Federal government has waded into the trade dispute between MTN Nigeria Communication Plc and Private Telecommunication and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN).
Sen. Chris Ngige, minister of Labour and Employment, made this known during a conciliation meeting between the management of MTN Nigeria and PTECSSAN on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the union had issued a 14-day ultimatum to MTN Nigeria over allegations bordering on unfair labour practices and the union also threatened to embark on strike on Aug. 24, if the issues were not addressed by then.
The union’s demands includes allowing every employee that wishes to join the union to do so without further delay and any form of intimidations and to immediately sign procedural agreement as proposed by the union.
Others are to recruit new employees to ease workload burden, to review emoluments of employees, for MTN to discontinue expert quota, regularisation of employment status of casual workers, among others.
According to Ngige, the telecom industry is a very sensitive industry.
“It is the major mode of communication, especially at such a time of this COVID-19 pandemic, it has become imperative now that we are doing virtual meetings.
“Therefore we are not very enthused when we got a trade dispute form from the MTN Nigeria, who are the employers this time, unlike the former times when it was usually the workers filling trade disputes notes.
“Thus this time, we went to preempt such disputes, because this is a time for digital technology. This a time for us to make sure that our Telecom industry, as part of our overall communication is not destabilised at all.
“We ate doing social distancing. We are doing so many things that required us not to meet so much physically as part if the COVID-19 Protocol.
“It is in that respect that I advise everyone, employers(MTN), employees to calm down for us to address the immediate needs for the company to be afloat, as both parties needs each other to be alive,” he said.
Speaking, Mrs Esther Akinnukawe, chief human resources, MTN Nigeria, commended the minister for the timely intervention on the allegations by the union.
She said that MTN has been very cooperative in the course of its engagements with the representatives of PTECSSAN.
According to her, as a matter of fact the on going negotiation of the Procedural Agreement of the union has also been professional managed in spite of several insistence and untoward attitude of the union.
“MTN consider the union approach and the recent ultimatum as improper because they are mere allegations and the union neither engaged nor discussed the issues in its recent letter with MTN as required under the Trade Dispute Act,” she said.
Akinnukawe also noted that the ultimatum was issued during the pendency of the petition with the Ministry of Labour and Employment and therefore undermining the law.
She therefore pleaded with the minister to prevail on the union to withdraw its 14-day ultimatum with immediate effect.
Mr Opeyemi Tomori, PTECSSAN president, said that series of efforts have been made by the union to ensure that the union does not embark on a strike over unfair labour practices by the organisation.
He however, noted that a lot of letters have been written to the Chief Executive officer of MTN Nigeria on the dispute but with no reply.
“That is why we decided on the 14-day ultimatum to address the issues or we go on strike with effect from midnight on Aug. 24, if MTN fails to meet our demands.
Danbatta Inaugurates Evaluation Committee for 2020 Research Proposals
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman and chief executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has inaugurated a 15-member Evaluation Committee for the assessment of the 2020 Telecommunications based research from Academics in the Nigerian tertiary institutions.
The Committee, chaired by Prof. Mu’azu Bashir, a professor of Computer and Control Engineering and Head of Computer Engineering Department at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was inaugurated at the Commission’s Head Office in Abuja on Wednesday, September 24, 2020.
Speaking during the inauguration, Danbatta said that the initiative speaks to the Commission’s commitment towards encouraging the development of indigenous innovative solutions that impact not only the Telecom industry/ICT sector positively but also the nation as a whole.
“We want to continuously support research projects that can lead to the development of new products and services in the industry as the key enabler of the nation’s digital economy.
“We are all aware of the appreciable contributions of the Nigerian Telecommunication sector to the growth of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) over the years, which peaked at 14.53 per cent in second quarter of 2020,” he said.
Danbatta, stated that the Commission understands that funding Research and Development (R&D) is fundamental to ensuring that the needs of consumers are properly anticipated and met while enabling sustainable economic growth, adding that the Digital Economy-based Research Innovations project underlines the importance of funding R&D.
