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How Digital Technology Has Redefined the MSME Sector

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

The MSME sector is the backbone of Nigeria’s economy. Studies by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) show that approximately 96% of Nigerian businesses are MSMEs, compared to 53% in the US and 65% in Europe. Of this number, about 99.87% of MSMEs in Nigeria are micro-enterprises. With a total number of about 17.4 million, SMEs contribute about half (48%) of the entire GDP in Nigeria.

Thanks to digital technology, it is worth noting that ecommerce platforms like Jumia have so far played a key role in boosting and accelerating MSMEs in the last 7 years. A significant number of MSMEs are riding on the Jumia platform to reach millions of customers in Nigeria and across Africa. Today, these MSMEs are raking in more revenue compared to the past.

The fact is, there is a link between technology adoption and the MSME sector growth with some stating that MSMEs who were early adopters of the technology have increased their annual revenue 15% faster than their competitors. This is what the vendors on Jumia are currently enjoying. This article explores the five leading ways in which technology will encourage growth in the MSME sector.

Creating a digital business

Thinking through and executing a digital business model requires a fundamental shift in strategy because it is completely different from offline business. In this case, you either bring out a new offering or take the existing offering to market in newer ways. This means being able to explore technologies such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to make the customer experience seamless. The option for digital technology in MSMEs is numerous. It only requires very strong business understanding to be able to analyze what the ecosystem looks like, have a very strong understanding of the customer and their insatiable expectations to be able to devise an appropriate strategy to create the digital business that meets their needs.

Social impact

You can’t afford to operate your business as if it exists in a vacuum any longer. The rise of social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram mean your customers are simply a click away and now users can connect without regard to the geographical obstacle, financial background, or even social status.  Indeed, in the past, there were very limited avenues for customers to raise their queries but now as a business, you are likely to incur an unfavourable rant or a bad review on Facebook. This is why as a business, you should not compromise on standards because what goes on on the Internet stays on the Internet. This means that if you earn a bad reputation, it’s going to stick with you. It is for this reason that businesses large and small worry about their digital footprint and a good number of organisations have experts who are on the lookout for potential “bad press” and are out making the rounds trying to be proactive.

Increased interest in and need for security

Businesses of all sizes need to be increasingly aware of the need for enhanced security. The rise in cyber-crime has also led to an increase in interest in protecting data, training employees and incorporating IT into every aspect of the business. At the very least, an organization needs to be committed to protecting data with backups, integrating patches and updates regularly and training all employees to spot the signs of trouble.

Connectivity

Digital technology has also increased the ease with which we can all stay in touch, interact and engage. Whether it’s having your coworkers and employees available via text/video chat at a moment’s notice, or being able to send targeted promotional email blasts to pre-qualified customers when they’re shopping at nearby businesses, the rise of mobile technology has blended almost seamlessly with communication software to create a web of real-time information.

Improved access to information and data

Digital Technology has made it easier than ever to research and find data without leaving the office. Enhanced access to data gives your business the ability to offer your customer service team not only a way to connect with customers but also a way to instantly access complete customer history. In addition to this, you can provide a better user experience for anyone who interacts with your brand.

Irrespective of how big or small a business enterprise is, application of digital technology offers numerous benefits including those that facilitate the smooth running of business operations. These benefits are sometimes tangible while other times; they are intangible. The bottom line is that business applications play a significant role in increasing profitability for businesses while generating the results that customers need.


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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 Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

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Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.

NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.

“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.

“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.

He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.

Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.

Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.

According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.

“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.

Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.

 


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NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.

 

The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.

 

A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.

 

This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.

 

Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.

 

Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.

 

They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.

 

Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.

 

According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.

 

However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”

 

The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.

 

Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.

 


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NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

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Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.

NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.

Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.

The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.

They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception

“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said

The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.

It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.

Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.

“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.

 

 


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