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Pantami Inaugurates Committee to Increase Broadband Penetration by 2025

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Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated a Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC), to accelerate the attainment of the country’s broadband penetration to 70 per cent by 2025.

Pantami Inaugurates Committee to Increase Broadband Penetration by 2025

 Dr Isa Pantami

Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, while inaugurating the committee in Abuja, said the current 40.18 per cent penetration should be raised to improve the contribution of the sector to the nation’s GDP.

“If you look at the contribution of technology to our GDP, what we have achieved in the first quarter of 2020 is unprecedented, the contribution is 14.07 per cent.

“So this is a clear indication that the more there is proper penetration, the more the nation’s GDP will increase.

“Part of the plan is that we are targeting at least 90 per cent of our population in Nigeria to have access to broadband, so we are targeting 70 per cent penetration by 2025,” he said.

The minister said before now, the broadband penetration was 31 per cent but based on the recent report released by the NCC, the broadband penetration had now increased to 40.18 per cent.

According to him, it represents almost 10 per cent penetration in less than a year.

He explained that the new Broadband Plan, 2020-2025, was designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria at a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas.

Pantami said the aim was to ensure effective coverage of at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025 at a price not more than N390:00 per 1GB of data (i.e. two per cent of median income or one per cent of minimum wage).

According to the minister, the plan is being tailored in line with the pledge by President Muhammadu Buhari to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“The plan will accelerate the aspiration of the country, as it leap frogs with the rest of the developed world toward the widespread deployment of 5G technologies, even while it is yet to achieve significant 4G coverage and adoption.

“With the 14.7 per cent contribution to the nation’s GDP, Nigerian government believes that rapid rollout of broadband services will address various socio-economic challenges faced by the country.

“Some of the challenges include: to grow its economy, create jobs, rapidly expand the tax base, and improve digital literacy and educational standards,” he said

He added that the current plan was to ensure the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all state capitals and a point of presence in at least 90 per cent of local government headquarters.

According to him, it also targeted to reach tertiary institutions, major hospitals in each state and 60 per cent of base stations by 2025 at statutory rates of N145 per meter for Right of Way (RoW).

He said that the ministry’s engagement with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum had inspired several state governments to adopt the N145 per meter and a few of these states had waived the fee altogether.

“President Buhari has also directed the security agencies to protect all critical national infrastructure,” he said

On jobs creation, Pantami said that the fibre to the Home Council Europe, a 25 million EUR investment in information and communications technology, including smart grid and broadband, would create or retain 700,000 jobs.

The minister noted that out of the figure 360,000 would be small business jobs.

He said that higher standard of living and socio-economic development had caused the growth of e-health, e-education and e-government, among others.

He, however, mandated the committee to ensure effective monitoring and implementation of the plan.

“You are expected to adopt the Broadband Plan as your working manual; you should become very familiar with the 100-page document.

“I believe that a combination of the knowledge of its content and your subject matter expertise will enable you to provide a catalyst for innovative solutions to the implementation of the Plan.

“I often state that no Policy or Plan can implement itself.

“As such, it is critical to ensure that an adequate level of monitoring and feedback are integrated into your activities,” he said.

In his remarks, Prof Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), thanked the Minister for putting the committee together and urged it to work in synergy with other related agencies.

Mr Ubale Maska, chairman of the Committee, who is also the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, explained that broadband was the centre of any digital economy of a country.

“We are humbled to be members of the implementation committee responsible for steering the National Broadband Plan (NBBP).

“We express our commitment to bring to bear our wealth of experience for the successful implementation of the plan,” he said.

Other dignitaries at the occasion includes Mr Kashifu Inuwa, director general of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, managing director of Galaxy Backbone.


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Pantami Seeks Shift to Skill, not Certificate  to Boost Digital Economy

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Dr Isa Pantami, minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has advocated for shifting of focus from certificate to skills education for the actualisation of Nigeria’s digital economic drive.

