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Ekeh, Zinox Boss Hails USPF/NCC Commitment to ICT Penetration

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Leo Stan Ekeh, chairman of Zinox Computers has singled United Service Providers Fund (USPF) for special commendation for its commitment to ICT penetration in Nigeria.
The Zinox boss in his review of the pace of ICT penetration in Nigeria in 2009 USPF’s effort are exemplary and worthy of emulation.
He said that the review was necessary because of the pivotal role that ICT is expected to play in national development.
The ICT revolution would pass Nigeria by without regular evaluation of ICT penetration in Nigeria.  The economic meltdown that upset the world economy in 2009 took its toll on the performance of the ICT market in Nigeria with new low levels of disposable income amidst crushing poverty.
 The situation, the review said, was not helped by the fact that there were no deliberate interventions to enhance access to ICT equipment in 2009 from the Governments of the Federation.
The review condemned the lack of a follow-up to the CANi of 2004/5, the Government initiative that sought to provide computers for all Nigerians.
However, the educational institutions, driven by the global competitive trend continued to invest on ICT in 2009 but such investments were still too feeble to turn around the face of education in Nigeria.  The review decried the poor density of 2,000 computers in a school of over 30,000 students’ population, teachers and other support staff not included. The educational sector is critical because the schools are commissioned to produce the work force that this nation requires to be competitive.  The review commended the efforts of organizations like NCC/USPF, the Education Trust Fund, ETF, USAID, the CBN, NITDA, Total Fina Elf, and MTN, just to mention a few, for their commitment to the provision of ICT infrastructure in Nigeria.. The review singled out the NCC/USPF as exemplary in its commitment because the USPF has gone beyond the educational institutions and provided ICT equipment to many communities.
Statistics available show that the NCC has deployed largely in almost every tertiary institution in the country through the Adapti and Digital Awareness Project, DAP, and even provided wireless internet. The USPF, the review from the Zinox boss said, has also provided all tertiary institutions in the country with digital labs connected with internet while secondary schools nationwide were provided with e-learning platforms – laptops and internet in her on going national SAP Project. The review acknowledged the depth of the USPF’s intervention in the communities known as Community Communication Centers, designed to reach under-served communities in Nigeria.
Ekeh explained that these centers are nerve centers that primarily link their communities with the information highway enabling individuals and small businesses to exploit resources from the knowledge domain. Each center would provide telephone services, which must include free round the clock emergency telephone services, provide electronic or manual public access messaging system, which must make all messages accessible to the community within 30 minutes of receipt, and create free access to computers and internet services. In addition, each center would provide ICT training services for users of the CCC, and render other optional business services required to meet the needs of the local market.    
The review said that these commendable interventions have still not brought Nigeria near closing up the digital divide. He urged other corporate persons to emulate the commitment of the NCC/USPF and aim at providing comprehensive ICT solutions to educational institutions and communities. The report described a situation where a bank donates 2 computers to a school in the full glare of the media as laughable and a mockery of corporate social responsibility. It recommended that Government should explore ways of making it mandatory for banks, insurance, oil and gas, telecoms and other blue chip sectors to invest a percentage of their profit on the development of ICT infrastructure in schools. Only such an investment can guarantee that Nigeria would ever take her rightful place as the giant of Africa.
 

 


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FG Launches Central Database for Stolen Asset Tracing

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Federal government has launched a Central Database under the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations (ARTM), 2019 and the Central Criminal Justice Information System (CCJIS) under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2017 – 2011 to assist in the fight against corruption.

FG Launches Central Database for Stolen Asset Tracing

Mr Abubakar Malami, AGF

Mr Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, at the launch in Abuja, said the database will ensure uniformity of process, access and information feeding to deepen transparency and accountability in the management of recovered assets.

To ensure compliance, he said his office is developing legislation for the full implementation and operation of the CCJIS.

“We will work together to establish and re-enact transparency and accountability in governance and management of our resources which we have committed to do by way of strengthening International Cooperation of our membership of Open Government Partnership,” he said.

