Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Breaking News: Nnenna Nwakanma to keynote @NetMundial 2014

Nigerian-born Information and Communication Technology (ICT) advisor and Free and Open Source Software advocate, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma is to keynote at the forthcoming NetMundial being hosted by the government of Brazil, reports ITRealms.

Confirming this development, Nwakanma disclosed to ITRealms that she received an invitation from the chairman of the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance 2014, tagged ‘NetMundial,’ Professor Virgílio Fernandes Almeida to keynote on behalf of the Civil Societies.

Also, ITRealms gathered that Nnenna has been slated to speak at the opening ceremony where heads of government over 23 countries have confirmed attendance including a delegation from the Nigerian government led by the Federal Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson.

Nnenna, known for her ‘Africaness,’ frankness and human rights activism is expected to address the gathering for some eight minutes.

“I have replied to say ‘I will be speaking from the civil society perspective, which is my stakeholder group,’" she affirmed to ITRealms.

She expressed optimism this will be pulled off well.

ITRealms also gathered that Prof. Almeida has invited some other distinguished names to co-chair and lead the Netmundial organisation in the spirit of multistakeholders.

They include Prof. Jeanette Hofmann from the Academic Community, Subi Chaturvedi – Civil Society, Mr. Fadi Chedadé of ICANN representing technical community and Andile Ngcaba from the private sector.

Also there are four committees working in the Netmundial, namely the High-Level Multistakeholder Committee, Executive Multistakeholder Committee, Logistics and Organizational Committee and Council of Government Advisors.

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Pix: Nnenna Nwakanma

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Visafone mast collapses in Surulere

A mast belonging to Visafone Communications on Sunday morning collapsed in a Lagos suburb of Surulere, reports ITRealms.

This, according to ITRealms investigations as affirmed by officials of the company was attributed to the heavy wind and downpour in Lagos over the night of Sunday.

ITRealms gathered that although no life was lost, there was absence of network and service in Surulere and environs on Visafone network until late afternoon, when the services were reportedly restored partially.

ITRealms recall that Visafone Communications Ltd emerged as a result of strategic acquisition of three (3) Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) mobile network operators that had operations for up to 8 years with 30,000 subscribers and coverage in different parts of Nigeria, was incorporated on June 20, 2007 after its acquisition of Cellcom and received a Unified Access Service Licence as a telecom operator from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on August 1, 2007 positioned it to offer mobile, fixed and any other telecommunications service to its subscribers.

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ICANN seeks public comment on 5-yr strategic plan

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is seeking public comment on the Draft ICANN Five–Year Strategic Plan (FY16–FY20) reports ITRealms.

The comment period is  through May 2014 and hopes to built on community input received throughout an extensive, public strategy conversation.

The draft Strategic Plan, ITRealms proposes a new vision, reiterates ICANN's existing mission, and describes five focus areas with strategic objectives and goals.

According to ICANN, each goal includes proposed, strategic outcomes, risks, measures and phasing over five years. 

Thus, ICANN is seeking general feedback, as well as input on the proposed measurable outcomes for the Focus Area Goals.

“Your comments will help inform the final ICANN Five–Year Strategic Plan,” official said.

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Broadband: 40m subscribers mark achieved in 2013

An estimated 40 million new broadband subscribers lashed on the rave of the moment technology, just as 14.1 per cent growth was made in Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) marking a year of steady growth, ITRealms.

According an official press statement made available to ITRealms, this figure was achieved in 2013, raking total broadband lines to 678.6 million world-wide.

ITRealms notes that the overall figures showed steady growth but slowing as older markets reach saturation, hence, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is still the predominant technology, but fiber continues to outpace all access types in new deployments.

The Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is nearing the 100 million subscriber threshold with 21 per cent growth in 2013 and 17 million new subscribers taking the total to 96 million at year end 2013.

As affirmed by Broadband Forum in its latest newsletter, the update shows a slowing but steady growth in broadband subscribers with some significant trends in technology and regional growth in new markets.

The figures, prepared by Point Topic as sighted by ITRealms, highlighted the addition of over 40 million new users world-wide, an annual increase of 6.15 per cent, bringing the global total up to 678,455,893m.

Speaking at the Fixed Access Networks Summit in Berlin, Germany, last week, the Broadband
Forum chief executive officer, Robin Mersh, said that these figures for 2013 paints an extremely interesting picture both regionally and in terms of the changes in technology choices as some markets reach saturation and others started their digital journey.

