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Smile Communications Stimulates Free WiFi in Metrotaxi

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Smile Communications Nigeria Limited, the 4G/LTE broadband provider, renowned for superfast and reliable Internet service, has scored another first in the industry activating free WiFi in over 200 Metrotaxis in Lagos. 

The feat is consequent upon the consummation of the partnership between Smile Communications and popular auto service firm Metro-taxi

At the official announcement of the partnership, Mrs. Alero Ladipo, ‎chief marketing officer, Smile Communications Nigeria Limited, described the feat as a ‘partnership’ designed to redefine life style among Metro-taxi passengers.

She said that the partnership was in line with Smile’s philosophy as the broadband provider of choice in Nigeria and will enable the teeming customers of Metrotaxi to fully benefit from the Internet world.

“Smile Communications Nigeria Limited”, she reiterated,” is uniquely famous for its transformative objective of using the best and most innovative technologies to provide its customers with high quality, easy to use and affordable communication services”.

Ladipo affirmed that “a lot of people think about The Internet from utility point of view. We are reinforcing the view that people should remain connected to the internet while on the go. The internet is about a more productive lifestyle. In spite of the strata of the society you belong, you should live a connected life. That is what Smile is advocating”.

According to her, “people are connected in different ways. Initially, in Nigeria, it was about making voice calls on your phone, but now people are connected via internet data making calls through Whatsapp, BBM etc. So, the partnership will intertwine the way we live our daily lives; riding in cars, cabs, buses, everyday. Before you know it, buses will have data and every street would become ‘smart’ ones, always connected. This is just a first step to what will happen in future”.

On why the telecom company chose MetroTaxi among competition, the Smile CMO said “Apart from Smile Communications being the ultimate 4G/LTE Company in Nigeria, we are creatively adding value to our customers’ lifestyle. The purpose of partnering with MetroTaxi is to improve on the conducive environment Metro taxi provides. Metro taxi maintains a standard and that is why we have partnered with them. They have maintained the integrity they promised from onset, which is in line with our principle”.

The benefits of the partnership, surmised Ladipo, are all encompassing for “It is also good for the drivers as well, because they have an opportunity to use the Google Map to locate their routes instead of stopping and asking people. At the same time, that passenger, whether or not he is a Smile Communications customer, has received additional value”.

Mrs. Priscilla Ibe, chief executive officer of Metrotaxi, said the company is thrilled by Smile’s magnanimity, adding that such partnership will even lift the company’s business profile.

She described Smile as a forward looking company that is true to the transformative objective that informed its establishment.

On its part Metro Taxi Limited, a subsidiary of The Philly & Mools Group, has set out to be an innovative customer oriented company, with the sole aim of providing unparalleled transportation service for both individual and corporate bodies.

Ibe said, “We are happy about this partnership. One of the basic needs of a Lagosian is to have a reliable, safe and comfortable ride. We thought of putting WiFi in the cabs so that while on the go the passenger can be connected-browsing, chatting, receiving and replying to business emails, among other bundles of opportunities this partnership will offer our passengers. We hope this is just the beginning with our 250 taxies already connected.

On fears that the free WiFi might lead to fare increase, Ibe allayed such fears. “Our fares remain the same. We are not considering increase or an upward review of the fares. Our collective desire is to offer our riders comfort and connectivity.

“This is going to improve our service because locating routes will become easier for the drivers. I look forward to getting passengers’ feedback. They will really enjoy it. Everybody wants access to the internet for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, sharing, uploading and downloading.

“Our cars are Bluetooth enabled. So, when the drivers are on the road, they connect the Bluetooth and give commands to the car with the DVD panel that shows the maps. We have already trained them on the safety side too. We also have a back-office system to help us monitor, through GPS, what the drivers are doing. In addition, we have fleet officers on the road monitoring the drivers and that also curtails misbehaviours.

Also speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tobe Okigbo, chief corporate services officer for Smile Communications Nigeria Limited, said the gesture was in furtherance of the company’s resolve to enable the Internet of Things (IoT) capable of increasing individuals, corporations and the nation’s economic base.

Okigbo said, “The truth is this: the way the world is going now like the phenomenal Digital Dividend, it is about how the internet, incrementally, helps you to achieve more. Can you imagine how much manpower that is lost in traffic gridlocks in Lagos? People should work even while they are in traffic. They should continue to be productive. In number terms, assuming people spend three hours/day in traffic. Let’s quantify it at $300/hour in lost productivity. If they are able to remain productive, the $300 adds to their income.

“So, it has multiplier effect. Think about it, if they don’t lose it, then, they earn more money. If they earn more, government earns more tax (revenue) and provides more services. All this because they have been empowered via Smile Communications free WiFi in MetroTaxi. The impact of the internet on our way of life has become ubiquitous. When you are talking about Internet of Things (IoT), for instance, MetroTaxis will in future talk to each other. There are instances where equipment, without human intervention, based on algorithms, talk to each other and things get done in more efficient ways”.

He highlighted that the partnership will even lead to a whole lot of innovations in future.


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Inlaks CEO, Femi Adeoti, Wins Top CEOs & Next Bulls Award

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Femi Adeoti, managing director and CEO, Inlaks, Africa’s foremost Information Technology and Infrastructure solutions provider in West Africa, has been announced as a winner of the 2020 Top CEOs & Next Bulls Awards organised by Business Day Media Limited in collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The MD/CEO whilst receiving the award dedicated it to the management and staff of Inlaks for their relentless service even during these trying times.