In his speech, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by Mrs Ugonna Ozurigbo, chairman, House Committee on Justice, said the regulation on Asset Tracing, Recovery and proper management of proceeds of crime was signed on October 24, 2019, and took effect from November 1, 2019, replaced the proceeds of Crime Regulation of 2012.

The new regulation titled Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019 empowers the AGF to take charge of the custody and management of all final forfeited assets, approval and appointment of asset managers and operating and maintaining a database for the records of all recovered assets within and outside Nigeria.

He said, the AGF’s office, under the new regulation, is also required to coordinate inter-agency investigations into recovery matters within and outside Nigeria from all law enforcement agencies whose law empowers them to undertake recoveries and maintaining a depository for all forfeiture orders issued by the Nigeria courts and courts outside Nigeria.

Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management, according to the Speaker, is a core value of good governance and its effective management will serve as a deterrent to would-be fraudulent minded individuals who may find themselves in public offices.

According to him, states resources must not be allowed to be stolen but if that happened by fraudulent individuals, efforts must be taken to trace the proceed, recover same and manage for the interest of the generality of the people.

“When the proceeds of crime are traced and recovered but again looted by government officials, I dare to say such act amounts to the crime of tertiary capacity and must be avoided.

“Assets not accounted for are assets lost; loss of assets undervalues the economic potential of a country and will negatively impact on the net worth of a country. Accordingly, Asset Tracing Recovery and Management is a panacea to rekindling of the value system of a nation,” the Speaker noted.

 


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Konga Bulk Debuts Monday

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Konga, Nigeria’s foremost ethical and innovative composite e-Commerce brand is set to unveil a revolutionary new solution – Konga Bulk – which the company says will represent the new normal for forward-thinking businesses and consumers in the Nigerian corporate space.

Equally important, Konga Bulk, the latest innovation from the e-Commerce giant, is set to go live on Monday, September 21, 2020.

Through this initiative, Konga is rolling out a mega platform which has been touted a potential game-changer, offering manufacturers, distributors, resellers as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) an opportunity to take advantage of Konga’s world class assets including its secure regional warehouses, smart offices, cutting-edge technology, advanced logistics capabilities through an internally-owned subsidiary, Kxpress and its Central Bank of Nigeria-licensed payment platform known as KongaPay.

This is in addition to leveraging Konga’s e-Commerce engine and extensive marketing expertise in bringing their products and services to the consciousness of millions of Nigerians nationwide.

In other words, Konga is taking a huge burden off the shoulders of manufacturers and other business owners in Nigeria through this ambitious project.

By allocating physical office and warehouse spaces to partner businesses and placing its many other cutting-edge assets at their disposal, Konga is ushering many into the new normal by bringing succour to corporate entities, many of whom have been encumbered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Konga Bulk will play a very important role, bridging the gap to genuine products and services between manufacturers, distributors, resellers, bulk buyers and consumers.

Resellers and other bulk buyers can also take advantage of best prices available for genuine products exclusively through Konga Bulk.

Kalu Johnson, vice president, Strategic Business, said businesses who sign up on Konga Bulk have a lot to gain.

‘‘Konga Bulk is a very ambitious project which we have positioned as the new normal.

“It is a unique opportunity for manufacturers to take advantage of the huge assets and real estate, both physical and virtual, available at Konga.

‘‘We have invested significantly and strategically in various areas of our operations.

“Today, Konga owns arguably the largest single warehouse space in Lagos in addition to other similar massive infrastructure in other parts of the country such as Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Uyo, Abuja, Owerri and other locations.

‘‘As a manufacturer, distributor or business owner signed up on Konga Bulk, you no longer have to worry about owning your own office or warehouse space. Nor do you have to bother about the heavy investment in logistics, delivery, payment solution, technology, marketing or activations.
“You can rely on Konga’s world class competencies and assets in these areas.

‘‘Businesses must find a way to rebound from the difficulties occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Konga Bulk, which is focused on ushering in the new normal, is one of the innovations we have come up with to provide a way out,’’ he concluded.

Konga Bulk goes live online at www.konga.com and offline in every Konga retail store nationwide on Monday, September 21, 2020.


