Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has called on financial institutions in Nigeria to increase lending access for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
He made the call at a Webinar organised by a Financial Technology Association of Nigeria with the theme: “COVID-19: Enabling Speedy Business and Economic Recovery Through Regulations.”
Abdullahi observed that traditional banks’ lending processes have long been a barrier to assessing finance for businesses in Nigeria, noting that this was adversely affecting the SMEs operations.
He said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted SMEs around the world, Nigeria inclusive. Our interventions are to help lead the tech startups from crisis to recovery as well as support them to navigate today’s challenging business landscape.”
Reiterating the promise of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to make lives better for Nigerians, Abdullahi revealed that immediately the government pronounced the lockdown, NITDA constituted a 10-man committee named Tech4Covid.
The objectives include identification of innovative solutions to address the pandemic; provision of enabling policies and incentives to cushion the impact; and building of massive digital skills to reskill the region to leverage technology in different sectors.
NITDA DG further recalled that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Ibrahim Pantami, directed all parastatals under the supervision of the ministry to set up an Innovation Research Fund for the startups.
Abdullahi listed government policies formulated to assist the startups as: National Outsourcing Strategic Policy, Nigeria Data Protection Regulation, Reviewing of Framework and Guideline for the Use of Digital Platform by Federal Public Institutions, and the National Cyber Security Policy
Expert Blames Fundamental Flaw in IP for Cyberattacks
Dr. Adewale Obadare, co-founder, Digital Encode, has attributed activities of cyber-criminals on the super-highway to fundamental flaws in the internet protocol.
He explained that the internet is structured in a Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet protocol (TCP/IP) which is the protocol that is powering the internet.
“Unfortunately that protocol is not designed for security because internet was designed for communications but now we are using internet for a lot of things including sensitive transactions. But because of the fundamental problem of lack of security which is an afterthought for internet, cyber criminals who are aware of this basic flaw of internet are exploring that vulnerability that exists to attack.”
Obadare spoke on the calamities and tragedy that came with Covid-19, said: “What we need to understand is that with the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic, there is massive usage of internet technology. A lot of people that were not using the internet before started using it. This means that there is an increase in the usage of internet activities and so everything has become electronic.
“Looking at the dangers, we have to look at it from three perspectives namely; personal security which has to do with the end user, business security and national security.
“As a result of lockdown, a lot of individuals are working from home so there was a shift in focus for hackers to end users because they are not security conscious and their devices are vulnerable.
“From statistics there were more attacks on individual devices and government infrastructure than corporate devices during Covid-19”.
He explained further that any device can be digitally evaded if there are issues with four factors which include architecture, design, implementation and operation.
“Most of the times there is always issues with any of these four factors. It is either your architecture is bad or you have issue with your design or you have issue with the way you have implemented your technology or how you operate the device, which build inherent vulnerability within our systems and hackers take advantage of issues like these and brake into systems and cause havoc”.
Elsewhere Dr Kenneth Geers, senior fellow of the Atlantic Council and a NATO Cyber Centre ambassador has warned that organisations and critical infrastructure across the world are set to experience an increasing number of cyber- attacks, perpetrated by well-funded rogue nation states and attackers looking to disrupt operations, make money or commit industrial espionage.
He said the Coronavirus pandemic is providing cyber spies and criminals with new opportunities to gain a foothold on target computer networks via phishing and other forms of social engineering.
“We must do a better job of educating our employees and citizens about the dynamics and dangers of social engineering.
Sundiata Post Media Unveils Dealboku, eCommerce Platform
Sundiata Post Media Limited, a multimedia news platform, has launched Dealboku, its e-commerce platform.
In a statement, Max Amuchie, founder/CEO of Sundiata Post Media, said Dealboku is an idea whose “time has come”.
Amuchie said Dealboku is different from other conventional online shops where goods are sold at shelf prices, as its e-commerce platform is an online deals marketplace where merchants are made to sell same products and offer same services at a discounted price.
“We have built a robust platform that is unique in its approach to e-commerce. Both buyers and sellers are assured of excellent customer care and quality products and services at discounted prices,” he said.
According to him, “with the establishment of Dealboku, Sundiata Post has made history as the first media platform in Nigeria to go into the full e-commerce business”.
In her remarks, Hannah Atomode, Dealboku’s project consultant, said the goal of the platform is to help customers get good discounted deals to their doorsteps.
“The team has been working very hard to build a beautiful and user-friendly website. This is a platform that comprises various products and services from fashion, automobile, furniture, foods, beauty, food, Spa and wellness, hotels, online training etc,” she said.
“The payment system is not cumbersome, it is so simple and easy to use.”
Atomode added that the e-commerce platform offers three payment options, which are card payment, wallet or bank transfer.
AtaraPay Redefines e-commerce Space
AtaraPay, an online escrow service has reiterated its commitment toward redefining and enhancing cash on delivery service in Nigeria in a way that promotes trust, transparency and protects the interest of both parties.
Yemi Adebiyi, Executive Director of TrustPay Technologies Limited, made this known in a statement in Lagos, where he said the emergence of e-commerce in Nigeria has changed the way Nigerians buy and sell goods.
He said that although bias and skepticism against online shopping persist, over time more consumers have begun to embrace the concept of purchasing items online and getting them delivered at their doorstep.
He said: “The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has also made it imperative for sellers to diversify their sales channel to include an online, omnichannel strategy.”
He noted that, however, over time increased cases of internet fraud, frequent internet payment transaction failures only served to worsen the perception of customers paying online without physically inspecting the goods.
Adebiyi pointed out that as a workaround, cash-on-delivery options quickly became a popular choice with customers who preferred to double-check items in hand before paying in cash. This served as an approach to address the trust deficit and guarantee quality assurance.
He said that the introduction of escrow service by African start-ups such as AtaraPay, Paylock, Truzo has come in handy in addressing the issue of trust between buyers and sellers in a way that promotes transparency and protects the interest of both parties.
Adebiyi explained that AtaraPay’s business relationship with Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc enables it to provide a service that can be trusted and reliable enough to take away the monetary bottlenecks and resolve every crisis during transactions.
“This is a safe way to strike an equilibrium between customer and merchant credibility while eliminating fraud in the process,” he added.
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