“They are a great illustration of the ‘second age of broadband access,’ with existing customers demanding more bandwidth and operators introducing new technologies,” he said.

In addition, he said, the figures show that copper-based technologies such as DSL, Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) and ADSL2plus continue to be dominant, although fiber-based technologies, which include Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) and VDSL2 are taking a firmer

grip and with growth rates of 17.6 per cent overall.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

FG names Peter Jack, new DG of NITDA

Breaking News @ITRealms

The Federal Government has confirmed the appointment of a new Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA), in the person of Mr. Peter Olu Jack, ITRealms can authoritatively report.

ITRealms reports that this was contained in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja endorsed by Mr Sam Nwaobasi, the Special Assistant Media to the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.
The appointment ITRealms was for a first term of four years with effect from April 7, 2014.
The pronouncement came on the long awaited appointment which left Director, Software Outsourcing, Dr. Ashiru Daura, acting as the Director General of the agency since July 13, 2013.
High placed sources at NiTDA revealed to ITRealms that the new DG, Mr. Jack, will resume formally on Monday, April 14, this year and that all is now set in that regard.

ITRealms also confirmed that appointment of Mr. Jack was as a mark of track records within the Information Technology space which included his activeness in NITDA for over seven years as the director cum technical assistant to the former DG, Prof. Cleopas Officer Angaye.

Additionally, ITRealms gathered that Mr. Jack, who is a fellow, United Nations University - International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST) Center for Electronic Governance as well as a doctoral Student, Information Technology Policy Programme, College of Engineering, Seoul National University, South Korea before he joined NITDA.

ITRealms recalls that Mr. Peter Jack had represented the DG/CEO, on several key committees, including the National Committee on Outsourcing, Consumer Credit and National Identity Management; Public Service Reform Committee; and National IT Policy Review and Strategic Plan Implementation Committee to name a few. He led the team that wrote the National Outsourcing Policy.

Equally, he was involved in the planning processes that paved the way for the National eGovernment Strategies Limited (NeGst); the special purpose vehicle of the Federal Government set up to implement Nigeria’s eGovernment Public Private Partnership Projects. 
He was seconded from NITDA as a Consultant to NeGSt from 2004 to 2007.

Proud graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife with BSc in Chemical Engineering, he also holds a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering and an MBA, both from the University of Lagos.

Mr. Peter Jack is a Cisco Certified Networking Associate and Cisco Certified Academy Instructor as Train the Trainer. He went on to set up the National Cisco Networking Academy Programme in Nigeria and trained the first set of instructors at NITDA.

Further, ITRealms notes that Mr. Jack until his latest appointment was a member of the Local Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group (LMAG) of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum where he represented the RoseMaryn Taribi Foundation and contributed his quota on how to move the nation’s Internet Governance forward.

Mr. Jack was reputed to have designed and implemented the Niger Delta Youth Computer Training Programme for Niger Delta Development Commission in 2003.

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Pix: Mr. Peter Jack, new DG/CEO of NITDA

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Thomson Reuters unveils technology for currency traders

Foremost source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, Thomson Reuters, has strengthened its presence in Africa by unveiling an African strategy and a new fully automated foreign exchange trade platform technology tagged TRFXT, reports ITRealms.

This strategic plans, ITRealms gathered is to offer enabling platform for Africa to actualise her huge potentials and bring to bear the Thomson Reuters global heritage across 100 countries and many decades of providing customers with platforms and technologies that give competitive edge in business, forex trading, governance, tax and accounting, financial and risk analysis, science and intellectual property markets.

Phil Weisberg, Global Head of Thomson Reuters Foreign Exchange, speaking to ITRealms in Lagos, said that Nigeria has become Africa’s undisputed financial powerhouse and has continued to attract massive global interest, thus making the country one of the most important markets for Thomson Reuters.

“Nigeria is a key frontier market in Africa with a huge potential for growth and technology platforms can aid the market to leap ahead and grow rapidly by creating and sustaining a transparent and robust system, guide regulators, increase efficiency and liquidity and generate electronic multilateral conversations among key financial players,” Weisberg said, stressing that Thomson Reuters is in the market to enable this and the African success story.

He further described the TRFXT platform as giving customers access to specialist data and the right suite of tools to manage trading risk, identify new opportunities and differentiate forex trading strategies.

