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Bank of Industry and fraud within

Commentary@ITREALMS:  There is massive corruption in the Federal government's Bank of Industry (BoI). The fraud runs into bill...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Bank of Industry and fraud within

There is massive corruption in the Federal government's Bank of Industry (BoI). The fraud runs into billions of naira. The Bank not only trades with cheap government funds meant to support industries and industrial development in Nigeria, it is also defrauding Nigerian industrialists of their hard earned earnings.

If in doubt, the federal government should direct its public service monitoring agency, the Servicom, to ask for a comprehensive listing of all loan applications approved by the BoI and see what percentage of the supposed loan approvals for industries, were ever disbursed within even six months. It should be noted that these are businesses which are qualified and have been duly adjudged, so by the Bank, which goes ahead to collect as much as 14% of the approved loans in upfront cash, but never disburses for as long as two years, without any reasons.

What is worse, is that apart from funds from the federal government through the Central Bank, the BoI is also collecting billions of naira from state governments across the country, for partnership funding for business expansion for small-scale industries in the states and for years, not a dime of such funds are disbursed to any intended beneficiary. The pertinent question may be, who is benefiting from the difference between the five to 10% supposed interest rates to SMEs and the 25% to 35% interest rate commercial Banks are apparently rationing out the funds meant for long term investments for hundreds of businesses, as massive short term loans, to a handful of traders and importers of finished goods.

As a result of this large scale development banking fraud, the economic recovery projections of the government will always be wide off mark. Virtually all federal government ministries and the government's economic indices monitoring agencies, will be basing their economic growth projections on funds already given to the BoI, without knowing that such funds are never released to intended beneficiaries for years.

There are reasons to believe the Central Bank is probably complicit in this evil. The government will be shocked at what will be discovered if it opens up a web portal for example, for disappointed Nigerian businesses, to forward proof of BoI's failure. Such disappointed small, medium or large-scale industrialists should be asked to also detail how much they have paid into special BoI accounts for years, without getting any loans. Yet a chunk of the payments BoI collects from loan-seeking industrialists are non-refundable. The refundable part of the deposits the BoI is fraudulently collecting, are refunded after upwards of two years at less than 10% interest per annum, when even Bank to Bank lending in Nigeria, is at almost 20% for onward lending to end users at as high as 35%.

To be fair, this fraudulent way has probably been the way the BoI had always being doing business. That much is obvious when it is realised that the bank, despite its very low customer base, the Bank had always been competing with major commercial banks in the profits it has been declaring for the past several years.

Please share this as much as possible as we may have identified one of the many reasons our youths will rather endanger their lives, in a poorly calculated risk to smuggle themselves to Europe, than to face the near certainty of penury and ultimate death in Nigeria. The government keeps wondering why, when it has made provisions for so much cash injection into the economy, not knowing that all such funds have been cornered by a few.
With industrialists of all cadres, having no access to the funds the government deliberately set aside for business expansions, there is simply no way more Nigerians can get employment.

*courtesy: O'seun Ogunseitan

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Friday, November 24, 2017

2018: Communications Ministry, NigComSAT vote N158.3m for travels, fumigation

The Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications and one of its affiliate parastatals, the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat) have voted the sum of N158.3 million for travels, fumigation, refreshment and miscellaneous in the 2018 fiscal year, reports ITRealms.

This, ITRealms gathered was contained in the 2018 appropriation bill submitted by the Federal Government to the National Assembly.

According to the reports by Vanguard, the  Ministry and NigComsat have budgeted N48,334,551 for travels; N26,758,697 on fumigation; N42,672,391 on miscellaneous expenses; N8,911,615 on refreshment/meals  and the sum of N31,600,000 on electricity charges.

This amount, ITRealms also gathered, amounts to N14,290,188, which is less than the N172,566,975 approved for the ministry and two agencies only for travelling in the 2017 estimation.

The budget estimate which  allocated N11,716,581,495 for recurrent expenditure and N7,544,159,142 for capital projects, totaling N19.261 billion for the ministry and the two parastatals in the year. This is N510,644,861 higher than the  N18,750,951,876 allocated to the same ministry in 2017.

