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Ekeh, Zinox Boss, Earmarks N1.5Billion to Support SMEs in Imo

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Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has declared a three-year interest free loan of N1b to petty traders and small and medium businesses in Imo State.

 

Ekeh, a native of Imo State, disclosed the intervention is to reduce hardship, stimulate business activities and give hope to majority of the people in the state.

 

Further, Ekeh launched an educational support project for indigent but intelligent students of the state to enable them acquire proper university education. For this, Ekeh set up a non-interest revolving loan scheme of N500m.

 

He made this disclosure at the flag-off/groundbreaking of the construction/rehabilitation of rural roads by the Imo State Government.

 

The event, which held on Tuesday, August 27th at Ubomiri, Mbaitoli Local Government, had in attendance, the Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha.

 

Also in attendance were traditional rulers and partner agencies from the World Bank and French Development Agency (AFD).

 

Indigent students will benefit from the revolving loan scheme to further and complete their education. Graduates from the scheme will also be exposed to employment opportunities.

 

Subsequently, the graduate-beneficiaries will be expected to refund the loan once they are gainfully employed at zero interest. This will ensure the sustenance of the scheme and allow others benefit from it.

 

First Class graduates will be exempted from repayment of the loans as reward for their sterling performance. Conversely, students whose grades drop to third class will be ejected from the scheme.

 

Ekeh believes that in the next 10 years, the interventions and the government’s commitment in these respects will reposition Imo state as the envy of all.

 

Additionally, the serial digital entrepreneur revealed that Imo State is being used as a model. He disclosed that if it works, the efforts will be replicated in more states in Nigeria.

 

The Zinox boss equally donated 20 laptops and a set of printers to the Imo State Government.

 

“I am very sure other well-meaning Nigerians will borrow same strategies to replicate in their communities.

 

“This is not the age of free money and bad wastages. The 21st century is the age of privileges and opportunities.

 

“Nigerians must imbibe the culture of earning a living and paying back so that others can benefit. Cash is not inexhaustible.

“What I have done is use myself as a personal collateral in addition to putting up some of my assets to a Nigerian bank to take a loan and try and bail out a percentage of my people.

 

“Indeed, if it works, the multiplier effects shall be far-reaching. If they fail me, it is a disaster but that is life.

 

“I have done same in the ICT sector in the last 15 years with over N10b and it is still working. Most successful people in the world did not receive cash from their families so how did they become globally successful?”

 

Ekeh, a global advisor to Microsoft, revealed that he has not slept in his mansion in Owerri in the past six years.

 

“Each time I visit home, I often leave depressed. This is because of the state of things and the money I have to spend to help out those in dire conditions. With these interventions, I am confident that things will take a positive turn soon,” he affirmed.

 

Ekeh has been responsible for a number of charitable works in Imo State and beyond.

 

Notably, he donated the sum of N50m to assuage the pains of victims when the Eke -Ukwu market was demolished by the administration of Rochas Okorocha.

 

Ekeh has also been involved in providing scholarships to needy students, medicare to the indigenes and regularly supporting religious institutions in the state.

 

In his speech at the event, Gov. Ihedioha expressed appreciation to Ekeh for the humanitarian and noble gesture, even as he expressed pride in the Zinox Boss.

 

“Imo State is proud to have a son like Leo Stan Ekeh. I am aware he put up some of his assets in order to raise the funds for the projects he has announced today.

 

“May God continually bless him for all that he does for humanity.  I am hopeful that other well-meaning Imo indigenes will join us to rebuild the state.”

 

Speaking at the event, Chief Victor Emeto heaped encomiums on the Zinox boss.

 

“Leo Stan Ekeh is the next to God not just in Imo State and our town Ubomiri in particular.

 

“He carries all our responsibilities from school and church building and maintenance to raising nursery schools in every church.

 

“He has an annual budget for every church in the community and does not limit it to Catholics only. Same with the education of our children and electricity. What is more disarming is his humility and quietness with which he does these things.

 

“In fact, he picks every phone call from anybody from this town, no matter how small. Any time he is home, he sits on the floor with us to discuss our problems.”

 

Also lending his voice was the oldest man in the Ubomiri community, Nze Moses Duru.

 

“Chief Leo Stan Ekeh is God-sent to Imo State. When the Eke-Ukwu market was demolished by the previous administration, he came to the rescue of the people with a huge donation.

 

“He also paid the sum of N1m to the family of the boy who lost his life. That singular action calmed tensions, otherwise Imo State may have burned.

 

“We are aware he supports other states in Nigeria. That is why we continue to pray for him and he does things without making noise.”.”

 

NzeDuru ended by disclosing that Ekeh was equally responsible for facilitating the electricity in the village.

 

 

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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NCC @ ICTEL EXPO, Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said that the Commission will continue to promote and facilitate expansion of robust broadband/Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure across the country for the rapid development of the nation’s digital economy.

NCC @ ICTEL EXPO,  Pledges Robust ICT Infrastructure for Economic Growth

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

Danbatta gave the assurance in a presentation titled “Communication Technology for Service Delivery in Health, Education, Tourism, the Creative Industry and Agriculture” delivered during the first virtual and sixth edition of Information Communications Technology and Telecommunications Conference and Exhibition (ICTEL) EXPO 2020.

He said the Commission, not only successfully achieved but surpassed the 30 per cent broadband penetration target in 2018.

Danabatta observed that through various policy initiatives, broadband penetration has further increased to 42.02 per cent as of July, 2020, noting that this has laid a solid foundation to drive the national efforts at achieving the new 70 per cent broadband penetration target set in the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025.

Represented by Efosa Idehen, director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Danbatta said in line with this commitment, the Commission has commenced the review of the framework for engaging infrastructure companies to cascade fibre optic deployment to the hinterlands of Nigeria to ensure pervasive access to broadband services in the country.