“Our intelligent information is a unique synthesis of human intelligence, industry expertise and innovative technology that equips decision-makers with the knowledge to act and enable them make better decisions faster,” Weisberg said.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Net Neutrality: Monitor citizens, don’t touch the internet

The proposal adopted by the European Union (EU) parliament Thursday,  may not after all solve the big problems when it comes to providing citizens with access to broadband infrastructure, ITRealms reports. 

According the latest Strand Consult’s analytic made available to ITRealms indicated that previously research has noted that the new EU proposals on how to harmonize the European telecommunications market has gained a lot of attention and EU Commission proposal for cheaper roaming means collapse of the European mobile industry.

Also, ITRealms reports that Strand Consult pointed out that there was a high risk that consumers would buy a subscriber identification module (SIM) card in Lithuania, for instance, where traffic is cheap, and then used it in other EU countries, where traffic is more expensive.

The Strand Consult research called its “mobile arbitrage,” hence it believes this will become a lucrative speculative market for financial traders, some operators and some Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), however perverse and unintended by the EU.

Further, the EU had listened to criticism, but insisted roaming will be subject to ‘reasonable use’ even as EU Commission stipulates that consumers cannot exploit the new rules, for example, buying a SIM card in Lithuania but using it in the United Kingdom (UK), so as to benefit from Lithuanian prices.

ITRealms equally reports that the EU had made its position known that usage would be monitored, and “excessive use” of this tactic would not be allowed.

This, experts at Strand Consult told ITRealms sounds different in practice, noting that the EU Parliament adopted a proposal where it will likely ask telecom companies to monitor the their clients' international traffic, but neglecting the real thing.

“The EU statement reveals that the Commission has not considered the consequences. It has made a feel-good/sound good telecommunications package designed to win votes before the Parliamentary election without addressing or harmonizing the underlying conditions that creates the differentials in roaming in the first place namely the infrastructure costs, taxes, contract obligations etc.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Press Release: 2 Nigerians, 3 others win 25,000 dollars Google’s ‘Africa Connected’ contest

Google on Tuesday announced the five winners of its Africa Connected competition at an event in Nairobi, graced by world tech leaders. The competition was organised to reward young Africans who explore internet space to their advantage.

“There are over 1 billion people living in Sub-Saharan Africa and currently 16 percent of them are online. With Africa Connected, we wanted to celebrate how the web is changing lives in Africa, and show how it is contributing to the socioeconomic development of the continent. 

Selecting the shortlist was no easy task: each winner shares a unique perspective of how they have used the internet to solve a problem, earn a living, or create opportunities, not just for themselves, but also for others around them”, says Affiong Osuchukwu, Google Lead for the Africa Connected initiative.

Eseoghene Odiete, one of the Nigerian winners shares her experience: “I discovered my passion through YouTube search. When I graduated I needed to do something meaningful with my life so I went in search of how to create handbags using Google search and YouTube. I made a lot of discoveries that wowed my imagination. That was how I started what got me here today”.

Eric Obuh popularly known as Vocal Slender who used to be a dump site scavenger also made the list of Nigerian winners “After I was discovered by the BBC in ‘Welcome to Lagos’, I became known around the world. Since then, I have recorded songs which I share with new audiences on YouTube. I also use Google+ and YouTube to raise awareness about underprivileged youngsters in the slums of Lagos, helping to raise scholarship money, and encourage kids to stay in school” he hints

Christopher Panford from Ghana runs a transport company helping Ghanaian drivers’ access vehicle loans, which they use to earn a living. He uses Google Maps to constantly monitor the location of vehicles under bank loans. This assures banks that their loans are protected, while Christopher empowers more drivers.

Eunice Namirembe from Uganda runs The Medical Concierge Group which helps Ugandan communities’ access quality healthcare and information.  Physician Eunice has built a 24-hour ambulance call centre by using the Google Cloud console and Google Maps to record patient information and track patient locations. With these tools, Eunice and her team are able to help connect more Ugandans to medical services, thus saving lives in the process.

Winner and blogger from Kenya Sitawa Wafula says, “Right now I feel humbled and honoured that mental health and epilepsy - which are considered taboo topics - have been put on the same platform as some very innovative projects.  I can’t believe that doing what comes so naturally to me, to help raise awareness about mental health, would be recognized by a company like Google, and be such an inspiration to others.”

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Okigbo jnr takes over at ISPON, promises dialogue, continuity

Newly elected president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) Mr. Pius Okigbo Jnr has promised to continue his leadership from where the erstwhile president, Chief Chris Uwaje may have stopped, reports ITRealms.

