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Hope Rises for Universities as NgREN Infrastructure Breathes

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Nigerian Research and Educational Network (NgREN) has been reactivated, after lying idle for more than one year.

The reactivation of the bandwidth infrastructure for universities and research centres was made possible by National Universities Commission (NUC), the owners of the infrastructure securing funds from the federal government to sustain the operation of the infrastructure.

The infrastructure was launched over two years ago to provide some 27 universities connected to the facility with bandwidth.

NgREN is collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Education, The World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that the infrastructure was hit by lack of funding after the initial take-off grant was exhausted and there were no plans to sustain it leaving universities to pay for the service which they could not thereby allowing the infrastructure to gone idle.

The NUC had initially applied to access Tertiary Educational Trust Fund (TETF) for the payment of bandwidth from NgREN. The failure of this initiative, lead to the infrastructure going idle.

On the importance of the infrastructure, Dewole Ajao, operations manager, Bandwidth Consortium, said that beyond just downloading from the Internet, students and researchers in connected universities should be empowered to further their research and education using NgREN. A basic example is access to meteorological data for research into suitability of different areas for crop production. The applications are limitless; the key is to open up the networks and content to students and researchers for innovation. The NgREN should also be used to encourage collaboration and reduce duplication of efforts.

“Very importantly, it would be good to see all the various research institutes we have across Nigeria plugged into the REN so we can harness their output. After all, what is the usefulness of research that ends up in a remote silo that cannot be accessed by those that could benefit from it?

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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FG Can Tap $13Bn New Tax Revenue with Digital ID Programmes

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Nigeria is seen generating $13 billion in additional tax revenue if she could digitalise her identification programmes.

 

This is according to a new McKinsey Global Institute report, which claims that high adoption of digital ID with the right principles can help unlock 3 percent economic value equivalent of GDP in advanced economies and as much as 6 percent in emerging economies on average.

 

The report, which offers a framework to understand the potential economic impact of “good” use of digital ID, analyzed nearly 100 ways in which digital ID can be used, with deep dives into seven diverse economies: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Brazil, China, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

 

“We estimate that Nigeria could use digital ID to expand the tax base to include informal income and reduce fraud and errors in tax filing to generate more than $13 billion in additional tax revenue. Nigerians could save 1.8 billion hours annually from efficient services that reduce the need for travel to and from government offices and filing of physical paperwork,” said Fiyinfolu Oladiran, a McKinsey partner.

 

Eyitope Kola-Oyeneyin, Nigerian-based Partner at McKinsey equally said the Digital ID potential for Nigeria is significant and that based on MGI estimates, Nigeria could capture economic value equivalent to 5 to 7 percent of GDP by 2030 from greater formalization, fraud reduction, increased tax revenue, and financial inclusion.

 

“Scaling Digital ID in Nigeria has to be a top priority for enabling inclusive growth,” he said.

 

Around the world, governments and businesses are implementing digital identification programmes with mixed results and adoption levels. Yet when carefully designed, “good” use of digital ID programs can help people participate more fully in their economy and society, which can create enormous economic value and inclusive growth, the report said.

 

“We find that three-quarters of the potential economic value of digital ID could accrue to individuals in Nigeria, making it a powerful key to inclusive growth, while the rest flows to private-sector and government institutions,” said Rogerio Mascarenhas, managing partner of McKinsey’s Nigeria office.

 

He added that the largely informal and self-employed workforce skews the overall benefits of digital ID toward individuals, who could receive 74 percent of the total overall value.

 

He started that Nigeria’s unmet financial needs are significant. 60 percent of the adult population, or about 64.5 million individuals, do not have a bank account and therefore may be cut off from access to credit or the ability to deposit income.

 

“The World Bank found that 18 percent of the unbanked population in Nigeria cited a lack of identification documentation as the primary reason for not opening an account. We estimate that increased lending to individuals and businesses resulting from an expanded deposit base could generate up to $21 billion in additional investment by 2030,” says Amuche Okeke-Agba, a McKinsey partner.

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FG restates Support for Galaxy Backbone eGovernance Programme

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Boss Mustapha, secretary to the Government of the Federation, has said that the the Federal Government will continue to support Galaxy Backbone Limited to ensure efficiency in its e-governance programme.

 

Willie Bassey, director of Information in the Office of the SGF in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said that the SGF stated this during a visit to the Galaxy Backbone.

 

Mustapha said the federal government had committed huge investments in the development of Information and Communication Technology sector of the economy.

 

He said efficiency and effectiveness in the sector would help deliver on government’s e-governance programme.

 

According to him, the training of 1,000 public servants on e-governance will enhance the efficiency and productivity of officers in the service.

 

The SGF said that Galaxy Backbone had recorded remarkable achievements in the development of ICT in the country.

 

He said that the achievements of the organisation would enhance the deployment of ICT to drive government programmes and policies.

 

Earlier, Yusuf Kazaure, managing director/chief executive officer of the Galaxy BackBone, said the organisation had covered 11 states and the FCT in its e-governance programme.

 

He said that the areas already covered were under the first phase of the programme, adding that efforts were on to commence the second phase which would cover the entire country.

 

He said with continued Federal Government support, the organisation would continue to deliver on its mandates.

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Gartner Predicts Global IT Spending to Grow 1.1% in 2019

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Worldwide IT spending is projected to total US$3.79-trillion in 2019, an increase of 1.1% from 2018, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.

“Currency headwinds fuelled by the strengthening US dollar have caused us to revise our 2019 IT spending forecast down from the previous quarter,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “Through the remainder of 2019, the US dollar is expected to trend stronger, while enduring tremendous volatility due to uncertain economic and political environments and trade wars.

“In 2019, technology product managers will have to get more strategic around their portfolio mix by balancing products and services that will post growth in 2019 with those larger markets that will trend flat to down,” said Lovelock. “Successful product managers in 2020 will have had a long-term view to the changes made in 2019.”

According to Gartner the datacentre systems segment will experience the largest decline in 2019 with a decrease of 2.8%.

The research and market analysis firm says this is mainly due to expected lower average selling prices (ASPs) in the server market driven by adjustments in the pattern of expected component costs.

The shift of enterprise IT spending from traditional (non-cloud) offerings to new, cloud-based alternatives is continuing to drive growth in the enterprise software market.

In 2019, the market is forecast to reach US$427-billion, up 7.1% from US$399-billion in 2018. The largest cloud shift has so far occurred in application software.

However, Gartner expects increased growth for the infrastructure software segment in the near-term, particularly in integration platform as a service (iPaaS) and application platform as a service (aPaaS).

Lovelock added, “The choices CIOs make about technology investments are essential to the success of digital business. Disruptive emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), will reshape business models as well as the economics of public- and private-sector enterprises.

“AI is having a major effect on IT spending, although its role is often misunderstood. AI is not a product, it is really a set of techniques or a computer engineering discipline. As such, AI is being embedded in many existing products and services, as well as being central to new development efforts in every industry.

Gartner’s AI business value forecast predicts that organisations will receive $1.9 trillion worth of benefit from the use of AI this year alone.”

In November 2018 Gartner said IT spending in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) would reach US$973-billion in 2019, representing a 2% increase compared with 2018.

Lovelock was quoted at the time as saying: “2018 is not a good year for IT spending in EMEA. The 5.8% growth witnessed in 2018 includes a 4% currency tailwind driven by the euro’s increase in value against the US dollar.”

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