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US Hikes Visa Fees for Nigerians, Blames FG

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United States Embassy in Nigeria, has said that effective from tomorrow, Thursday, August 29, Nigerians applying for tourism, student and business visas will not only pay the N59, 200 fee but will have to pay an extra $110 (N40, 700) after the visa has been issued to them bringing the total cost to N99, 900.

 

However, applicants who are denied visas would not need to pay the extra N40, 700.

 

Applicants seeking the L1 Visa (work permit) will pay an extra N112, 100 if given visas while those applying for H4 Visa (dependency/spousal) will pay an extra N66, 600.

 

The US Embassy adopts the rate of N370/$1 for Nigerians which is higher than both the official rate and the black market rate.

 

The increment also comes amid complaints from hundreds of Nigerian visa applicants that they had not been able to secure US visa appointment dates despite making payments for visas.

 

The embassy said in a statement that the increment was done based on reciprocity.

 

It lamented that Americans were paying too much to secure Nigerian visas and thus the US government decided to retaliate.

 

The US embassy said it had been holding talks with the Nigerian government to reduce the fee but the Federal Government refused to accede to its requests.

 

The directive comes less than four months after the US cancelled the drop box system for Nigerian visa applicants which used to allow Nigerians who have a travel history to the US to apply for visas without going for interviews at the embassy.

 

The statement read in part, “Effective worldwide on August 29, Nigerian citizens will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications.

 

“The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the non-immigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.  Nigerian citizens whose applications for a non-immigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee. Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.

Reciprocity fee schedule, organized by visa classification

“US law requires US visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to US citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible.  Visa issuance fees are implemented under the principle of reciprocity: when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on US citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas.

 

“Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their non-immigrant visa application is approved.

 

“The total cost for a US citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States.  The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference.

 

“Since early 2018, the US government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to US citizens for certain visa categories.  After 18 months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the US Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.

 

“The reciprocity fee will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a non-immigrant visa to the United States.  The reciprocity fee is required for each visa that is issued, which means both adults and minors whose visa applications are approved will be charged the reciprocity fee.  The fee can only be paid at the US Embassy or the US Consulate General.  The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location.”

 

 

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Digital Economy is Most Promising – Obaseki

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Mr Godwin Obaseki, governor, Edo State, has called for the adoption of smart Information and Communications Technology tools and solutions as an alternative to oil in diversifying the Nigerian economy.

Digital Economy is Most Promising – Obaseki

Mr Godwin Obaseki

He warned that the country would not develop if the bulk of the savings remained tied to buying foreign exchange for importation.

The governor spoke at the Edo State Annual Banker’s Dinner held in Benin City, according to a statement by the state government.

He said, the growth of the digital economy was vital in providing the ICT-driven solutions to everyday problems.

Obaseki added that the sector was the most potent in mobilising other sectors to align with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Federal Government.

He said for Nigeria to develop, the citizens must utilise deposits and savings effectively to drive growth and advancement.

“Nobody will bring their savings here as capital for your development; we have to do it ourselves,” Obaseki said.

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EdTech Sector to Witness Radical Disruptions in 2020, says Wowbii CEO

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Mrs Terae Onyeje, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wowbii Interactive, has said that 2020 will witness continued technology disruption in the Enterprise space, and even more so in EdTech .

According to Wowbii Interactive CEO, the EdTech landscape is bringing radical transformation to the traditional models of learning. “In Nigeria, we are seeing a more aggressive push towards the emergence of a digital economy, which will lift the impetus for educational institutions, enterprises, policy formulators and decision makers to explore technologies that will transform learning”, Mrs Onyeje says.

Nigeria, which is not left out of the wave of digitisation sweeping across the global economy, has taken the major initiative to rename the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, to underscore the strategic vision towards a knowledge-based economy, according to Wowbii Interactive CEO.

According to her, “these initiatives will directly impact the EdTech sector and will see policy makers and the whole ecosystem of gatekeepers to knowledge radically refocusing a range of technologies to support learning and teaching.”

Mrs Onyeje made the announcement in Lagos in the Wowbii Interactive CEO EdTech Outlook for 2020, explaining the previous years have witnessed the rising awareness, refocusing and deployment of EdTech solutions across public and private institutions.

WOWBII Interactive is Africa’s first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of interactive flat panels (IFPD). With a mission to ‘transform the way Africa works and learns’, Wowbii delivers application bundles on their IFPDs in the enterprise and education to achieve end-to-end 21st century communications solutions.

“To give Africa her pride of place at the forefront of learning technology, Wowbii is enabling Educators and Learners leapfrog to the fore of global learning best practice. We are delivering an explosive combination of lifelong learning by layering interactive learning applications and curricula using the native tool of the youth (tap n swipe hardware).