He stated that with the support of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NCC is resolving the perennial problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the support of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to hasten ICT infrastructure that will enable socio-economic activities across various sectors.

According to him, as the world is becoming increasingly digitised; there will be no sector or facet of human life where ICT will not be required for optimal service delivery and improved conditions of living for the citizens.

With regard to the health sector, Danbatta said ICT is playing a very important role in the manner health services are now delivered, adding that the new Internet speed and low latency of 5G technology are expected to further enhance the possibilities of telemedicine and remote surgery.

Similarly, the EVC said the educational sector has also greatly soared on the wings of ICT, as there has been a surge in online learning in many institutions around the globe due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, while illustrating the symbiotic relationship between ICT and educational sectors.

Danbatta said “the relationship between ICT and the educational sector has been mutually beneficial. He assured the stakeholders that the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance the capabilities of the educational sector even further.”

According to him, the agricultural sector has also benefitted from ICT, as several agro-based apps have been designed to ensure that stakeholders in the sector are able to provide and improve on essential agro-services.

These developments have helped to boost food production and security, just as a lot of digitisation is also holding sway in the creative industry, enhancing its growth thereby enabling job creation and greater contribution to the Gross Domestic product (GDP).

 


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NDPR to Safeguard Personal Data of Nigerians -DG NITDA

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Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has disclosed that the motive behind the issuance of Nigerian Data Protection Regulations, (NDPR) by the Agency was to safeguard the right of natural persons to data privacy, fostering safe conduct for transactions involving the exchange of personal data, enablement of Nigerian businesses to be globally compliant and competitive and to create jobs for Nigerians.

 

Mallam Abdullahi revealed this Friday while delivering the keynote address  at the 6th annual conference of Institute Internal Auditors of Nigeria, (IIAN) with the theme:, “Agility and Resilience” which was held on zoom conference platform.

 

The Conference aimed at preparing participants across Internal Audits, Internal Controls, risk management, revenue and Government assurance and other business professionals to learn how to leverage on new technologies and procedures towards actualisation of the organisation’s goals and objectives.

 

The NITDA DG who was represented Director e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr Vincent Olatunji stated that since inception of the Agency in 2001, it has been playing a catalytic roles to spur the infusion of technology into nation’s work processes reiterating that the Agency plays “critical roles in capacity development, provision of working tools for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

 

“NITDA also has an existing arrangement with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to aid the office in the discharge of its activities.”

 

Mallam Abdullahi said, “The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was issued on 25th January, 2020 by my predecessor, DrIsa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

 

“As part of his think-tank then, our thinking was that Nigeria needed to quickly provide a regulatory framework for the processing of personal data.

 

“This was even more pertinent in consideration of the global implications of non-performance.

 

“Businesses where losing bids because investors felt there was no data privacy regime in Nigeria.

 

“The Agency’s implementation of the NDPR has been innovative and impact oriented. For the first time in data protection implementation, auditors became recognised as Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO)”.

 

He maintained that NITDA has 72 licensed DPCOs among which are members of this “august body,” adding that “this posture is not as a result of lack of professionals in the IT industry, rather, we have made conscious efforts to carry every relevant stakeholder along in our developmental regulatory strategy.

 

“ I hope this noble institute would repay NITDA’s generosity by imbibing ethical and professional principles on your members for better implementation of the Regulation.”

 

Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, New Capital Cooperatives Society Mr. Benedict Anyalenka while commending the organisers of the conference affirmed that data privacy and protection should be a requisite skill needed for development of the Information Technology Sector as it would create platform for protection of information against unauthorized usage.

 

Anyalenka, however, called for proper awareness on the importance of data privacy among organisations and stakeholders across the country to safeguard citizens’ data.


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FG Reveals Plans to Deploy Technology in the Health Sector

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As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government of Nigeria has announced plans to deploy information and communications technology (ICT) in the country’s health sector.

This is part of the plans to achieve transparency and accountability in health care delivery across the country.

Dr. Ngozi R. C. Azodoh, director, Special Projects, Federal Ministry of Health, who represented Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, Honourable Minister of Health, revealed this while speaking at MTN Nigeria’s Revv Programme masterclass on Thursday, September 17, 2020 .

The virtual session themed ‘Bridging the healthcare divide through technology and partnerships’ had in attendance health sector experts including Chief Executive Officer, Hygeia HMO Limited, Obinnia Abajue; Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder, Afya Care, Kola Oni; Managing Director, Ingress Health Partners, Dr. Orode Doherty and Chief Executive Officer, Tremendoc Limited, Ugochukwu Chikezie. The session was moderated by the General Manager, Business Development, MTN Nigeria, Omotayo Ojulatayo.

According to Azodoh, the federal government has put structures in place to utilise ICT as part of efforts to standardise the healthcare system.

“The government is working hand in hand with state governments across the country to maintain transparency and accountability, adding that ICT and other forms of electronic platforms are currently being improved and expanded following the federal government’s COVID intervention”.

She also shared that the ministry is willing to support small businesses in the sector imploring the participating SMEs to seize the opportunities provided by The Revv Programme.

“I want to ask everyone who is listening to write to the MTN Revv team and say this is one thing I want the Federal Ministry of Health to do to help my business then we can engage on how to proceed,” she enthused.

In her parting remarks, she also commended MTN Nigeria for providing a platform for SMEs to expand their capacity. “I must commend MTN for this excellent initiative. It has been very productive for me and an opportunity to transfer knowledge.”

The Revv Programme is an initiative from MTN Nigeria to help small businesses rethink and retool their operations in order to withstand the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic using a four-pronged approach that includes masterclasses, access to market, productivity tools support and advisory initiatives.


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