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National Central Switch Goes Live in November

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The National Central Switch (NCS) established by the Central Bank of Nigeria to solve the problem of interconnectivity and interoperability among card switching platforms in the country is expected to become operational by November this year, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek can now reveal.
When NCS becomes fully operational a card holder will be able to use both Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and Point of Sale terminal at merchant location in spite of the scheme or processing company that issued the card.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that four switching and processing companies have already connected their switches for the full commencement of operation by NCS.
The switches include; InterSwitch, Chams Switch, ValuCard and eTranzact. Others that are yet to meet technological upgrade required for connection to NCS are 3Line Limited and Card Technologies, but are currently carrying  out system upgrade such as development of interface that is necessary for effective connection to the Central Switch.
It was gathered that the role of a Central Switch became necessary in view of lack of interoperability among different card switching platforms especially on the Point of Sale terminal.
 Presently, there is interconnectivity in the use of ATM because, the application driving the transaction resides in the bank, that is the front end processor, but, this is different at PoS where the application resides in the terminal itself thereby requiring the card scheme or card processing company to open up their system by carrying out a development work, that requires them building a gateway or interface with other operators for it to accept cards issued by other operators.
NCS has conducted unit and end-to-end test on the system of the four switching companies and have certified them before connecting them to National Central Switch, but is awaiting the full upgrade of the platforms to EMV before conducting the EMV test on them.
It would be recalled that Central of Bank of Nigeria deadline on the switching platforms to connect to NCS has elapsed prompting some of them writing to Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) operators to allow them some time to enable them perfect their system for eventual connection to the Central Switch.

 


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Inlaks CEO, Femi Adeoti, Wins Top CEOs & Next Bulls Award

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Femi Adeoti, managing director and CEO, Inlaks, Africa’s foremost Information Technology and Infrastructure solutions provider in West Africa, has been announced as a winner of the 2020 Top CEOs & Next Bulls Awards organised by Business Day Media Limited in collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The MD/CEO whilst receiving the award dedicated it to the management and staff of Inlaks for their relentless service even during these trying times.

He also appreciated the board of the organization that drove changes within the organisation particularly in the pandemic which led to the company being recognized and the customers who have continued to support Inlaks while being ambassadors of all Inlaks’ solutions.

The CEO and Next Bulls awards, the sixth in its series, recognizes the CEOs of listed companies creating competitive shareholder value through sound strategy, disciplined execution and world class governance. In addition, it celebrates chief executives of quoted companies that have demonstrated the most impressive gains in both share price and service delivery.

Themed “Advancing Against all Odds,” this year’s award particularly recognised businesses that have been thriving in spite of the global harsh economic realities.

According to the organisers of the award, the indomitable Next Bulls are the CEOs raging forward at a time when many businesses are choosing to retreat, thus acknowledging Adeoti’s good leadership in the area of corporate governance, innovation and service delivery.

The CEOs award celebrates the CEOs of successful, privately-owned indigenous companies built by Nigerians, led by Nigerians and poised to lead their categories on the continent.

Established in 1982, Inlaks is Africa’s leading Information Technology systems integrator with presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Cameroon. As solutions provider, it offers core banking, agency banking, fraud management, cyber-security, cloud, data centre, enterprise risk management and software solutions.

Part of the criteria for selecting winners of this year’s awards held virtually on September 5, are stock price appreciation, Profit After Tax (PAT) growth, an unblemished regulatory compliance record, and positive marketplace reputation among customers in the period under review.

Winners are also selected based on significant interest shown by active and informed investors on the Nigerian Stock Exchange to invest in their stock should their boards ever decide to take them public.


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Transcorp Hotels Hard Hit by COVID-19, Mulls Restructuring

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The novel COVID-19 pandemic has caused the African Hotel and Tourism industry to lose over $50bn in revenue.

Transcorp Hotels Hard Hit by COVID-19, Mulls Restructuring

Dupe Olusola, MD, Transcorp Hotels

Amidst this, Transcorp Hotels Plc has suffered unprecedented losses and is looking to restructure the business strategy of its hotels and optimize its operations.

The management of Transcorp Hotels Plc has announced that it will be taking steps to ensure business continuity in the wake of the losses recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To this end, the hotelier is diversifying its portfolio and reducing its workforce as part of its cost management initiatives.

Mrs Dupe Olusola, managing director, Transcorp Hotels Plc, disclosed this during a Press Conference on Thursday saying “The impact of COVID-19 on the business is like nothing the company has ever witnessed. The hotel and hospitality industry in Nigeria has never faced a crisis that brought travel to a standstill, including the Ebola Virus Outbreak of 2014 and the recession of 2015. The slow pick up of international travel, restriction on large gatherings, the switch to virtual meetings and fear of the virus, has drastically reduced demand for our hotels and occupancy levels to its lowest of less than 5%.”

According to her “Despite the losses incurred we have fulfilled our obligations to staff. At the inception of the pandemic, we maintained a 100% salary payment to our over 900 employees in March and April. We also activated various cost-saving initiatives such as renegotiations of service contracts and restructuring of our loans. We suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment as well as reducing our energy consumption and maintenance costs. Despite undertaking these, it has become apparent that more fundamental changes need to be made for the business to survive. To this end, our workforce headcount will be reduced by at least 40%, and our reward system will be optimized.”

Mrs Olusola further disclosed that negotiations are ongoing to ensure that our colleagues who will be impacted are adequately compensated given the peculiarities of the economy at this time.

A health insurance package to reduce their health burden costs, especially during the pandemic, amongst other payment settlements, will be activated.

Equally, all Executives of Transcorp Hilton Abuja have now taken a pay cut.

As one of the leading hospitality brands in Africa, Transcorp Hotels Plc has stated its commitment to uphold service standards and ensure that all guests continue to experience the warmth and hospitality that it is known for.


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LCCI Announces Date for Virtual Edition of ICTEL Expo

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the premier Chamber of Commerce and a leading voice in the organised private sector (OPS) in Nigeria, is set to host the 6th edition of the Information, Communication, Technology and Telecommunications (ICTEL) Expo.

The tech event is scheduled to take place virtually on Tuesday 22ndand Wednesday 23rd September at 9am daily. To this end, interested participants are urged to register online via www.ictelexpo.com.ng

Muda Yusuf, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said: “The ICTEL EXPO is positioned to be a veritable platform for both operators and regulators to network, showcase and explore with technology with the view to repositioning the ICT sector of the economy.”

Yusuf added “that this year’s edition promises to be the best ever in the series with the theme “Exploring Opportunities in the Digital Economy” This is intended to create a platform to discuss strategies for economic diversification and business sustainability with particular focus on ICT, especially with the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. There would also be virtual conferences and exhibition during the two-day event.

Yusuf also emphasized that relevant agencies and departments of Government will be exhibiting and attending to other exhibitors and participants.

He stated that the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies that have confirmed attendance to participate are Ministry of Communications; Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) amongst others.

In addition, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar GarbaDanbatta, are expected as Special Guests.

Mrs. Funke Opeke, managing director, MainOne Cable and chairman, Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan, is expected to deliver the Keynote Address on the first day.

While Mr. Victor Eburajolo, deputy group managing director, Kewalram Group, will be delivering the Keynote Address on the second day at the virtual Expo.

Yusuf stated that “so far, so good the excitement that the virtual Expo has generated has been phenomenal and we are indeed happy about it.”


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