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Inuwa Tasks Tech Innovators, Youths on Technological Disruption

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The Nigeria’s tech innovators have been charged to employ the use of technology as a source of inspiration in their quest to disrupt businesses as the three capabilities they needed to achieve the feats are now readily available.

Kashifu Inuwa, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), handed down this advice today in Lagos where he delivered a keynote speech at the 19th edition of ICTEL Expo organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the theme “Tech Disruption: Transforming Industries with Innovation”.

He said, the combination of ubiquitous data, unlimited connectivity and the massive processing power could give tech innovators the leverage to disrupt anything they can think of.

While making the distinction between innovation and invention, the NITDA’s boss explained that innovation is a process from ideation to impact but invention is all about research that which may not necessarily being commercialised.

He said, “You spend money for research. You spend money to come up with new things while innovation makes money. So innovation is invention and commercialisation.”

“As start-ups, you need to be able to pitch your product for a new company; for people to use it to solve problems. That’s why we have you, the startups; we have you with ideas. You need to come and disrupt. You need to use technology as a source of inspiration to disrupt businesses,” he reiterated.

While citing the success story of the Flutterwave, a FinTech company that now has a bigger capital base than some commercial banks; Inuwa maintained that the company saw a big gap and decided to fill with using technological solutions that connect business-to-business transactions.

“So, you too can see the power of technology; is not happening only in the developed western countries. Even in Nigeria, you can start your business, use technology to grow it.”

He stated that, “so looking at all these and how you can transform it, what we normally encourage startup to do is focus about the solution. It is not about the money. If you have solutions, the money will come. So don’t focus about the money. Don’t follow the money. Follow the solutions. The money will follow you. So, look at what kind of problem you want to solve.”

While encouraging them to think big as they think about the solution they want to provide, the Director General affirmed that with the mindset they have to solve local problem, it can be expanded to solve a global issues.

“That is the difference between just normal Small and Medium Enterprises and you. We call you startups because you use the power of technology to build your business and become Innovation-Driven Enterprises, (IDEs).

“This implies that you start small; how can you solve a local problem but with the mindset of taking it to the global stage. Technology can help you to do that. You don’t need to have a physical space to do that.

Inuwa disclosed that the startups could leverage on the several initiatives of the government to attain greater height in their exploits.

“We have so many initiatives that can help you to achieve that. When the government formulated the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, (NDEPS) at NITDA, we crafted our Strategic Roadmap Action Plan, (SRAP) with seven strategic pillars that could spur technological innovation development in Nigeria.

He advised the participants to get ready for future of work as there is going to be talent deficits because of the aging population the western world is witnessing which Nigeria can fill because of the abundant talent and youthful population the country is blessed with, adding that “we have abundant talent; it’s just for us to harness that talent.“

According to Inuwa, the Federal Government through NITDA is embarking on several initiatives to bridge the skill gap in the country noting that the government has conducted a skill gap analysis to determine the kind of competencies required to build the country. It is also working on the Digital Literacy Framework which would soon be signed, and Talent Hunt Strategy.

The event is attended by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Williams Allo, The Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, some members of the National Communications Commission management board and the executive of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI),


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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. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Subscribers Decry Poor Service Delivery by Telcos, Accuse NCC of Playing the Ostrich

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Telecommunications subscribers have waxed angrily at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for pretending that everything was fine while subscribers grapple with unreliable internet and call services.

Subscribers Decry Poor Service Delivery by Telcos, Accuse NCC of Playing the Ostrich

They want the regulator could do more by compelling Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), also known as telcos, to improve their service.

Some of the major complaints are connection failures, poor data service, fluctuating network, data roll over challenges, illegal credit deductions and uncompleted calls.

Experts said that the drop in service quality has been attributed to the fact that three out of the four mobile network operators failed to meet the industry standards for network service.

In separate calls; Association of Telephone, CableTv, and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS-Nigeria) and National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOM) urged the NCC to live up to its responsibility of protecting subscribers.

Sina Bilesanmi, president, ATCIS-Nigeria, accused the NCC of pretending that everything was fine while subscribers groaned.

He said that ATCIS-Nigeria members have not only complained about drop calls and inability to originate calls, but they are also unable to access their airtime balance after recharging.