According to the EVC, for the year 2020, the request for proposals was tailored to providing innovations and solving challenges in five emerging areas of technology.
“These include innovative clean energy technology; 5G deployment in Nigeria; Internet of Things (IoT), low power Wide Area Network (WAN) technology; advanced methods of Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) management and test mechanism as well as monitoring and localisation of drones.
“While emphasising the importance of telecommunication/ICT industry to innovative developments and transformations within the economy, Danbatta tasked members of the Committee to thoroughly evaluate all submissions in order to sieve, identify and select the best from the proposals submitted.
“Members of this Committee have been carefully selected from the Academia, related government institutions and the industry based on their pedigree.
“I have no doubt in my mind that you will carry out the assignment to the highest acceptable standards,” the EVC said.
The Committee is expected to carry out the assignment and submit its report within four (4) weeks from the day of inauguration.
FG Awards Cash Prizes Worth N16.5m to Winners 0f Nigeria @ 60 Challenge
The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, has awarded prizes worth N16.5million to nine Nigerians who emerged winners of the Nigeria @60 Independence Challenge.
It could be recalled that the Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR approved an inclusive National Independence Day Celebration programme with the theme: “Together at 60,” where it called on creative Nigerians to choose brand and come up with elements that will beautify the anniversary.
The Sub-Committee, chaired by Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), minister of Communications and Digital Economy, launched the challenge Portal on Friday, 4th September, 2020, with the aim of providing opportunity for talented, critical thinking and creative individuals or teams to produce the event slogan, photograph, and a poem.
The Jury, made up of Directors from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), evaluated the submissions based on the relevance to the theme, originality, creativity, impact and mode of presentation.
During the evaluation, a total of 3,258 entries were received, out of which 1,931 Slogan, 638 Poetry, and 689 Photography entries were submitted.
While presenting the Awards and Prizes, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy and Chairman of the 60th Independence Celebration Sub-Committee, Dr Pantami said that the competition was meant to create a platform for all Nigerians to participate in the diamond jubilee anniversary.
He said “Federal Government provided this opportunity for Nigerians to choose their brand and harness the power of creative minds to create other elements that will form the brand of the anniversary.
Dr Pantami congratulated the winners and charged those that participated to continue utilising their skills for the betterment of themselves and Nigeria at large, adding that “the nation will be proud of them”.
He said the Diamond Anniversary which is will last till September 30, 2021 is a period for Nigeria to celebrate its unity.
He also commended the jury that worked day and night to ensure fairness during the selection of nine winners from each category of the competition.
Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), while delivering the welcome address, described the process as first of its kind, where citizens are engaged virtually to plan the celebration.
Abdullahi said that COVID-19 pandemic has brought another opportunity for Nigerians to celebrate 60 years anniversary in style.
The Chairman of the Independence Competition Judging Committee, Director, IT Infrastructure Solution, NITDA, Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi said the competition was meant to tap into the creative and innovative potential of the youths.
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi- Esan represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Tope Fashedemi commended the efforts of all participants, describing every Nigerian as a winner.
The outcome of the assessment saw the emergence of the following as second runners up: Sani Ibrahim (Slogan), Samson Mayor Emeka (Photography) and Umoru Patrick Eghiegbai (Poetry); first runners up Yusuf Muhammad Ahmad (Slogan), Leke Adebule and Team (Photography), and Mustapha Dauda Gwary (Poetry). The winners of the challenge are: Nwakuba Ezinne (Slogan), Amao Daniel Oluwadarisimi (Photography) and Kalu Rejoice Chioma (Poetry).
The winners were presented with awards and cash prizes in each category, with the second runners up getting One Million Naira each, first runners up One Million and Five Hundred Thousand Naira each, and the winners, Three Million Naira each, for their creativity and innovative contribution to the Diamond Jubilee Celebration.
