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NITDA Plans to Collapse Physical Barriers in Trade via Digital Technology

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National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy is working to collapse the physical barriers in the context of trade for economic growth regardless of location through digital technology.

NITDA Plans to Collapse Physical Barriers in Trade via Digital Technology

Kashifu Inuwa, director general NITDA

Kashifu Inuwa, director general NITDA, represented by Engr Salisu Kaka, acting director, Digital Economy Development Department (DED), stated this while delivering a goodwill message at the Maiden ‘Nigeria – Cote D’Ivoire Business Roundtable and Exhibition’ at the Margins of the 64th ECOWAS Summit in Abuja.

The Business Roundtable and Exhibition was a Public Private sector partnership co-hosted by the Nigerian Association of Chambers, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), on behalf of the organised private sector and the federal government of Nigeria, coordinated by the Economic, Trade and Investment Department of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The aim of the event was to  propel a deeper private sector engagement as a remedy between the two West African countries. Nigeria hosted the maiden edition of the Roundtable and Exhibition on Saturday 9th December 2023 while Cote D’ Ivoire will host the second edition at the margins of the African cup of Nation (AFCON) competition in Cote D’ Ivoire come January 2024.

According to DG NITDA, “For Africa and Nigeria in particular to leap frog and develop, our economy has  to leverage technology.”

Inuwa, while stating the opportunities in technology for economic growth said, “It is only technology that can give you the opportunity within the comfort of your zone to advertise, sell, and promote wherever you can think of. It can be a product, it can be a service or an idea”

He encouraged MSMEs, who are the drivers of the economy not only in Nigeria but globally to, embrace technology as that is the easiest way to increase their contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This, he said, “is captured in the 5-pillar Strategic Agenda of the Honourable Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani. They are in pillars; #2, which is Policy. As an effective policy provides regulatory clarity and necessary incentives for an environment where businesses and innovators are empowered to grow. Pillar #3, which is Infrastructure; as building stronger digital infrastructure is beyond connecting people but centres on economic empowerment and creating opportunities for inclusion. And pillar #4, which is the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Capital; as it provides a roadmap for Nigeria to harness the potential of these 3 pillars as catalysts for the transformation of Nigeria’s digital economy. It is the driving force behind the creation of an environment that encourages innovation, supports entrepreneurship, and allures the required capital to deliver on our ambitions.”

Speaking earlier during his welcome address, Ambassador Akinremi Bolaji, director, Economic, Trade and Investment Department of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “the event would create a good platform for Nigeria to take assessment of her readiness, preparation, inter-Agency, and public private sector collaboration.”

Stating further, “our intention is to expand the presence of our private sector in Cote D’ Ivoire and the West African sub region.”

He said the event  was conceived few weeks ago as a result of a meeting held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November between Ambassador  Bolaji and the Ambassador of Cote D’ Ivoire, H. E Kalilou Taore as a result of the observation of the challenges in deepening economic relations between the two countries despite the effort to deepen relations. He mentioned that both countries do well politically but continues to nose dive in terms of trade.

Some organisations at the event were, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA); National Action Committee of AFCFTA; and many more.


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E-Business

e-Governance Reform Saves Edo State N60Bn

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Donatus Ojiefoh, Edo State Commissioner of Mines and Energy, has said Mr Godwin Obaseki, state governor, e-governance in the state civil service sector has saved the sum of N60 billion, an amount that would have been expended in the procurement of office stationery.

Ojiefoh in an interview with newsmen in Benin City also disclosed that the state government reforms in the electricity and the solid mineral sectors have repositioned the state as one of the most businesses friendly in Nigeria.

He noted that sustaining the state government reforms and achievements, voters in the forthcoming September 21st governorship election should not make the mistake of voting for a candidate that lacks understanding in investment and development.

He said harnessing maximally the abundant mineral resources, the state government has registered the Edo State Mining and Investment Company and has obtained 40 mining licenses adding that government reforms put in place has continued to yield positive results.

“If Obaseki was the governor before now Edo state would have been one of the richest states in the federation. It is crystal clear that the next governor that is coming must be able to match Obaseki’s shoes, somebody who understands the investment and development status of the state at the moment.

“Edo state is ten years ahead of other states apart from Lagos. Edo has put over 20 million files into the e-governance structure since the state was created and is the only state operating 100 per cent e-governance thereby the delay and bureaucracy in governance is over.

“Obaseki has saved over N60 billion for Edo State just on office stationery alone. Whatever paper you see in my office are external papers or files. It takes a man with a potent brain that understands saving system to achieve that and we are the only state in Nigeria that has completely moved from analogue to digital.”


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Scammers Target Facebook Business Accounts using Meta’s Infrastructure and Branding

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Kaspersky has discovered a new phishing scheme targeting Facebook business accounts, using legitimate Facebook infrastructure to send deceptive emails with threats of account suspension.

Cybercriminals have devised a method to use authentic Facebook functions to send fake suspension warnings to business accounts. These emails, originating from Facebook, contain alarming messages such as “24 Hours Left to Request Review. See Why”.

