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NITDA Clarifies Regulatory Infractions Allegation By ALTON

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has cleared the air on the allegations made by Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) that it engages on regulatory infractions.

 

Emmanuel Edet Esq, head, Legal Services & Board Matters, National Information Technology Development Agency, made the clarifications in a statement released on Wednesday in Abuja.

 

According to the statement, “The attention of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been drawn to a publication ascribed to the President of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) published in the media regarding certain regulations and guidelines issued by the Agency.

 

For avoidance of doubt, NITDA has enjoyed a cordial and cooperative relationship with all sector regulators and we have consistently engaged them on all regulations and guidelines issued by the Agency.  In this vein, NITDA has significantly socialized the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019 and the Public Internet Access Regulation 2019 as referenced in the publication. The Agency is delighted with the support of several institutions in complying and promoting these regulations.

 

For clarity, no single regulator in Nigeria has a converged mandate on ICT in the country. Various Agencies have different roles to play in developing and regulating ICT in Nigeria as dictated by their mandates and enabling laws. Furthermore, no single entity is regulated by only one regulator in Nigeria, regulators in the country work in a cooperative and complementary capacity, resolving mandate overlaps in a cooperative manner.  ALTON, as with various industry groups, are expected to comply with various professional, sector, geographical and international regulators when their operations so demand. This understanding has been shared between NITDA and other regulators in Nigeria.

 

It may be recalled that NITDA issued five regulatory instruments on the 25th January, 2019, two of which were referenced in the publication. We wish to draw the attention of the public to the following:

 

  • The Framework and Guidelines for Public Internet Access(PIA) 2019 was issued to ensure the safe use of free or subsidized publicly accessible internet service in Nigeria. NITDA has been inundated by concerned stakeholders to check the regime of publicly accessible internet service considering its national security dimensions.

 

The Framework and Guidelines aims to create and promote a mutually beneficial and friendly environment for both public internet access providers and users in Nigeria. The Regulation is directed at Public Internet Access Providers (PIAPs). PIAPs include any business or other entity that provide internet access without charge or offers a partially subsidized internet access to members of the public. The concerns which NITDA aims to address through this regulatory instrument are:

 

  • Cyber security and cyber crime;
  • Personal data breaches; and
  • Crime detection, prevention and investigation.

 

NITDA is enabled to address these concerns by virtue of Section 6(c) and (m) of the NITDA Act which mandates the Agency to provide Guidelines for  electronic data interchange in Nigeria and to accelerate internet and intranet penetration in Nigeria and promote sound internet Governance.

 

  • The Directives for Registration of Data Centre Facilities in Nigeria was issued pursuant to Section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007 which empowers the Agency to:

 

  • Create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria and all matters related thereto…;and
  • Create incentives to promote the use of information technology in all spheres of life in Nigeria including the development of guidelines for setting up of information technology systems and knowledge parks.

 

Data Centre operations are principally information technology systems which support the entire IT value-chain. Reference to Executive Orders 003(2017) and 005(2018) mainly cites the added Presidential Directives on local content promotion. The fundamental mandate arises from the NITDA Act which has been cited above. Furthermore, the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT (2019)explicitly provides:

 

Data and Information Management Companies shall:

  1. Register their products, capabilities and organization on the NITDA portal. The service will be provided free of charge and devoid of bureaucracy and will ensure NITDA awareness of available resources.
  2. Host government data locally within the country and shall not for any reason host any government data outside the country without an express approval from NITDA and the SGF.

 

The Nigerian Content Guidelines is a salutary example of regulatory cooperation between NITDA and ICT stakeholders to promote Local Content in Nigeria. The above provisionsanticipate the role of NITDA in the regulation and promotion of Data Centers in Nigeria. The Agency is not averse to any Regulator demanding compliance as it relates to the operation of Data Centers that touches on the Regulator’s mandate. Interestingly, Data Center operators have openly commended NITDAfor the improved enforcement of regulations and policies which has led to significant increase in Data Centre patronage in the last three years.

 

  • The report further purports to take issues with the classification of Internet Protocol address, IMEI number, IMSI number etc. as personal data under the Regulation. The report assumes this amounted to usurpation of the NCC’s regulatory mandate. This is a patent misreading of regulatory frameworks. In the absence of a National Assembly-enacted legislation on Data Protection, Section 6 (c) of the NITDA Act 2007 specifically empowers the Agencyto:

“Develop guidelines for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as an alternative to paper-based methods in government, commerce, education, the private and public sectors, labour, and other fields, where the use of electronic communication may improve the exchange of data and information.”

 

Furthermore, NITDA was established to implement the National IT Policy of 2000. Article 5(xix) of the Policy provides…Government will establish a National Information Technology Development Agency to implement the IT Policy, regulate, monitor, evaluate and verify progress on an ongoing basis…

 

Also, Strategy 13.3(iii) of the Policy further provides …Ensure the protection of individual and collective privacy, security, and confidentiality of information…

 

While it is global practice for sector regulators to give sector specific directives and regulations on how certain issues are to be addressed, this does not restrict the right of Government Agencies to issue regulations which cover the field as is the case in this matter. NITDA is in active collaboration with all sector regulators to ensure full compliance with the NDPR. The aggregate consensus of most stakeholders is that the NDPR is a laudable regulation which would further improve the Nigerian business environment and help attract foreign direct investment.

 

Finally, we advise that it is not in the strategic interest of interest groups to attempt to set Government Agencies against each other just because of its short-term benefits. NITDA is clear about its mandate as provided bythe enabling law and will not be overawed by powerful interest groups to implement its mandate which is to the overall benefit of all Nigerians.It should also be noted that violation of the Regulatory Instruments of NITDA is a criminal offence and punishable with fine, imprisonment or both.”