The Diamond/Innovation/Change Sub-Committee is made up of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as Chairman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Honourable Minister Education and Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Head of Civil Service of the Federation as members, while DG NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, was later co-opted as member.
Ekeh, Zinox Boss, Says Tech Experience Centre Perfect 60th Anniversary Gift to Nigeria
Leo Stan Ekeh, serial digital entrepreneur has described the Tech Experience Centre, an ambitious technology project that is widely expected to bridge the gap to cutting-edge technology for millions of Nigerians, as the perfect birthday gift to Nigeria as it turns 60.
The revolutionary Tech Experience Centre, the first of its kind in Africa, is set to be formally unveiled on Thursday, October 1st 2020, incidentally the occasion of Nigeria’s 60thIndependence Anniversary.
Equally important, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, is expected to commission the auspicious project located within the high-rise Yudala Heights on 13 Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Also expected to attend the launch are stakeholders from the technology sector, corporate egg-heads and other dignitaries.
The event, which is scheduled for 5pm on Thursday, will be streamed live to millions across the world via digital channels.
Ekeh, who has remained in the forefront of digital evangelisation and promoting knowledge democracy in Nigeria and beyond, has expressed excitement with the birthing of the Tech Experience Centre.
The tech guru affirms that the formal unveiling of the Centre on the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary makes it a fitting present to the country and to all Nigerians.
‘‘Nigeria’s journey as a sovereign independent nation is one that is filled with so many memorable milestones. Although we still face some peculiar challenges, there is much to be proud of as Nigeria clocks 60.
“In the same vein, the launch of the Tech Experience Centre represents a major milestone in Nigeria’s march to technology independence.
‘‘Indeed, the unveiling of this unprecedented project right here in Nigeria is a powerful statement of intent and a positive development that every Nigerian should be proud of.
“It is, in my opinion, the perfect birthday to Nigeria as we celebrate 60 years of our independence,’’ he said.
Ekeh, who had called on the Federal Government to consider declaring October 1st Nigeria’s technology independence day, restated the landmark strides that Nigeria had recorded in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The Zinox helmsman affirmed that the multiple collaborations, increased local participation and access to the latest technologies that would become a right of every Nigerian with the establishment of the Tech Experience Centre is a bold step forward in Nigeria’s march to technological emancipation.
‘‘On a number of occasions, I have reiterated that no country achieves true independence without a level of technological independence.
“The set-up of the Tech Experience Centre is one of such bold investments Nigeria requires to confidently stake a claim for relevance as a technology force to be reckoned with, not only in Africa, but on the global stage.
“The current administration also deserves commendation for its greater emphasis on technology – a critical sector that is being championed professionally by the Honourable Minister, Dr. Pantami.’’
In addition, Ekeh heaped praises on the various tech giants that have partnered with TD Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s technology, lifestyle and solutions distributor, to bring the idea of the Tech Experience Centre to life.
‘‘We must also not fail to recognize and appreciate the global OEMs that have identified with this project.
“Having renowned tech brands such as Cisco, Microsoft, Dell Technologies, HP, Schneider Electric, Zinox, Philips, Samsung, Apple and Bosch, among others, come together under one roof to build local capacity and place the latest technologies at the fingertips of every Nigerian is a huge development that will come with a number of positive multiplier effects for the country,’’ he concluded.
The Tech Experience Centre will officially open its impressive doors to Nigerians on Thursday, October 1st by 5pm.
For the first time, Nigeria will play host to the latest global technologies including those not normally available in Africa, offering all classes of visitors a first-hand experience of new gadgets, solutions and infrastructure that would have previously required a visit abroad, thereby saving corporate organizations, government establishments and individuals money or scarce foreign exchange expended on these trips.
The Centre will house global technology giants under one roof, with the aim of making cutting-edge technology easily accessible to Nigerians and other nationals at entry costs that make sense.
Experts and economic watchers have hailed the expected launch of the centre as a major development that will shore up Nigeria’s relevance in the global technology space, while also boosting the nation’s economy.
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