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Ekeh Harps on Opportunities in the Global Economic Meltdown

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Leo Stan Ekeh, chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited, has said that the global economic melt down might turn out a golden opportunity for national growth if Nigeria gets her priorities right.
Ekeh stated this while speaking to journalists on the impact of the economic crisis on the ICT sector of the Nigerian economy. He noted that Zinox was expanding and employing more Nigerians in spite of the recession because the company has a clear roadmap and the needed human capital. He said that Zinox has invested heavily in infrastructure in the past two years resulting in new corporate headquarters, the most digitalized computer assembly plant in Nigeria, as well as the establishment of subsidiaries to provide software and broadband solutions to the economy.
He however, pointed out that the entire IT sector might falter because of poor foundations and the declining access to disposable funds. Mr. Ekeh added that the IT sector has made remarkable gains in IT penetration in the past seven years beginning with the launch of Zinox Computers and the launch of the GSM.
He recalled the huge responsibility on the shoulders of the IT sector as the main pivot of national development and averred that the best way forward would be a conscious and systematic intervention by the governments of the federation.
Leo Stan Ekeh commended the Federal Government for the huge interventions in the textile and agriculture sectors but said that the IT sector was in dire need, requiring immediate attention because ICT is the greatest capacity building platform ever. Making reference to Hong Kong, India, Japan, China, and the USA, the Zinox boss observed that only nations who deliberately grow a knowledge economy can guarantee a productive citizenry. He urged the Federal Government to pump money into the ICT sector to “re-train Nigerians, re-brand Nigerians, and give them global opportunities”
Ekeh further said that Nigeria would be a different and better place if the Government were to inject N150b to provide subsidized computers and free internet access for all Nigerians. “Within weeks it would change the mindset of the people. It would stop kidnapping, armed robbery, child trafficking and many other vices. Such a move would create immense goodwill for Government and engender skills that would attract not just foreign capital but that would make Nigeria a great outsourcing centre like India. These things are possible because the incubation period for Information Technology is very short unlike other sectors of the economy, maybe three months. The people are retooled and empowered to get jobs anywhere in the world.
“The Governments of this nation should invest directly on the people by giving them free access to the internet, to knowledge and the free world” he said. According to him 85% of Nigerians are in darkness not because of electricity but because they are analogue.
Leo Stan Ekeh urged the Government to take a cue from what other nations are doing to ensure the growth of the IT industry. He said that it was important that the Government creates patronage for the products of credible local IT companies like Zinox in order to ensure that Nigeria’s technological platform is indigenous, secure and patriotic.


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Inlaks CEO, Femi Adeoti, Wins Top CEOs & Next Bulls Award

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Femi Adeoti, managing director and CEO, Inlaks, Africa’s foremost Information Technology and Infrastructure solutions provider in West Africa, has been announced as a winner of the 2020 Top CEOs & Next Bulls Awards organised by Business Day Media Limited in collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The MD/CEO whilst receiving the award dedicated it to the management and staff of Inlaks for their relentless service even during these trying times.

He also appreciated the board of the organization that drove changes within the organisation particularly in the pandemic which led to the company being recognized and the customers who have continued to support Inlaks while being ambassadors of all Inlaks’ solutions.

The CEO and Next Bulls awards, the sixth in its series, recognizes the CEOs of listed companies creating competitive shareholder value through sound strategy, disciplined execution and world class governance. In addition, it celebrates chief executives of quoted companies that have demonstrated the most impressive gains in both share price and service delivery.

Themed “Advancing Against all Odds,” this year’s award particularly recognised businesses that have been thriving in spite of the global harsh economic realities.

According to the organisers of the award, the indomitable Next Bulls are the CEOs raging forward at a time when many businesses are choosing to retreat, thus acknowledging Adeoti’s good leadership in the area of corporate governance, innovation and service delivery.

The CEOs award celebrates the CEOs of successful, privately-owned indigenous companies built by Nigerians, led by Nigerians and poised to lead their categories on the continent.

Established in 1982, Inlaks is Africa’s leading Information Technology systems integrator with presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Cameroon. As solutions provider, it offers core banking, agency banking, fraud management, cyber-security, cloud, data centre, enterprise risk management and software solutions.