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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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FG to Boost Artificial Intelligence

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Federal government on Tuesday announced that it has developed initiatives for the adoption of Artificial Intelligence technology in Nigeria.

FG to Boost Artificial Intelligence

 

The establishment of a Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Nigeria (CFAIR) is also expected soon.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said that AI applications enable innovative solutions, improve risk assessment, better planning, and faster knowledge-sharing.

Abdullahi Usman Gambo, director of IT Infrastructure Solution, NITDA, spoke at a workshop in commemoration of International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

He noted that AI would open up opportunities for access to information and also help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) in the 2030 Agenda.

Gambo said: “Artificial Intelligence is poised to revolutionize the way we go about our daily lives – from governance to business, legislation to medicine to defence, etc. We can all agree that AI is humanity’s new frontier.

“We have developed initiatives for adoption of emerging technologies such as AI, strengthen cybersecurity, digital skills for digitally excluded citizens while enhancing the regulatory and market environment to increase access to ICTs, and promote seamless access to information.

“We believe AI and associated emerging technologies will completely enhance the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of information gathering during the exchange of data or the ways of communication,” he said.

Delivering his paper, Yushau Shuaib, publisher of PRNigeria, described access to information as the right of the citizens to accurate, transparent, and timely facts and figures.

The former National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman stated that governments at all levels have obligations to communicate with people, while the public has the right to know and criticize authorities through constructive engagement.

The media executive, however, appealed to Nigerians not to use social media platforms for fake news dissemination.

“The merits of new media on affordability, accessibility and instant delivery are occasionally marred by the fact that social media is sometimes used to spread fake news”, he said.

Shuaib called for collaboration of stakeholders in ensuring appropriate legislation through public awareness campaigns in order to improve access to universal information.


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Samsung Unveils Technologically Advanced 2020 Consumer Products

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Samsung Electronics Nigeria has unveiled its 2020 consumer products range. The launch which held in Victoria Island, Lagos showcased the latest in its revolutionary and innovative QLED and Crystal UHD Television Series  along with Wind Free Air Conditioners, Side by Side Refrigerators and Drum Washing Machines.

Keeping with its resolve to utilize its transformative ideas and technologies to shape the future and inspire the whole world, Samsung has once again demonstrated its determination to continuously redefine the living space and entertainment of its customers.

According to Mr. Caden Chiyeon Yu, Managing Director, Samsung Electronics Nigeria, “QLED uses exceptional and revolutionary technology which offers an unparalleled visual and auditory adventure from the comfort of your living room. QLED series is available in 4K or 8K and from 58″ to 98”, and was designed with options to fit any space and budget”. For Crystal UHD Television, Mr. Yu said, with cutting-edge Crystal Display, the new Crystal UHD TV will bring high-resolution content to life in a whole new way, delivering a viewing experience like never before in a mainstream UHD TV.

Also showcased at the launch were the new Windfree Air Conditioner, Drum Washing Machines and Side by Side refrigerators. The Windfree Air Conditioner is designed specially with the latest technology to provide coolness in quick time while ensuring that users don’t experience any chills through out its use. It also has an in-built digital inverter which reduces energy consumption by 73 percent. .

The newly introduced drum washing machine of 2020 from Samsung is very efficient and is built with eco bubble technolgy which allows it to provide cleaning of very dirty garments or clothes without the use of water.  Futhermore, the new Side by Side Refrigetor was built with Spacemax technology which has enabled  Samsung to offer more spacious interior without increasing the external dimentions or compromising energy efficiency.

Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Oluwaremilekun Adesola-Ogunsan, Head, Consumer Electronics, Samsung Nigeria stated that “Samsung understands the economic diffulties currently being experienced in the country and has consistently produced pocket friendly premium consumer products. We are very consistent in our approach as we understand that our customers like the good things of life and we have provided that without compromising our standards”. “So I can say boldy that there is a Samsung for everybody regardless of your income stream” She added.

In 2019, the Samsung consumer range of products received universal praise for its innovative quality and design and numerous pioneering features. This year Samsung has added even more beneficial features which its customers will appreciate in great deal.

 


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CWG Plc Empowers Small Businesses in Nigeria with SME Solution

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Pan-African Information and Communications Technology Company, CWG Plc has said the essence of its Enterprise Resource Planning Solution (SMERP) that runs on the cloud is to empower small and medium enterprises in Nigeria and offer them the required tools to manage their entire business.

Mr. Dolapo Orogbemi, Product Manager for SMERP, who disclosed this recently to the media, noted that with SMEs contributing massively to Nigeria’s economy and creating both direct and indirect jobs, SMERP was designed intentionally to help SMEs thrive.

“Since inception, it has been the number one goal for us here at CWG because we have always identified the potential for SMEs once they are provided with the right support.

Thus, SMERP was designed to make available enabling tools for all SMEs across Africa at a relatively affordable price and to also make their business operations lean where they can save more resources to increase profitability,” he said.

Dolapo explained that in support of SMEs, SMERP has provided an effective ERP tailored to the SME market, providing services such as Inventory Management, E-commerce platform, Accounting, Point of Sale and Customer Relationship Management tool.

He argued that one of the major reasons SMEs don’t survive beyond the early stage of their business is due to inadequate funding to scale the business and this has become a default gap in the SME sector.

But with the CWG’s SMERP solution, SMEs can take proper records of their day-to-day business transactions to present to financial institutions as proof of profitability and project business growth for them.

According to him, SMERP’s competitive edge is based on value to the SMEs where they can have access to a complete ERP solution at an affordable price, stressing that the solution enables each SME with special requirements to execute their business needs.

For more information on SMERP kindly visit www.smerp.ng to start a 14-days free trial.


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