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FG to Establish Shared Facilities in All States to Boost MSMEs

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The federal government said it planned to establish at least one Shared Facility for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in every state of the federation.

 

The Special Adviser to the President on MSMEs, Mr. Tola Adekunle-Johnson, disclosed this at a media briefing to announce activities for the 5th National MSME Awards, slated for June 27 to commemorate the 2022 World MSME Day.

The portal for applications opened last week and will close on June 12.

However, Johnson said five shared facilities are currently in operation  adding that three additional facilities would be commissioned within the next six weeks in Kebbi, Kaduna and Ebonyi.

He added that the plan of the current administration is to commission a total of eight Shared Facilities by the end of 2022.

Essentially, the shared facilities scheme is a fall-out of the activities of the National MSME Clinics which was introduced to help improve engagements between government and MSMEs in the country.

Over 1,500 micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs, are to benefit directly from the Nigerian government’s shared facility scheme.

The project will provide MSMEs with affordable shared access to essential amenities such as power, high quality operating equipment, broadband connectivity as government works to reduce the cost of operation of these small businesses across the country.

Two of the facilities have been established in Bauchi and Oyo state respectively to cater for the fashion industry, production of shea-butter, soap making and ground-oil milling.

The presidential aide added that over 600,000 SMEs across the country have taken part in the MSME Clinics stressed that the initiative has had tremendous impact on small businesses.

He said in line with agenda of the Buhari administration, the office of the vice president had over the years supported the growth of small businesses across the country by empowering and rewarding excellence in the MSME space in Nigeria.

One of such MSME targeted interventions is the National MSME Clinics birthed in 2017.

He said maiden edition of the clinics held in Aba, Abia State in 2017 adding that since then, the clinics have held in 30 States with the vice president attending 28 of them.

According to Johnson, “This initiative has undoubtedly been impactful, specifically with the number of businesses that have directly benefited. Out of the Clinics emerged initiatives such as the MSME One-Stop Shop, the Shared Facility Initiative and the National MSMEs Awards.

“The National MSME Awards was conceived in 2018 to reward excellence, hard work and innovation in the MSME space. The initiative has impacted thousands directly and indirectly, inspiring prospective business owners to strive for excellence.”

According to him, 10 outstanding MSMEs in different categories will receive 10 cars and other prizes at the 2022 edition scheduled to hold next month.

He said, “It is open to every person and there are no limitations. The only thing is that it has to be indigenous and the local content must be satisfied. Because you’re not going to take something from outside and couple it and tell us you’re the owner.

“We are making sure that this is our own and we can beat our chest and say this is truly Nigerian and that it reaches a level that it is competitive with any other product.

“If you have this kind of product and you are a Nigerian doing this kind of beautiful thing, the clinic is ready to book you for an award.

The categories for this year’s awards include, MSME Award of Excellence in Agriculture, MSME Award of Excellence in Beauty, Wellness and Cosmetics, MSME Award of Excellence in Creative Arts

MSME Award of Excellence in Fashion and Style  and MSME Award of Excellence in Leather Works among others.

 


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CBN Resumes Forex Sales to BDCs with $20,000 Ceiling to Each Licensee

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) resumed dollar sales to Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators on Thursday July 18, with a planned disbursement of $20,000 to each licensee.

The apex bank said the forex injection is expected to curb forex distortions, boost liquidity in the market and stabilise the naira.

In a circular to all BDC operators and the public, the CBN said it “observed the continued distortions in the retail end of the market, which is feeding into the parallel market and further widening the exchange rate premium.”

The circular was signed by Aliyu Mahdi for the bank’s Acting Director of Trade and Exchange Department.

The apex bank said that eligible BDCs would be allowed to purchase a maximum of $20,000 at a fixed rate of N1,450 to the dollar. The rate is pegged to the lower band of the previous day’s trading rate on the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange (NAFEX) window.

BDCs are permitted to sell dollars to eligible end-users at a maximum margin of 1.5 percent above the purchase rate from the CBN.

To ensure compliance, BDCs are required to make Naira payments into designated CBN accounts and submit necessary documentation for disbursement at specified branches in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, and Awka in Anambra State.

The CBN attributed the decision to the widening gap between the official and parallel market exchange rates, which it blamed on distortions in the retail end of the market. The bank expressed hope that the move would also help to reduce pressure on the naira.

Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) President Aminu Gwadabe said the new dollar injections in the market will induce liquidity and stabilise the naira.

He added that the move has already impacted positively on the Naira, which appreciated from N1,640/$ to N1,570 /$ at the parallel market.


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Henry Naiho Bags Outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and Youth Empowerment Personality of the Year Award

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An IT egghead / expert who has contributed immensely to the development of the sector in Nigeria and beyond has emerged winner of outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and Youth Empowerment personality of the year award at this year’s Africa’s Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership Award.

Henry Nwapali Ndidi Naiho emerged winner of the highly coveted African Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership award of Outstanding ICT Solutions, Innovation and youth Empowerment Personality of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding contributions, mentorship and innovative support and contributions to the ICT space in Africa and Nigeria by African foremost and leading ICT paper.

The event held on Saturday 25th May at Four Points by Sheraton was themed: “Artificial Intelligence: The Good, The Complex and The Anticipated”.

While receiving the award Naiho said: “l dedicates this award to my family and the teeming youths that sees me as their role model and mentor. ‘’Your believe in me, is your calls and shout outs that fire me up the more. He said excitedly.”

Henry Naiho is an experienced technology business leader with strong IT and Telecommunications technical knowledge, UX/UI and entrepreneurial mindset,; he has over 26years cognate experience in ICT, with  high expertise not limited these areas: Project, Programme & Portfolio Management, Customer and User Operations Management, ICT, Transmission, BSS, Software Development etc., Network Planning, Implementation, Operations & Maintenance, Stakeholder Engagement and Management, Team Build, Performance and Management, Business Processes, Analysis & Analytics.

He had an enviable work stint so far, here are some select positions with organizations, he was the Senior Project Manager (IT), Sasol Plant) South Africa, Group Lead, Technology Transformation & Operations, Userlytics Group, South Africa, Regional Operations Manager  (South Africa & Africa Operations): Stratosat Datacom Pty Ltd, South Africa, Quality Management (Projects & Operations).

He was also at Zain Mobile Limited, West Africa (AKA Airtel Africa) as the Regional Manager, Transmission Network implementation & Operations. Regional Transmission Engineer, (Implementation, Operations & Maintenance): Globacom Limited, Nigeria. Naiho’s diverse academic background in physics, Tech-management and vendor-specific certifications, has equipped him with uncommon expertise to provide cutting-edge solutions to clients across various sectors.

His entrepreneurial spirit, driven by a desire to provide solutions to human needs, empower the youths which he said is fire in his bone, has led him to represent top brands like Ericsson, Huawei, Motorola, and Microsoft.

Through his brand, Naiho offers a range of services, including business processes, human capital development, business research, technology harnessing, and corporate sustainability solutions. He has continuously updated his skills to ensure his brand remains relevant, meeting and exceeding client needs for best satisfaction and experience. Naiho’s achievements are a testament to his dedication and expertise. He has implemented numerous solutions using technology to streamline business processes, improve efficiencies, and effectiveness.

He attributes his success to his ability to be resilient, tunnel vision, flexible, and adaptable, qualities he believes are essential for thriving in the industry.

According to him, “As a Fibre optics engineer, I have published research papers on Fibre optics resilient and solutions for survivability.

“ I have also obtained 5G certifications, demonstrating my commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest technologies.”

He added that his expertise in process improvements, operations management, and technology has made him a sought-after professional in his field.

His Counsel for Youths seeking a career in ICT: Naiho’s advice to youths seeking a career in this field is straightforward: “Pursue your passion, invest in continuous learning, and seek ways for continuous improvements.

“The industry offers opportunities for growth and development, and with dedication and hard work, you can build a successful career like mine.”

As a role model, Naiho’s career trajectory serves as an inspiration to youths, demonstrating that with hard work and determination, they can achieve their goals and build a successful career in the IT, Telecommunications, Quality, and Operations Management industry.

Speaking at a recent press conference, Naiho emphasized that the adoption of innovative technological solutions is no longer optional but essential for businesses seeking to enhance efficiency and maintain a competitive edge.

“Technology offers a plethora of tools designed to optimize business operations, eliminate bottlenecks, and improve overall efficiency,” said Naiho. “Organizations that fail to integrate these tools into their processes risk falling behind their more tech-savvy competitors.”

