovation, has introduced Video live chat with Co-browsing technology.

 

Firstly it enables Customer Experience Experts to help customers in real-time, enabling a support experience centred on visual engagement.

 

Why is this important? 65% of the world are visual learners. Not only can enquiries and issues be resolved more efficiently and swiftly, but co-browsing can complement other channels, improving the overall customer experience

 

UBA is differentiating with Customer Experience and use of Video Live Chat and Co-browsing to improve customer acquisition, service and to improve x-sell & retention by enabling more meaningful contact with customers.

 

Video Co-browsing enables customers to virtually have a one-on-one interface with the bank through co-browsing application via video live chat, text chat, and through real time document exchange. This makes it easier for bank staff to assist customers through a number of difficulties; from filling intricate bank forms and even helping them resolve much more complex transactions. Sometimes, the platform simply facilitates directing the customers to the exact information they need.

 

It provides a secure file-sharing, compliant, real-time communication solutions that enables the bank hold co-browsing sessions to expedite troubleshooting as well as ordinary enquiries.

 

This without a doubt moves light years ahead of the old customer service where interaction is purely through phone calls; this method which has proven to be frustrating especially when it involves fixing a problem urgently.

 

It also comes resourcefully as a quick and easy fix for those who do not have enough time for a physical visit to the bank to take care of their transactions.

 

Other benefits include:

o       All session actions are accountable

o       Secure collaboration

o       Navigate the web together

o       Control access

o       Collaborate online, effectively

 

With this latest innovation, UBA can engage visually and digitally with customers while maintaining human interaction at any given time, in a bid to continue to virtualize customer experience.

 

It offers faster solutions in response to customer enquiries on a more personalised basis anywhere, anytime and from any device.

 

UBA as always, is committed to ensuring greater efficiency and better customer satisfaction. To experience the Video Love chat and Co-browsing technology, visit ubagroup.com .

 

 

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BVN: CBN Orders Banks to Keep Database of Fraudulent Customers

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Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday directed banks to establish a database of their customers identified through their Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) to be involved in a confirmed fraudulent activity in the banking industry.

The directive was contained in the Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) Operation and Watch-list for Nigerian Financial System released by the CBN. The implementation of the framework is with immediate effect.

’Dipo Fatokun, CBN Director, Banking & Payments System, who signed the framework, said bank customers are to by this framework, abide by  the regulatory framework for BVN operations and the watch-list for the Nigerian Banking Industry and also report all suspicious or unauthorized activities on their accounts.

Data from the CBN showed that Nigeria experienced a total of 3,500 cyber-attacks with 70 percent success rate and loss of $450 million within the last one year mainly through cross-channel fraud, data theft, email spooling, phishing, shoulder surfing and underground websites.

Although e-fraud rate in terms of value dropped by 63 percent, after the BVN introduction and improved collaboration among banks via the fraud desks, the total fraud volume rose significantly by 683 percent.

The new regulation is expected to assist the CBN to a great deal, in curbing the menace of fraudsters

According to Fatokun, the new framework is in the exercise of the powers conferred on the CBN, by Sections 2 (d) and 47 (2), of the CBN Act, 2007, to promote the development of efficient and effective payments systems for the settlement of transactions.

He said the framework provides standards for the BVN operations and watch-list for the Nigerian Banking Industry. The watch-list comprises a database of bank customers’ identified by their BVNs, who have been involved in a confirmed fraudulent activity in the banking industry in Nigeria.

Fatokun said the regulatory framework shall guide activities of the participants in the provision of the BVN operations in Nigeria and that the CBN, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) and Bank Customers are participants in its implementation.

He said the CBN, in collaboration with the Bankers Committee, proactively embarked upon the deployment of a centralized BVN System and launched the BVN in February 2014. This, he said, was part of the overall strategy of ensuring the effectiveness of the Know Your Customer (KYC) principles, and the promotion of a safe, reliable and efficient payments system.

The BVN gives a unique identity across the banking industry to each customer of Nigerian banks.

“This framework also defines the establishment and operations of a Watch-list for the Nigerian Banking Industry, to address the increasing incidences, of frauds, with a view to engendering public confidence in the banking industry.

“This framework, without prejudice to existing laws, is a guide for the operations of the watch-List in the Financial System.”

The Watch-list is a database of bank customers identified by their BVNs, who have been involved in confirmed fraudulent activities.

The framework is expected to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders; clearly, define the operations of the BVN in Nigeria; define access, usage and management of the BVN information, requirements and conditions and provide a database of watch-listed individuals.

It is also expected to outline the process and operations of the watch-List and deter fraud incidences in the Nigerian Banking Industry.

In implementing this framework, the CBN is expected to approve the Regulatory Framework and Standard Operating Guidelines as well as approve eligible users for access to the BVN information.

The Nigeria Interbank-Settlement System (NIBSS) is to collaborate with other stakeholders to develop and review the Standard Operating Guidelines of the BVN while the banks are to ensure proper capturing of the BVN data and validate same before the linkage with customers’ accounts.

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