Bilesanmi argued that now that service quality has nosedived, there was no ground for telcos to justify any demand for a tariff increase.

He said that “ I have been inundated with complaints about low service quality from my members.

“ It is worrisome and the NCC is pretending that all is well. This low service quality is coming at a time when the MNOs are asking for a hike in tariff and our members were beginning to show understanding because, quite frankly, the tariff has remained the same for over a decade.

“The operators should tell us if they have any challenges.”

Elsewhere, Deolu Ogunbanjo, national president, NATCOM, said the service rendered by the MNOs had become  ‘’so bad’ that subscribers now lament openly.

He added that the telcos, on their part,   complained about their constraints to expand capacity.”

He said: “It(service delivery) has been so bad. It was one of the issues raised last Thursday but the telcos complained about their constraint to expand capacity and the need to raise tariff.”

Ogunbanjo said he supported the demand for an increase in tariff because it was overdue.

He, however, said an increase must be marginal in order not to asphyxiate the industry.

 

 


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Meta Disagrees with $220m Fine, Sets for Appeal

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Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp and Facebook, is preparing to appeal a decision by Nigerian regulators to impose a $220 million fine against it for alleged market power abuse and privacy violations.

Meta Disagrees with $220m Fine, Sets for Appeal

The company said that “We disagree with this decision as well as the fine and we are appealing the decision,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not specify where and when the appeal will be lodged.

It will be recalled that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) published the fine last week, capping a three-year investigation.

The inquiry focused on data sharing practices on WhatsApp, the most widely used messaging service in Nigeria.

The commission claimed it found evidence of “multiple and repeated, as well as continuing infringements” of the country’s data protection and competition laws and imposed the fine as a final resolution.

Meta was ordered to “immediately reinstate the rights of Nigerian users to self-determine and control” data sharing, and stop sharing WhatsApp users’ information “with other Facebook companies and third parties” without users’ active consent.

It was also required to pay $35,000 to cover the cost of the commission’s investigation, in addition to the $220 million penalty. Both amounts are to be paid within 60 days from July 18.

Nigeria began looking into WhatsApp, which has an estimated 51 million users in the country, in May 2021.

That was four months after the app updated its global privacy policy on messaging between individuals and businesses, and how users’ data may be shared with Facebook.

Meta began responding to concerns detailed in Nigeria’s report around March this year, pledging to cooperate towards “reaching an amicable resolution,” according to the commission.

A “remedy package” proposed by Meta and sent mid-April proved unsatisfactory to the commission, however, its report said.

It is not clear what this package is — an email for comment to the commission was not responded to. Nigeria still expects Meta to implement it and publish it on WhatsApp’s website within two weeks, in addition to the fines.

Beyond complying with its laws, Nigeria’s aim with the penalties is to get Meta to “cease the exploitation of consumers and their market abuse,” the commission said.

 

 


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WATRA Says Digital Economy Contributes $30Bn Annually to W/African GDP

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The West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) has said that the digital economy currently contributes around $30 billion annually to the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

WATRA Says Digital Economy Contributes $30Bn Annually to W/African GDP

WATRA also called for lower cost of internet access to enhance the digital economy for the respective countries in the region.

Mr Aliyu Aboki, executive secretary, WATRA, who disclosed this during a virtual press conference at the weekend also said the West African telecommunications market is now valued at $63.17 billion with over 400 million mobile subscribers.

However, Aboki said WATRS is working on initiatives to facilitate infrastructure sharing among West African countries to lower the cost of internet for telecom subscribers across the region.

According to him, infrastructure such as gateways, and data centres are facilities that could be shared by countries in the region.

Admitting that the cost of internet across West African countries is still high, Aboki said a lower cost of internet access would enhance the digital economy for the respective countries in the region and increase the consumption of data by the citizens, which in turn generate more revenue for the telecom operators.

“We are exploring regional initiatives to share infrastructure and reduce cost. For example, we have infrastructures like gateways, data center servers, and so on. These are infrastructures that can be shared and used by different countries without necessarily having everyone building the same infrastructure.

“So, we are collectively looking at these rich regional initiatives that enable us to share infrastructure to bring down the cost of Internet ultimately,” the WATRA scribe said.

 

 


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