Emmanuel Onyeje is responsible for Microsoft’s business in Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
He has 12 years of experience working in the country’s technology sector.
Onyeje believes that Microsoft’s strong technology and advanced roadmap help Nigerian businesses realize their potential, local organizations and consumers can benefit from accessible and locally-relevant technologies.
He spoke to emeka okafor
Microsoft Losses to Pirated Software
It is difficult to say exactly how much Microsoft is loosing to pirated software because we are looking at it holistically as an entire problem of software developers. According to the last study conducted last year by IDC/BSA, the country was loosing an average of N10 billion for the Nigerian IT economy.
The study also showed 82 per cent rate for all pirated software. The study also suggested that if piracy is reduced from 82 per cent to 72 per cent that Nigeria would get $137 million in additional revenue and that 2275 more jobs would be created. If you look at it closely, you will observe that Nigeria is loosing more than 20,000 jobs in the industry.
Nigeria as Focus in War against Piracy
Of course Nigeria is our main focus, it is a country where a new frontier in IT is developing every time and that is why we have taken four steps to fight piracy. We have a prevention strategy and what we do is to work with government agencies like the National Copyright Commission (NCC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and we support them in their activities. Every time they need us to supply them with information we easily oblige them to help them do their job because piracy is a crime. Then, two, we are educating all the IT based companies in Nigeria – hardware and software companies.
We are training them on the issue of piracy and on how to maximize their own benefits by selling not only Microsoft software but other software as well. What we are trying to do is to have a general awareness campaign for example in the media talking about the risks involved in using pirated software. For instance, somebody called to complain that he had a black screen and I tell you that may have happened as a result of virus emanating from using pirated software. Pirated software are always cheaper and tend to offer a good bargain if you are talking about pricing. Two, we are targeting some of them with specific messages about what they can gain if they obey the law. It is pertinent for them to also know that Microsoft software can be used to help their businesses and allow them to make more money. We are also trying to make our solutions more affordable to our customers. We do general advertisement trying to create awareness and working with government on high level to see if there will be a programme whereby the government can create awareness on the dangers of piracy. It is not only software that is being adulterated in the country. There is also property theft, NAFDAC is also fighting adulteration, so also the movie industry and the music industry. We hope to have a kind of partnership with the government.
Encouraging Local Software Developers
We have two things we arte doing. We have dedicated resource centre with our developer manager who works with university students who are interested in working in software development. We also have this pact with the Nigeria Computer Society. We have the Microsoft academy based programme that is coming up soon. These are where we are trying to promote the local software industry and we are trying to showcase the best of today’s solutions to them. We are also trying to get them certified for their own good. It is also important to note that Microsoft has a programme meant to objectively address the needs of the people.
Fight against Cybercrime
We are actually doing a lot to fight cybercrime. We have a dedicated team that is supporting us in Nigeria. Recently we held a programme called Internet Safety Security and Privacy Initiative for Nigeria (ISSPN). The programme is targeted at the youth.
So, what we are trying to do is to tell the young ones that it is not a good idea to go into this. It somehow constraints the growth of the economy because now that the banks are going for online banking solutions , nobody would trust them because of cybercrime that is going on here and that will have constraint on our growth to have access to the world through the internet. There are challenges but I think a lot of them have bought the idea. I think 72 of them from 11 universities across the country have volunteered to become ambassadors to take this message to their own peers. They run seminars at different times in their schools to tell their friends about the other opportunities that are available online; this is what we can do with the internet instead of cybercrime. By this alot more people will not be involved in cybercrime. Apart from that, we signed an agreement with Yahoo and African Development Bank to fight internet lottery scam. In addition to that we are working with CAPDAN to clean up the system.
Price of Microsoft Software
It is an issue that is coming up every time and for us to be very clear, Microsoft has been doing a lot to make our software more affordable. On the other side, people that are making use of our software are using them to make money and we find it very strange that a chief executive officer can buy a brand new jeep at N40 million and could not buy software for him to do his business. So it is all about perception. Our software give value for many businesses. We find out that people don’t buy the right solution for their problem, which is why they find it costly. Ignorance here is a big problem. People need to make the right decision for their software need.
Those who are living in the villages like in Bayelsa, Ogun State, communities around them do not have access to the computer. Digital village is like a community resource centre where people can come and learn the basic computer knowledge that they need. For example the one in the north called Iya Abubarka Centre for Development in Borno State. What they focus on is to train women in purdah on how to use software like power point, Microsoft word and all that. In the riverine areas we concentrate on reaching those farmers in their creeks and make sure that people who ordinarily wouldn’t have been reached are reached. The programme is in partnership with federal and state governments. The federal government builds then place and the state governments equip and we supply the software while in some other states they would build the place while the federal government supplies the equipment. What we do is to supply the software and hand over. In addition we give them curriculum and all that Digital villages are left for the states to manage. Some states are managing their own very well while some others are not but we are still on discussion with partners , governors to ensure that things get back on track.
Value of Microsoft Business in Nigeria
We have created a very vibrant software ecosystem which has resulted in more value to businesses, more employment. By providing innovative technology, we have positioned Nigeria as a strong competitor in the world today.
By providing the right software at the right prices for different categories of users, we have democratized technology, giving more companies access to sophisticated solutions to make their organisations more productive and profitable.
Corporate Social Responsibility
We have made huge contributions to the communities in which we operate all over the world. In Nigeria, we are working with various stakeholder groups including NGOs to create access for the underserved in our communities, from the fisherman in the creeks to the women in seclusion.
Working with Schoolnet, the Nigerian Union of Teachers and other groups, we develop IT capacity among the teachers to ensure that our youth get the right education to compete in today’s knowledge economy.
We are also very involved in the area of youth development, working with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Leap Africa to train youth on employability skills.
CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns
By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.
The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.
Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.
Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.
On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.
NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System
Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.
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.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
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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