Part of the criteria for selecting winners of this year’s awards held virtually on September 5, are stock price appreciation, Profit After Tax (PAT) growth, an unblemished regulatory compliance record, and positive marketplace reputation among customers in the period under review.

Winners are also selected based on significant interest shown by active and informed investors on the Nigerian Stock Exchange to invest in their stock should their boards ever decide to take them public.


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Transcorp Hotels Hard Hit by COVID-19, Mulls Restructuring

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The novel COVID-19 pandemic has caused the African Hotel and Tourism industry to lose over $50bn in revenue.

Transcorp Hotels Hard Hit by COVID-19, Mulls Restructuring

Dupe Olusola, MD, Transcorp Hotels

Amidst this, Transcorp Hotels Plc has suffered unprecedented losses and is looking to restructure the business strategy of its hotels and optimize its operations.

The management of Transcorp Hotels Plc has announced that it will be taking steps to ensure business continuity in the wake of the losses recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To this end, the hotelier is diversifying its portfolio and reducing its workforce as part of its cost management initiatives.

Mrs Dupe Olusola, managing director, Transcorp Hotels Plc, disclosed this during a Press Conference on Thursday saying “The impact of COVID-19 on the business is like nothing the company has ever witnessed. The hotel and hospitality industry in Nigeria has never faced a crisis that brought travel to a standstill, including the Ebola Virus Outbreak of 2014 and the recession of 2015. The slow pick up of international travel, restriction on large gatherings, the switch to virtual meetings and fear of the virus, has drastically reduced demand for our hotels and occupancy levels to its lowest of less than 5%.”

According to her “Despite the losses incurred we have fulfilled our obligations to staff. At the inception of the pandemic, we maintained a 100% salary payment to our over 900 employees in March and April. We also activated various cost-saving initiatives such as renegotiations of service contracts and restructuring of our loans. We suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment as well as reducing our energy consumption and maintenance costs. Despite undertaking these, it has become apparent that more fundamental changes need to be made for the business to survive. To this end, our workforce headcount will be reduced by at least 40%, and our reward system will be optimized.”

Mrs Olusola further disclosed that negotiations are ongoing to ensure that our colleagues who will be impacted are adequately compensated given the peculiarities of the economy at this time.

A health insurance package to reduce their health burden costs, especially during the pandemic, amongst other payment settlements, will be activated.

Equally, all Executives of Transcorp Hilton Abuja have now taken a pay cut.

As one of the leading hospitality brands in Africa, Transcorp Hotels Plc has stated its commitment to uphold service standards and ensure that all guests continue to experience the warmth and hospitality that it is known for.


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LCCI Announces Date for Virtual Edition of ICTEL Expo

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the premier Chamber of Commerce and a leading voice in the organised private sector (OPS) in Nigeria, is set to host the 6th edition of the Information, Communication, Technology and Telecommunications (ICTEL) Expo.

The tech event is scheduled to take place virtually on Tuesday 22ndand Wednesday 23rd September at 9am daily. To this end, interested participants are urged to register online via www.ictelexpo.com.ng

Muda Yusuf, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said: “The ICTEL EXPO is positioned to be a veritable platform for both operators and regulators to network, showcase and explore with technology with the view to repositioning the ICT sector of the economy.”

Yusuf added “that this year’s edition promises to be the best ever in the series with the theme “Exploring Opportunities in the Digital Economy” This is intended to create a platform to discuss strategies for economic diversification and business sustainability with particular focus on ICT, especially with the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. There would also be virtual conferences and exhibition during the two-day event.

Yusuf also emphasized that relevant agencies and departments of Government will be exhibiting and attending to other exhibitors and participants.

He stated that the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies that have confirmed attendance to participate are Ministry of Communications; Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) amongst others.

In addition, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar GarbaDanbatta, are expected as Special Guests.

Mrs. Funke Opeke, managing director, MainOne Cable and chairman, Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan, is expected to deliver the Keynote Address on the first day.

While Mr. Victor Eburajolo, deputy group managing director, Kewalram Group, will be delivering the Keynote Address on the second day at the virtual Expo.

Yusuf stated that “so far, so good the excitement that the virtual Expo has generated has been phenomenal and we are indeed happy about it.”


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