Naiho highlighted several key areas where technology can significantly impact business processes, including automation, data analytics, and cloud computing.

Automation, he noted, can take over repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more strategic activities. “By automating routine tasks, businesses can reduce human error, save time, and increase productivity,” he explained.

Data analytics is another crucial area where technology can drive substantial improvements. “Businesses today generate vast amounts of data. Properly analyzing this data can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, operational inefficiencies, and market trends,” Naiho pointed out.

He added that using advanced analytics tools can help businesses make more informed decisions and tailor their strategies to better meet customer needs and expectations.

Naiho also emphasized the importance of cloud computing in streamlining business processes. “Cloud-based solutions offer flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency. They enable businesses to access their data and applications from anywhere, facilitating better collaboration and continuity,” he said.

To maximize the benefits of these technologies, Naiho urged businesses to be adaptable and open to change.

“The key to leveraging technology effectively is to remain flexible and continuously seek ways to improve. This requires a culture that embraces change and encourages innovation,” he stated.

Also, Naiho called on regulatory bodies and the government to support the technological advancement of businesses by creating conducive policies and infrastructure.

“The government and regulators play a crucial role in fostering an environment that supports technological adoption. By engaging with industry stakeholders and aligning policies with technological advancements, they can help businesses thrive,” he remarked.

Naiho’s insights shed light on the imperative for businesses to leverage technology to streamline their operations.

His call to action serves as a timely reminder that embracing technological innovation is critical for achieving operational excellence and long-term success.

With a PhD (in view), Fellow of some prestigious institutions, Post graduate in Business Administration, Strategy, Management and Programme Management, and a B.Sc in Physics garnished with industry specific certifications in SAP, TOGAF Standard 9.2 complete, 5G Technology, Architecture and Protocols, 5G Planning and Design, 5G Open RAN and Private Networks, Design Thinking, User Research, User Experience Management, User Accessibility, Product Management, AWS Solutions Architect , ISO QMS 9001:2015, ISO OHAS 45001: 2018 and lots of other vendor specific (Ericsson, Huawei, Harris etc.).


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Zoho Partners with She Code Africa to Empower and Upskill Women Through Specialised Training on Zoho Creator

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Zoho, a global technology company, is partnering with She Code Africa (SCA), a leading non-profit organisation dedicated to empowering and upskilling African women in tech. With this partnership, Zoho will conduct Train the Trainer sessions for SCA Academy trainers to introduce them to Zoho Creator, the company’s low-code app development platform.

Maryblessing Okolie, Community Manager, She Code Africa (SCA).

These trainers will subsequently train more students, associated with SCA, to build powerful applications using low-code to solve actual business problems.

The upskilling sessions will be provided as part of the ‘Young Creators Program’ (YCP) run by Zoho Creator. As part of the program, Zoho will host 30 female trainers from the SCA Academy and will conduct a three-day in-depth training session about building enterprise-grade applications with low-code technology.

The training will take place at the Zoho office in Lagos, Nigeria. The trainers will also receive free access to the Creator platform for one year, along with training material.

“At Zoho, we believe in supporting local communities by upskilling and hiring local talent, empowering local businesses with our technology, and promoting responsible and sustainable development.

“Our growth strategy, known as transnational localism, embodies these values. In continuation of this commitment to support progress at the grassroots, we are partnering with She Code Africa to equip Nigerian students with critical tech skills,” said Kehinde Ogundare, Country Head, Zoho Nigeria.

“The ‘Young Creators Program’ aims to bridge the technical skill gap and support talent-building for our youth who will be the next generation of leaders and professionals.

“We are glad to partner with Zoho to help our trainers learn the latest advancements in low-code technology, and then pass on the knowledge to our other students,” said Maryblessing Okolie, Community Manager.

Launched globally in 2022, the Young Creators Program is a training program aimed at equipping future business leaders with advanced digital skills and fostering innovation in technology. The program brings value by providing access to Zoho Creator’s powerful platform to help participants build custom applications in a simple and seamless manner without extensive programming knowledge.

Beyond skill development, the program boosts confidence, fosters personal growth, and opens doors to further opportunities in the technology industry. The program has trained more than 2000+ students on Zoho Creator globally, enabling participants to earn program completion certificates and exciting prizes.


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