This is coming as he lamented the exclusion of the Nigerian Information Technology (IT) in the ongoing National Conference, which commence a few weeks ago.

Speaking to ITRealms exclusively he expressed confidence in dialogue and promised to continue to do his best in improving the local content and local software precisely.

He also told ITRealms that his leadership will engage the government to ensure that his desire to improve on the lots of the upcoming software start-ups in the country.

ITRealms recalls that his emergence was the outcome of the recent Annual General Meeting of ISPON.

Okigbo Jnr, who is the chairman, Infosoft Group was a former first vice president of ISPON equally lamented the inconsistency in the curriculum of tertiary institutions in the country to align with the demand of the industry.

For him it is not acceptable that students would spend four years in the universities only to graduate and expected to be retrained by the private sector.

Further, he described the exclusion of IT professionals in the national conference as unfortunate, even though it’s a position well deserved.

Okigbo Jnr who was accompanied by immediate past president of ISPON and some other members of the National Executive Council (NEC), Chief Chris Uwaje, the press conference signals the formal handover between himself and Uwaje, promises to carry the members of ISPON along.

Speaking earlier, Chief Uwaje commended ISPON members and industry stakeholders for supporting him and the organisation during his tenure.

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Pix; Uwaje signing the handover note while Pius Okigbo Jnr watches

Sunday, March 30, 2014

‘Why FG set up Broadband Media Advisory Committee’

It is not every time that government has an initiative, that it will like the media to play a vital role such as discovered in the determination of the current Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, to set up a 15-man media advisory committee for the National Broadband, reports ITRealms.

This, ITRealms reports, is coming in the heels of recent soft-launch of broadband awareness campaign in Lagos by the Minister, just as the federal government penultimate Monday, inaugurated a Media Advisory Committee that will further drive the campaign.

The 15-man committee, according to ITRealms reports is made of media professionals, tasked to help out the communications partners to create immense publicity for the broadband awareness campaign.

Noteworthy is that FG via CommTech Ministry and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has in recent times taken the broadband campaign awareness to core international investors at different telecoms fora, organised by the International Telecoms Union (ITU) in Dubai, UAE and Bangkok in Thailand among others.

Members of the Media Advisory Committee on Broadband Campaign included the Managing Director of Compact Communications, Chuddy Oduenyi​ as Chairman, Managing Director of Leap Communications Limited, Muyiwa Akintunde​ as Secretary to the committee, Efem Nkanga​ from the Ministry of Communications Technology, Aaron Ukodie of e-World Magazine, Remmy Nweke of DigitalSENSE Newspapers, Kunle Adekoya of Vanguard Newspapers, Shina  Badaru of Technology Times Newspapers, Emma Okonji of ThisDay Newspapers, Mkpe Abang of IT & Telecom Digest Magazine and Bayero Agabi of AIT Info Tech.

Others are Reuben Okala of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Chioma Ezike of Radio Nigeria, and Ufoma Daro of e-Business Life Magazine, Tolu Ogunlesi​, a Social Media activist and Bill Okonedo​ of BusinessDay Newspapers.

Inaugurating the advisory committee, the Vice Chairman, National Broadband Council, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, charged members to take the broadband campaign initiative very seriously, explaining that government is keen in making broadband available to Nigerians, through the campaign.

"Broadband remains critical to the development of Nigeria and to the individual. Anyone that is not able to use digital devices, is not part of the digital world,” he said.

Stressing that Nigerians playing key role on this broadband campaign, like this committee, must ensure that every Nigerian is a digital native, no matter how remote they may be located.

He lamented that attention is often concentrated on urban and semi-urban areas by those who provide infrastructure, but the broadband campaign is intended to reach out to those in remote areas.

A focus campaign on broadband awareness, Ndukwe said would make Nigerians not only aware of the service, but also to subscribe to it, as soon as the service gets to them.

Addressing the committee on its roles, the Technical Consultant to the Minister of Communications Technology, Mr. Jinmi Oluanuiga-Sonuga explained that the committee would among other things, create awareness for the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, foster demand growth and broadband adoption, encourage local and state governments in driving the adoption of broadband, educate Nigerians on the need to have broadband connectivity, and also educate them on where and how to get broadband.

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Pix: Some members of the committee with Dr. Ndukwe and Jinmi Sonuga.

