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NITDA, SMEDAN to Institutionalize SMEs in Nigeria

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The National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA and the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have agreed to institutionalise the activities of the Small and Medium Enterprises, (SMEs) in the country.

The proposed agreement was revealed at a meeting between Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, the NITDA’s Director General,  and his SMEDAN counterpart, Mr Olawale Fasanya. The meeting was held at NITDA’s Corporate Headquarters, Abuja,

According to NITDA’s boss, institutionalising the SME would serve as a catalyst for creating wealth and prosperity, adding that, “We have between 60-90 per cent of our businesses under SMEs, but operating informally, how can we formalise them so that even the government can benefit by collecting taxes and have a structure in place to capture the GDP correctly, he queried.

Inuwa noted that most of the Startups the Agency deals with are SMEs who are also trying to solve a real life problem.

He said, “We see Startups as our babies, while for you anybody trying to start any business you see them as your babies. We have startups solving problems in agric, commerce, education, and logistics and so on.”

Inuwa added that the world is moving to smart manufacturing whereby you can design anything on your system and print it using 3D printer.

“We have Digital Fabrication Lab in our Center (the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics NCAIR) where you can design all these and manufacture them or prototype them and do mass production.”

He also announced that plans are underway to have facilities everywhere as the goal is for every Nigerian to have access to these kinds of facilities.

Enumerating some of the initiatives which the Agency is undertaking  and the collaboration is into with the big techs to include NITDA Learning Management System Online Academy, the Director General  assured SMEDAN that their SMEs will be on boarded into some of the programs.

“We are also looking beyond SMEs today; we have what we call IDEs  (Innovation Driven Enterprises) which is a process where you start with a mindset that you are solving the immediate problem but the bigger picture is to go global and Information Technology is making it possible for you to reach anywhere in the world.”

Citing the recent research conducted by the Lagos Business School on the booming nature of the Gig economy, the Director General said that as at last year, there were over 2 million Nigerians earning a living through the Gig economy who receive training and work from anywhere using IT, like those doing Bolt and online digital marketing.

Describing the roles of the two agencies as common, the Inuwa said they both exist to develop and help Nigerians create wealth through the use of IT.

“IT is pervasive, anywhere you think of today you need IT to enable it. Our lives revolve around technology,” he noted.

“This kind of collaboration is what can help us have structure to even protect the Gig economy as well”, he concluded.

Earlier in his remark, Mr Fasanya said that they were in the Agency to intimate NITDA of their readiness to further enter into other collaborative areas that will be more impactful to the society.

The SMEDAN’s Director General revealed that they have identified about 70 youths in all the 36 states of the Federation who were trained on different skills, particularly on how to market their products digitally.

While disclosing that his organisation wants their SMEs to  take advantage of the digital space, Mr Fasanya said that would give them required knowledge on  e-learning platforms, e- marketing and so on.


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Court Dismisses Base Stations Lawsuit Against ATC, MTN

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ATC Nigeria, a subsidiary of American Tower Corporation, and MTN Nigeria scored a major victory in court last week over constructing or operating base transceiver stations “within close proximity” to stations owned by IHS Towers Nigeria.

The lawsuit against the two had been filed by non-profit organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, in November 2023.

Additionally, HEDA also filed a contempt of court case against ATC Nigeria’s CEO, Errol Ambler-Smith, seeking his arrest, which HEDA later withdrew.

ATC Nigeria announced that on Friday, June 21, 2024, the court struck out HEDA’s suit against ATC Nigeria and MTN Nigeria on the grounds that it was speculative and failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action.

American Tower said it has “always been and remains committed to upholding” the highest standards of legal compliance and operational integrity in all its activities.

“We are pleased that the court recognised the speculative nature of HEDA’s lawsuit, and we are hopeful that this outcome will send a message to other similar potential speculative lawsuits. We appreciate the support and understanding of all our stakeholders as we continue to invest in, and provide critical infrastructure for, Nigeria’s telecommunications industry,” ATC Nigeria said in a statement.


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Airtel Boosts Sickle Cell Awareness with CrimsonBow Initiative Collaboration

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In commemoration of this year’s World Sickle Cell Day, Airtel Nigeria partnered with the CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative to host a well-attended sickle cell awareness and clinic over the weekend, at Dansol Primary School, Ikeja, Lagos.

The event which aimed at improving sickle cell education and supporting individuals living with sickle cell disease, featured free counselling for sickle cell patients, free medical testing, drug dispensing, and sensitization sessions to educate the public about the sickle cell disease.

Through the partnership, much-needed support and resources were provided to affected individuals while promoting early detection and proper management of the condition.

Commenting on the involvement of Airtel in the program, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Oshinlaja, emphasized Airtel’s dedication to good health as part of the telecommunication company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals.

“We are proud to partner with CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative in this important endeavour, as it reflects our commitment to corporate social responsibility and improving community health outcomes. The goal of this partnership is to provide crucial support to individuals living with sickle cell disease and to help raise awareness about the condition.

“Through this partnership, we strongly hope to make a positive impact on the lives of those affected,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative, Timi Edwin, expressed gratitude to Airtel. In her remarks, “This partnership with Airtel Nigeria allows us to extend our reach and provide essential services to more individuals living with sickle cell disease. We appreciate Airtel Nigeria for their support in making this event possible.”

Airtel Nigeria has continued to reinforce its position as an organization committed to the well-being of the society through various corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Asides initiative partnerships like this to combat the challenges faced by individuals living with sickle cell disease, they continue to make strides under several CSR initiatives, contributing to the overall effort to enhance the general wellness of Nigerians.

 


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Tinubu appoints Tunji Bello as CEO of FCCPC

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President Bola Tinubu has appointed Olatunji Bello as the new Chief Executive Officer/Executive Vice-Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, noted that the appointment is pending confirmation by the Senate.

He said that the President expects that the new Chief Executive Officer of this important agency will ensure the holistic realization of the Commission’s mandate of protecting and promoting the interest and welfare of Nigerian consumers and ensuring the adoption of measures to guarantee the safety and quality of goods and services.

Bello, who is a lawyer, administrator, and renowned journalist, is the former secretary to the Lagos State Government and holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos.

“He studied Law at the same university and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2002,” the statement read.

“Bello began his career in journalism at the Concord Newspapers in 1985 and held the positions of Group Political Editor; Sunday Concord Editor, and Editor, National Concord.

“He is a winner of the US Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship and was appointed the Chairman, Editorial Board of THISDAY Newspapers in 2001.

“He also served as Commissioner for Environment under various administrations in Lagos State.


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