Pantami Seeks Shift to Skill, not Certificate  to Boost Digital Economy

Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami

Pantami made the call at the Graduation Lecture of the National Defence Collage Course 28, titled; “Digital Economy and National Development in Nigeria”, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said that digital literacy and skills was one of the pillars outlined for the development of the digital economy of Nigeria in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

The minister added that emphasis on certificate must be reduced in engaging labour force, urging that focus should be shifted to skills if the nation must catch up with development.

He said that many developed and developing countries such as China, United States and Morocco had shifted attention to skills rather than certificate, adding that many of them had established skills centres.

According to him, certificate is important but secondary to skill and that is why we must pay attention to skills in our journey to digital economy.

“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.

“We recently provided a platform, the DigitalNigeria.gov.ng platform, to enable Nigerians receive training in diverse digital skills. Over 36,000 Nigerians have enrolled on the platform since the 2nd of April, 2020.

“We are championing a paradigm change that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.

“The National Defence College is an institution that supports the development of skills and there are many digital techniques that can support the great work that you are doing here,’’ he said.

Pantami stated that the digital economy was a prime catalyst for development, adding that in less than one year, government’s modest efforts had already yielded remarkable results.

According to him, the recent first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s total real GDP.

The minister further disclosed that the national security architecture must key into the digital revolution in tackling the prevailing security challenge using digital technology.

He explained that emerging technologies came with different solutions to security challenges of every nation such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotic technology, drone and many more.

“These are some of the emerging technologies that will go a long way in promoting security of nations. The security officials are in better position to look into and see how to customize them and make use of them.”

Also, , Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, minister of Defence, said the Federal Government had taken steps to adopt, adapt and internalise the digital economy in a functional manner.

Magashi, who was represented by Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, permanent secretary, said it was important that security and defence establishments show more than a cursory interest in the digital economy.

He added that the adaptation of digital economy could result in increased cybercrimes thus undermining national security.

“I wish to commend the Commandant, staff and the entire College community for their collective efforts in pursuing the ideals of the College.

“In particular, I commend you for organising the graduation lecture, which was exciting, educative and would be helpful to the economic and security needs of the Nigerian nation,’’ he said.

Earlier, Rear Adm. Markson Kadiri, commandant of the collage, , said the lecture had become a key component of the training programme of the College and a major highlight of its annual graduation ceremonies.

Kadiri said that a total of 107 participants had successfully completed the course comprising 67 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, seven Senior Police Officers and 15 participants from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Others according to him, include 18 senior military officers from the Armed Forces of friendly nations.

“A large part of the Course was conducted online, after the general lockdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Course was conducted under the theme “Economic Diversification and National Development in Nigeria”. Economic diversification is a broad based strategy designed to cause positive and multi-sectoral economic growth and development,’’ he said.

 


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Top 5 Comedy Channels on YouTube in Nigeria

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A good dose of laughter boosts the immune system scientists agree. And in between the daily hustle, laughter is a good outlet for releasing stress. Nigerian comedians have latched on the cracks in our cultural diversity and day-to-day interactions to create authentic and engaging content that is gaining popularity amongst local audiences. Here are the top five Nigerian comedy channels on YouTube you should check out.

Mark Angel Comedy

Mark Angel Comedy has over six million subscribers and more than a billion views. The channel has delivered undiluted comedy to its audience since 2013, making Emanuella into one of Nigeria’s favourite characters. Emanuella is joined by Chukwuemeka, Denilson Igwe and Success as they get caught up in scenarios that reveal their ridiculousness and wittiness.

Nigeria Comedy Skit

Comedy skits have become a trend. Nigeria Comedy Skit collates skits from Nollywood movies and other Nigerian comedians who share content on the internet. Most of the videos on the channel are from Nollywood comedy stars, Aki and PawPaw but it also features videos from Sirbalo Clinic, Baba de Baba, Aboki 4 Christ and others. With over 150 million views, the videos on this channel are clearly leaving Nigerians laughing.