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Access Bank Reaffirms Support for An Innovative, Smart Lagos State

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Mr. Herbert Wigwe, managing director and chief executive officer of Access Bank Plc, has said that Access Bank Plc will not relent in supporting innovative programmes aimed at transforming Lagos into a 21st century State driven by technology innovations.

Wigwe spoke yesterday during the finals of the Lagos State Smart Meter Hackathon design held at the Bank’s Corporate Headquarters in Lagos.

An initiative of the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Hackathon is aimed at providing affordable electricity meters to the populace by facilitating the design and production of meters that will accelerate efforts towards achieving improvement in energy distribution, monitoring and prevention of revenue leakage.

Wigwe who was represented by Mr Ade Bajomo, executive director, IT & Operations at Access Bank, said that supporting the Hackathon once more reinforces the Bank’s commitment to leveraging technology for the betterment of the society.

“Having Hackathon and innovative programmes like this, has always been part and parcel of our DNA in Access Bank. We are forever looking for new things to do to solve real problems in Africa and beyond; new things that would move the life of our people forward.

“We are always looking forward to doing things that would make more people financially independent, driving and enhancing the well-being of the entire society,” he said.

He noted that now the world is witnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and there are Africans working with the rest of the world and using technology to solve the problems of the people.

Wigwe stressed that Access Bank does not exclude the rest of the world when it comes to using technology innovations to address the problems of the people.

“That is why this Hackathon is very important because it’s our people solving our problems and leveraging global solutions to finding our answers to our own problems.

“And that is why at the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), which Access Bank is promoting, we want to have more innovators and innovations that will help in transforming our society for the better,” he said.

The Access Bank boss stated that to see this Hackathon come to light shows the commitment of the Lagos State Government to not only the project, but to the actualization of a smart Lagos, where electricity is accessible and affordable.

He pledged Access Bank’s continued support to the Lagos State Government’s efforts at building a smart state.

Mr. Olalere Odusote, convener of the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon and the State’s Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, said that there were very many talented people who applied for the Hackathon, noting that there were 65 submissions in all, out of which its panel of experts reduced the number to the five finalists that participated at the finals of the Hackathon.

“We had the hardware yesterday and we were very impressed with what we saw. We are expecting no less from the software side. We are going to get engaged, look at what they have to offer and then integrate it into our future.

“We are trying to solve our own problems by ourselves. This is just the start; it is not a one-off project. At the end of the event, we will take the product to our prototype mode; we will take the product to a commercial development process,” he said.

The Commissioner said they were not just doing the Hackathon for the sake of it but are looking for solutions that will contribute to making Lagos a 21st Century economy.

He thanked Access Bank for its generosity, support and partnership with the State government. He also thanked other partners for joining in the journey of making Lagos a great state.

Five contenders each emerged from both categories of the competition, and the two winners are expected to share the prize money of seven million naira.

Finalists were shortlisted after a transparent, rigorous and competitive process.

The Hackathon attracted 274 registrations or entries, 127 of which bid in hardware category, while 147 competed in software group.

The five software finalists for the Hackathon on Thursday were Magnitronics, Vectorians, Zeena Platform, Chosen Soft Tech and Gideon. 

It would be recall that during the launch of the programme on July 30th, 2020, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu noted that the Smart Metre Hackathon Initiative marked a significant milestone in the implementation of the State Government’s plan towards improving access to electricity.

He said it aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the United Nations, targeted at achieving universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.

The Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020 was convened by the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, curated by Eko Innovation Centre, and sponsored by Access Bank Plc, Egbin Power, and Ikeja Electric Distribution Company.

Other sponsors include Mojec International, Eko Electric Distribution Company, MOMAS Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company, ElSewedy Electric, Royal Power & Energy, Venture Garden Group, InfraCredit, and Axxela Limited.

They were supported by the Lagos State Office of Innovation and Technology, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), Oracle, IBM, General Electric, Business Day and Accelerate TV.

The Grand Finale of the Hackathon holds on Friday, September 18, 2020 at Eko Innovation Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.


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