Clicking the email link leads to a genuine Facebook page displaying a similar warning. After that, a user is redirected to a phishing site disguised with Meta branding, reducing the time to resolve the issue from 24 to 12 hours. Finally, the phishing site initially asks for innocuous information, followed by a request for the account’s email, or phone number and password.

The attackers utilise compromised Facebook accounts to send these notifications. They change the account name to a threatening message and the profile picture to an exclamation mark, after which they create posts mentioning the targeted business accounts.

And because delivery is via the actual Facebook infrastructure, these notifications are guaranteed to reach their intended recipients.

“Even notifications that appear legitimate and come from a trusted source such as Facebook can be deceptive. It’s crucial to carefully examine the links you are prompted to follow, especially when it involves entering data or making payments. This can make a significant difference in protecting your business accounts from phishing attacks,” comments Andrey Kovtun, a security expert at Kaspersky.

 


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Lagos State Government, Interswitch Group Sign MoU Smart Health Information Platform

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The Lagos State Government has officially signed a concession agreement with one of Africa’s leading integrated technology enablers, Interswitch, through its Healthtech subsidiary, Interswitch eClat, to develop and manage the Lagos Smart Health Information Platform (LAGSHIP).

Nigeria’s healthcare industry remains grossly underfunded with several other challenges, lacking a truly national/integrated framework for healthcare service delivery due to fragmentation among health stakeholders.

A recent report from Knight Frank estimates Nigeria would require about $82 billion of investment in health-care assets to reach the global average. Healthcare institutions continue to struggle with daily operations due to a myriad of constraints and process inefficiencies.

The foregoing is the backdrop against which this latest public-private partnership milestone championed by the Lagos State Government is being launched with a view to positioning Lagos, Nigeria’s largest economic hub as a model for sub-nationals in strategic healthcare delivery interventions.

The Executive Governor of Lagos State, H.E. Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu highlighted the significance of the Lagos State Smart Health Information Platform Project as one unprecedented in Nigeria till date.

The Governor, in his remarks asserted that “The signing of the Concession Agreement between the Lagos State Government and Interswitch for the implementation of the Smart Health Information Platform (SHIP) is a ground-breaking development which signifies the start of a comprehensive technological overhaul in Lagos State’s health sector, aimed at enhancing residents’ access to healthcare services.”

Governor Sanwoolu further remarked that “I believe that this platform represents a significant and innovative approach to utilizing technology for accessing health information. It is poised to deliver numerous benefits and eliminate payment barriers, thereby encouraging citizens to actively engage with the process.”

Capitalizing on over 2 decades of experience and strategic expertise digitizing transactions and aggregating technology platforms across Africa, by virtue of this concession, Interswitch will support the State Government in securely leveraging data harnessed from electronic medical records deployed across all hospitals (public and private) and allied locations within the industry value chain, to create enhanced experiences for all stakeholders, from administrators to medical personnel, patients, as well as for better planning and policy-making, ultimately.

The strategic objective is to address gaps within the healthcare delivery system by creating an ecosystem that facilitates deeper connections between stakeholders and essentially addressing fragmentation by connecting patients to doctors, practices to public offices and patients to their medical data, thereby solving the operational problems of hospitals and healthcare providers through the robust over-arching technology infrastructure that LAGOS-SHIP represents.

Commenting after the signing ceremony, which was jointly signed by the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Akin Abayomi and the Special Adviser to The Governor on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), Mrs. Bukola Odoe, and witnessed by the Executive Governor and selected members of the Lagos State Executive Council at the State House, Marina, Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, remarked:

“22 years ago, we set out with a clear vision to solve social problems in Nigeria, starting by digitizing the use of cash, making it available to Nigerians just-in-time. Today, despite the incremental efforts of Interswitch and other players over the years, digital payments are estimated to be still less than 20% of total transactions in the economy.

This realization suggests that there is tremendous value, financial and otherwise, locked up in sectors and areas where government is a key player, particularly in the aspects of healthcare, transportation, and other basic social services.

This vision we had from the outset underpinned our acquisition of eClat Healthcare 5 years ago, and initiatives such as Lagos-SHIP are unfolding strategic interventions along that transformational roadmap.

We are highly delighted that after a rigorous selection process, the Lagos State Government has deemed it fit to partner with us at the Interswitch Group on this epoch-making journey to digitize the healthcare system, uniting disparate elements into one holistic platform that creates value and enhances the experience of all stakeholders, just like we’ve done in the sphere of financial services, leveraging technology.”

Also speaking at the signing ceremony, Managing Director for Interswitch eClat, Interswitch’s Healthtech Venture, Dr. Wallace Ogufere opined that the Lagos State Government’s pioneering initiative in the form of LAGOS-SHIP is significant in terms of advancing the outlook for Healthcare Management and Administration in a frontier-market such as Nigeria, and moving closer to what obtains in developed economies.

In his words “The go-live of the Lagos Smart Health Information Platform will significantly close many identified gaps in electronic medical records management, essentially addressing long-standing constraints including process inefficiencies, limited transparency and inadequacy of necessary tools and supplies, among other challenges.”

This partnership between the Lagos State Government and Interswitch represents a unique model for public-private partnership in the healthcare delivery space, and one which is expected to be a veritable reference point for national and sub-national governments in Africa going forward.


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