NCS rides on Remita for members cashless annual dues

The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) is riding on the back of Remita for its over 10,000 membership cashless payment of annual dues, reports ITRealms.

This, ITRealms gathered was in compliance with the recent policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), NCS has deployed Remita, a premium electronic payment platform from SystemSpecs to facilitate this desire

ITRealms also reports that with this, NCS individual members would issue standing orders via Remita to their respective banks, and the banks would remit the various payments to NCS’ bank accounts as at when due.

And in demonstration of NCS commitment, the society members fully embrace the electronic remittance initiative in compliance with the CBN’s policy, for the 2014 annual dues. 
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), SystemSpecs, Mr. John Obaro confirmed this t ITRealms, elucidating that with this gesture, his company objective is obvious.

“We want to reduce people’s need for handwriting cheque. We want to reduce the need to make payments using physical cash. For routine payments like membership fees, subscription payments etc, you do not have to keep writing cheques all the time. Individuals can use Remita to hand-write a cheque normally or issue standing order payments. These are what the CBN’s cashless policy is about,” he said.

NCS president, Prof. David Adewunmi remarked that the NCS-SystemSpecs strategic partnership would assist organisations to identify, support innovation efforts and build capacities to help “realize the huge potential in Africa’s fledging market”.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

'.Africa’ signing ceremony held at ICANN 49

Finally, a signing ceremony for the .Africa has been dotted between the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at the ongoing ICANN 49 in Singapore on Wednesday, March 2014, reports ITRealms.

The ceremony conducted between Akram Atallah, the president of ICANN's Global Domains Division (GDD) and Lucky Masilela, CEO of ZA Central Registry (ZACR) took part in a symbolic signing, which allows the new Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) ‘.Africa’ to proceed to delegation.

ITRealms also reports that this marks the first Registry Agreement signed between ICANN and an African gTLD registry operator.

A contingency representing the African Union Commission (AUC), dotAfrica, and ZADNA (domain name authority of South Africa) were in attendance, as well as several ZACR and ICANN staff members.

Remmy Nweke in Singapore
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Diplo to host webinar on Netmundial'14

Diplo Foundation has announced the intention to host web seminar (webinar) on Netmundial with people that matters as the subject gains momentum, ITRealms reports.

According to Mrs. Stephanie Borg Psaila of Diplo's Internet Governance (IG) webinars team told ITRealms that as part of the March Internet governance webinar, arrangement has been concluded to focus on the upcoming NETmundial slated to hold in Brazil.

Also, she invited participants to the webinar on Friday 28th March at 14h UTC/GMT, on the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETmundial), which is taking place in Brazil in April.

Raúl Echeberría, executive director of LACNIC and co-chair of NETmundial’s Executive Multistakeholder Committee, and Rodrigo de la Parra, ICANN vice-president, Stakeholder Engagement, Latin America and the Caribbean, she said, would update the IG community with developments in Latin America in the preparation for NETmundial.

Further, she said to ITRealms that the webinar would address the following, among other aspects: “What can we expect from NETmundial in terms of a tangible outcome? With various IG bodies engaged in the process, how can the IG community participate in the run-up to the meeting and during the meeting itself? Based on the contributions received, what are the top three items on NETmundial’s agenda? What type of ‘Latin American’ flavour can we expect at NETmundial (issues, priorities and actors)?”

She explained to ITRealms that to participate, potential participate would fill in the registration form though attendance is free but registration is required.

“The link to join the webinar will be e-mailed on the day, shortly before the start of the webinar. Participants will be able to discuss the topic with the presenters and other participants present for the webinar,” she submitted.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

NETmundial 2014: EMC meets to set agenda

The Executive Multistakeholder Committee (EMC) has confirmed dates for the two-day meeting to enable them set the agenda for the forthcoming coming NETmundial in Brazil, reports ITRealms.

The EMC affirmed this to ITRealms at the weekend in an official press statement, saying its face-to-face meetings would hold between March 31 and April 1, stressing the focus is to set NETmundial agenda and propose an initial draft for upcoming discussions.

ITRealms also gathered that the outcomes of the EMC meeting would be submitted to the High-level Multistakeholder Committee and, consecutively, to public consultation in the first half of April.

While commending the level of commitment shown in the open call for contributions to NETmundial, EMC told ITRealms they appreciated all organizations and individual authors from different sectors, countries and community groups for their submissions.