AY Comedian

AY Comedian is the official YouTube channel of Ayodeji Richard Makun, also known as AY, one of Nigeria’s top comedians. His channel has over 120 million views with more than 600 000 subscribers and features hilarious videos from previous AY shows, AY skits with popular celebrities, AY Crib Sitcom and more. AY is particularly known for the “Who wants to be a Billionaire” skits where Akpos uses warri pidgin language to anchor a parody of the “Who wants to be a millionaire” show.

Official Broda Shaggi

Broda Shggi is referred to as Nigeria’s number one fine boy “agebero”. The “Oya Hit Me” comedian has over 500 000 subscribers and over 90 million views on his YouTube Channel,  Official Broda Shaggi. To get an idea of how funny he is, check out Big Brother Naija’s Mercy Lambo slapping Broda Shaggi, when Broda Shaggi finally kissed DJ Cuppied or if you need to know what Broda Shaggi looks for in a woman. His goofy videos will leave you hooting with laughter. You can also watch musical videos too.

Yawa Skits

Yawa Skits is a comedy series about survival.  The channel has over 300, 000 subscribers and above 30 million views. The videos are based on the Kalistus daily struggle to earn a living by all means. Check out The Impersonator, The Accidental Drug Dealer and Bus Runz for a good laugh.


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4 Ways to Ensure Your Business Software Provider is Doing All it Can to Protect Your Data

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By Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa, Zoho Corporation

In the past few years, privacy breaches around the world have made technology users conscious about the way their data is being used. You only need to look at the growth of privacy-centric products like search engine DuckDuckGo to see how mainstream privacy awareness has become.

But data privacy issues don’t just affect private individuals. They can have a massive impact on businesses, with the average data breach costing in excess of US$3.8-million. Surveillance companies, which rely heavily on showing ads to survive, collect user information even from adjunct properties (such as websites of service providers) without users’ permission. B2B companies frequently use products and services from these surveillance companies, giving them access to their users’ data.

What can you do to ensure that you find a business software provider that doesn’t drag you into this trap?

1. Ensure they don’t allow third-party trackers

Many business software providers use third-party trackers that allow them to study their website visitors. However, the apps they use to track them use that data to sell ads. This is known as adjunct surveillance. With the upcoming macOS Big Sur update, it will be easier for users to know which websites are tracking them.

When it comes to choosing a software solution for your organisation, look for the ones which entirely block third-party companies across all their properties. Another thumb-rule is that vendors who have ad-based revenue model, are dependent on selling your data so it’s best to avoid them, if you are serious about protecting your data.

2. Look for regulatory compliance

While governments around the globe have generally been slow when it comes to enacting protective legislation, they have made up ground in recent years.

In South Africa, for instance the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI) recently came into effect, while the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been so since May 2018.

While being able to demonstrate compliance is by no means a guarantee that your business software provider will protect your data, it shows that they at least have basic privacy and security structure in place.

3. Regular communication around data protection

One of the most powerful tools any organisation has at its disposal when it comes to data protection is user education. The data and security landscape is, after all, evolving constantly and your business software provider needs to be on top of that.

If your provider is educating you on the latest data threats, it’s a powerful demonstration that it cares about you keeping your data secure. Moreover, a provider that empowers its clients in this way is a good indicator that it’s doing everything on its end to protect your data too.

4. It’s honest about its revenue streams

In the business software space, the old saying about cheap being expensive can be further extrapolated to “free can prove really expensive”.

If a service is free, think twice before using it in your organisation (no matter how much money you think it might save). Rather look for providers which at least have some form of paid product. This means they’re much less likely to depend on ad-revenue and therefore expose your data to other parties.

Prioritising privacy

Over the past few years, millions of words have been devoted to talking about how valuable user data is. Because of the value, we have probably swung too far when it comes to surveillance and harvesting.

It’s time to swing in the other direction. You should always own your data and, far from selling it, your business software provider should be doing everything in its power to protect it.


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