‘Our front-of-classroom devices and all-in-one desktops give educators creative options to manage learning areas; completing the robust interactive experience.

“Today, we are proudly motivating learners to deliver improved outcomes; empowering educators with immersive experiences that make them love teaching again and enabling institutions transform the education ecosystem”, according Wowbii Interactive CEO.

According to her, “to effectively deliver 21 st Century learning, the interactive learning experience we offer must reach the schools in the lower income bracket, where about 80 per cent of the Nigeria’s learners are.

We are therefore really excited about our new solution that brings affordable interactivity to the classroom – reinforcing our success in offering open, futuristic technology that connect legacy learning technologies. We plan to announce the new addition to our stable of solutions this quarter.”

Mrs Onyeje adds that increased workplace mobility is leading to the redesign of today’s enterprise workspaces. As the Enterprise seek expansion of legacy unified communications solutions, affordability, effortless legacy systems compatibility and ease-of-use are premium requirements.

She further explains that, “in the Enterprise, we are transforming business workspaces to 21st Century environments; creating immersive engagements by seamlessly connecting our technology to legacy Unified Communications systems.

Easy-to-use technology that delivers phenomenal collaboration and communication options for the modern business are some of the reasons why large enterprise businesses prefer the Wowbii experience.

“MTN, Nigeria’s largest telecoms company, was an early tech adopter as they were keen to test the Wowbudd at a showcase in 2017. A first unit was purchased for an executive boardroom. Fully satisfied with functionality and performance, MTN expanded their footprint the following year by equipping executive meeting rooms and offices with the updated solution. In 2019, they updated major offices across the country with the Wowbudd.”

According to key infrastructure users, “Prior to the deployment of Wowbii solution, we needed the help of IT Personnel support meetings that required the use of technology but now, everyone is able to initiate meetings with ease.”

Today, MTN staff “can seamlessly collaborate across locations via video with crisp sound quality, sharing multimedia content with ease”. The solution also allows us to analyze data with remote staff fully engaged with high quality video. Wowbii’s Interactive Telepresence comes to life with the large 4k screens.”

She adds that in education, major learning transformations are underway in Charles Dales School, Port Harcourt and Greensprings School, Lagos. Greensprings, a forerunner private school with three campuses catering to Primary and Secondary, has deployed Wowbii education solutions to their Ikoyi Campus.”

According to her, “with projectors going end of life, the transition to interactive flat panel displays is an inevitable transition education stakeholders worry about. Greensprings, The Thinking School, was an early adopter – familiar with typical challenges technology may come with the infusion of technology, Greensprings was cautious in making the 21 st Century classroom adoption. Key pain points the school needed to address was content, classroom management, hardware reliability and support. Beginning with the Ikoyi Campus in 2018, Wowbii actively engaged tutors to drive adoption.

“As a tech-savvy school, the users were very excited to use technology that enhanced their school ethos. Using the train-the-trainer method because the Wowbudds were not installed across campus, all teachers were converts in less than 12 months.

The interactive applications are changing the way the children respond to teaching and learning. It is a joy to see how well Greenspring has layered interactive technologies on their blended curriculum. Today, our learning solutions are across Greenspring Schools campuses in Lekki, Anthony and Ikoyi” according to Mrs Onyeje.

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MTV Base Features 2Baba on The Second Episode Of Behind The Story Season II 

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The second episode of the MTV Base Behind The Story season II will air on Tuesday, 28th of January and will see the host, Sammy Walsh delve into the personal life of the legendary Innocent Idibia, popularly known as 2baba.

 

In the episode, Sammy Walsh will dig into the superstar’s past and present, discover what makes him tick and how he has been able to overcome the various challenges he has encountered over the years.

 

 

2Baba will be sharing deep insight about his past, his struggles with how his personal life has been heavily scrutinized and criticized by the public, as well as a couple of other never-before-shared truths.

 

 

Speaking on what the last decade was like for him, the legend said, “It wasn’t easy. Some people focused on my belle matter more than they did on me, there was so much negative press and negative representation of me. I had to re-convince people that I’m more than that.”

 

 

Last week, Teni the Entertainer was on Behind The Story being very candid about her experience so far in the limelight and the challenges that have come with it.

 

 

This season of Behind The Story promises to be insightful and entertaining with the biggest acts in Nigeria sharing some of their deepest truths.

 

MTV Base Behind The Story season 2 continues Tuesday, January 28, 2020 on MTV Base channel 322 on DStv and channel 72 on GOtv.

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