He also appreciated the board of the organization that drove changes within the organisation particularly in the pandemic which led to the company being recognized and the customers who have continued to support Inlaks while being ambassadors of all Inlaks’ solutions.

The CEO and Next Bulls awards, the sixth in its series, recognizes the CEOs of listed companies creating competitive shareholder value through sound strategy, disciplined execution and world class governance. In addition, it celebrates chief executives of quoted companies that have demonstrated the most impressive gains in both share price and service delivery.

Themed “Advancing Against all Odds,” this year’s award particularly recognised businesses that have been thriving in spite of the global harsh economic realities.

According to the organisers of the award, the indomitable Next Bulls are the CEOs raging forward at a time when many businesses are choosing to retreat, thus acknowledging Adeoti’s good leadership in the area of corporate governance, innovation and service delivery.

The CEOs award celebrates the CEOs of successful, privately-owned indigenous companies built by Nigerians, led by Nigerians and poised to lead their categories on the continent.

Established in 1982, Inlaks is Africa’s leading Information Technology systems integrator with presence in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Cameroon. As solutions provider, it offers core banking, agency banking, fraud management, cyber-security, cloud, data centre, enterprise risk management and software solutions.

Part of the criteria for selecting winners of this year’s awards held virtually on September 5, are stock price appreciation, Profit After Tax (PAT) growth, an unblemished regulatory compliance record, and positive marketplace reputation among customers in the period under review.

Winners are also selected based on significant interest shown by active and informed investors on the Nigerian Stock Exchange to invest in their stock should their boards ever decide to take them public.


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Transcorp Hotels Hard Hit by COVID-19, Mulls Restructuring

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The novel COVID-19 pandemic has caused the African Hotel and Tourism industry to lose over $50bn in revenue.

Transcorp Hotels Hard Hit by COVID-19, Mulls Restructuring

Dupe Olusola, MD, Transcorp Hotels

Amidst this, Transcorp Hotels Plc has suffered unprecedented losses and is looking to restructure the business strategy of its hotels and optimize its operations.

The management of Transcorp Hotels Plc has announced that it will be taking steps to ensure business continuity in the wake of the losses recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To this end, the hotelier is diversifying its portfolio and reducing its workforce as part of its cost management initiatives.

Mrs Dupe Olusola, managing director, Transcorp Hotels Plc, disclosed this during a Press Conference on Thursday saying “The impact of COVID-19 on the business is like nothing the company has ever witnessed. The hotel and hospitality industry in Nigeria has never faced a crisis that brought travel to a standstill, including the Ebola Virus Outbreak of 2014 and the recession of 2015. The slow pick up of international travel, restriction on large gatherings, the switch to virtual meetings and fear of the virus, has drastically reduced demand for our hotels and occupancy levels to its lowest of less than 5%.”

According to her “Despite the losses incurred we have fulfilled our obligations to staff. At the inception of the pandemic, we maintained a 100% salary payment to our over 900 employees in March and April. We also activated various cost-saving initiatives such as renegotiations of service contracts and restructuring of our loans. We suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment as well as reducing our energy consumption and maintenance costs. Despite undertaking these, it has become apparent that more fundamental changes need to be made for the business to survive. To this end, our workforce headcount will be reduced by at least 40%, and our reward system will be optimized.”

Mrs Olusola further disclosed that negotiations are ongoing to ensure that our colleagues who will be impacted are adequately compensated given the peculiarities of the economy at this time.

A health insurance package to reduce their health burden costs, especially during the pandemic, amongst other payment settlements, will be activated.

Equally, all Executives of Transcorp Hilton Abuja have now taken a pay cut.

As one of the leading hospitality brands in Africa, Transcorp Hotels Plc has stated its commitment to uphold service standards and ensure that all guests continue to experience the warmth and hospitality that it is known for.


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LCCI Announces Date for Virtual Edition of ICTEL Expo

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the premier Chamber of Commerce and a leading voice in the organised private sector (OPS) in Nigeria, is set to host the 6th edition of the Information, Communication, Technology and Telecommunications (ICTEL) Expo.

The tech event is scheduled to take place virtually on Tuesday 22ndand Wednesday 23rd September at 9am daily. To this end, interested participants are urged to register online via www.ictelexpo.com.ng

Muda Yusuf, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said: “The ICTEL EXPO is positioned to be a veritable platform for both operators and regulators to network, showcase and explore with technology with the view to repositioning the ICT sector of the economy.”

Yusuf added “that this year’s edition promises to be the best ever in the series with the theme “Exploring Opportunities in the Digital Economy” This is intended to create a platform to discuss strategies for economic diversification and business sustainability with particular focus on ICT, especially with the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. There would also be virtual conferences and exhibition during the two-day event.

Yusuf also emphasized that relevant agencies and departments of Government will be exhibiting and attending to other exhibitors and participants.

He stated that the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies that have confirmed attendance to participate are Ministry of Communications; Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) amongst others.

In addition, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar GarbaDanbatta, are expected as Special Guests.

Mrs. Funke Opeke, managing director, MainOne Cable and chairman, Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan, is expected to deliver the Keynote Address on the first day.

While Mr. Victor Eburajolo, deputy group managing director, Kewalram Group, will be delivering the Keynote Address on the second day at the virtual Expo.

Yusuf stated that “so far, so good the excitement that the virtual Expo has generated has been phenomenal and we are indeed happy about it.”


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