They equally confessed to ITRealms that it was an unexpectedly large number of submissions and given the short timeframe available for the EMC to digest recommendations to frame an agenda, the Committee is using a number of different approaches to review individual submissions and also to synthesize the input.

Just as the EMC explained that the Secretariat’s summary will not be a reflection of EMC position, but one of the tools that the Committee will utilize for its debates on how the agenda will be framed, along with other types of summaries and analysis, kindly submitted by different volunteers.

“We look forward to agreeing in final agenda and making it public, fostering the multistakeholder discussion that NETMundial proposes,” EMC official said.

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FG splash N24m on 16 inventors

Federal Government has presented cheques worth N24 million to 16 beneficiaries of the 2013 Presidential Standing Committee on Inventions and Innovations (PSCII) grant, reports ITRealms.

The cheque presentation to beneficiaries, ITRealms gathered was a continuation of nine years support by the Presidential Standing Committee on Invention and Innovation.

Presenting the cheques, the Supervising Minister of Science and Technology Ministry, Mrs. Omobola Johnson while congratulating the beneficiaries on their achievements, described innovation as the lifeblood of any business, any country regardless of social, demographic or economic standing.

She encouraged them to apply the grant towards the next step to their ultimate goal, which is patenting and writing a business plan.

‘‘While the grants that are given to you today are for cry from what you require to take your innovation forward to the next stage which is commercialization and industrialization, I want to encourage you to apply this grant towards that potentially small but important next step to this ultimate goal-patenting, writing a business plan to present to institute that can make substantial funds available to you, making an application to one of our many Technology Incubation Centres in different parts of the country’s capacity building,’’ she said.

‘‘This is how businesses are created and how they thrive and grow. From one innovation or invention from one bright young mind, a viable business is born, jobs are created, people are employed and wealth for nation and for individuals is created.

‘‘Let me congratulate each and everyone of you on this achievement. By receiving this grant, you have in a sense received both an endorsement and a validation of all your efforts. We look forward to receiving about your transition from an innovation to a business.

‘‘For those of you whose innovations and inventions are still in the preliminary or middle stage, we urge you to put in additional effort towards completion on order to provide opportunities to other Nigerians to commercialize and reap the desired benefits from your products,’’ said the Minister.

According to her, vigorous efforts are ongoing to improve the Federal Government’s funding of the PSCII, but added that  collaborations with relevant stakeholders such as Education Trust Fund, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, National Universities Commission, National Board for Technical Education, Raw Material Research and Development Council and the National Planning Commission, are underway to facilitate the achievement of the ultimate goal of the PSCII Programme, which is to provide a solid foundation for a technological break-through in Nigeria.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Rabi Jimetta said right from creation, man has always searched for better ways of doing things in order to  ease and improve his standard of living and socio-economic well-being by using things that are available at his disposal.

According to her, the desire to encourage Nigerians, particularly those in the informal sector of the economy that have outstanding indigenous technologies was based on their inventions that could impact positively on Nigerians and the economy.

She listed some of the objectives of the scheme as encouraging invention and innovation in technology; to examine ay research claims and assess what can be done to take such claims to prototype and commercial level and to suggest how funds could be sourced to finance the various stages of development from inception to prototype and commercialization.

On his part, the Secretary, PSCII and Director of Technology Acquisition and Assessment, Dr. Adeyemi Talabi commended the inventors for their relentless ingenuity, tenacity and commitment to industrializing the country through various researches in science and technology.

He urged them to take advantage of the research outcome to advance the country technologically, through commercialization drive, wealth creation and employment generation. 

Speaking on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mr. Momodu Shaka, who invented an auto fire extinguisher expressed gratitude to federal government and promised to use the fund to translate their inventions into commercial scale. 

The 16 beneficiaries had gone through a careful and rigorous screening and selection process that included 399 applicants (innovators and inventors).

So far, 117 innovators and inventors across the six geo-political zones of the country have received grants ranging from N250,000 to N3 million from this initiative, in addition to the sixteen innovators/inventors that benefited from the 2013 edition of the PSCII grant, that scaled through the operational guidance of the PSCII through the selection process.

Most of the inventions were on automobile, health research, climate change, power sector, agro business among others.

The scheme was established by the Federal Government in October, 2005 to encourage and promote inventions and innovations in Science and Technology from the informal sector of the economy, while also stimulating the interest of Nigerians to use Science, Technology and Innovation tools for national development.

Kingsley Opurum
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Pix: Mrs. Johnson, supervising Minister, Science & Tech