For the ministry, the total allocation of N6,943,840,661 increased by N19,999,520 from N6,923,841,141 approved for 2017. Of the amount, the sum of N5,544,159,142 is allocated for capital projects, which shows no difference from the same amount allocated for capital projects in 2017,  while N979,681,518 is earmarked for recurrent expenditure, though N20,008,520 higher than N959,671,998 of 2017.

On the other hand, NigCOMSAT, also got an increased allocation of N4,169,826,133  in 2018 compared to N3,911,916,890 approved in 2017. For the capital projects, there was no change from the sum of N1,579,999,999 allocated in 2018 and for the recurrent expenditure, the sum of N2,589,826,134 is allocated , representing N257,909,243 increase from N2,331,916,891 approved in 2017.

On the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), though, there is no capital project cited in the budget estimate, there is an increase of N231,879,998 for the total of N8,147,073,843 from N7,915,193,845 approved  by federal government in 2017, as the  entire amount is allocated to recurrent expenditure.

The ministry got a total of N19,260,749,637 allocation for 2018, about N510 million more than the N18,750,951,876 estimate for 2017.

However, the ministry allocated the sum of N968,786,908 for research and development for the fiscal year.

*Nonye Dom with additional reports from Vanguard

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Pix: Adebayo Shittu, minister of communications & Abimbola Alale, MD, NigComSAT

Answer to Nigeria’s power in your mobile phone says Lumos

The answer to the perennial power problems in Nigeria could be found in your mobile phone, says the Lumos Mobile Electricity Service, reports ITRealms.

The company also said, the complex dilemma of how to power Nigeria dominates politics and economics, yet hundreds of thousands of people are discovering the answer is to literally take power into their own hands.

Lumos equally said it has deployed its 60,000th Y’ello Box, an at-home solar electricity device that lets users gain access to reliable electricity at an affordable price, which combines the power of the sun and your MTN mobile phone to bring a new type of power to Nigeria.

ITRealms reports that this significant milestone means more than 300,000 people right across Nigeria are now benefitting from affordable, reliable, clean electricity, thanks to the Lumos Mobile Electricity service ability to unleash the power of the mobile.

Mobile phones have transformed the way we spend our daily lives. In fact, a recent report declared Nigeria as the ‘world’s most mobilized country’ with more mobile traffic than any other nation. With more and more mobiles, they not only drive our demand for more accessible and reliable power, but they can also help provide the solution.

Lumos Mobile Electricity Service operate in partnership with MTN. Once MTN customers have joined the service, they pay their monthly subscription fee for power from their MTN’s mobile phones air account by texting a simple code. There’s no need for mobile money, bank accounts or expensive machines. This is quick, easy, affordable, quiet and clean.

Mr. John Stephen Akpan, a farmer from Lagos State who purchased the 60,000th system said:

“The Y’ello Box is making a big difference. I was using a noisy, polluting generator, but now that Lumos has arrived, my farm has been transformed instantly.  

“I was surprised at how easy and quick the installation was, and that I was able to start using it straight away.”

Yuri Tsitrinbaum, CEO of Lumos Nigeria said, “The mobile revolution has transformed our need for power, and the mobile electricity service is also going to be a significant part of the answer.”

“The Nigerian economy will thrive if we give people the power they need to succeed. We cannot wait, and we need put power in everyone’s own hands.”

“At Lumos we have built a unique system that uses groundbreaking technology to harness the energy of the sun, capture and store it, and release it thanks to your mobile phone.”

“The energy mix in Nigeria is a complex issue which we all need to work together to solve.  We believe we have created something fantastic that is bringing power to people’s homes and businesses like nothing else before.”

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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PwC 8th power and utilities roundtable underway

The professional services firm, PwC Nigeria, has said that plans to host the 8th edition of its annual Power and Utilities Roundtable, have been reached advanced stage, reports iTRealms.

Head Marketing & Communications  at PwC Nigeria, Ms Delia Asuzu, disclosed this to iTRealms, saying that the event which is part of the firm’s contribution to the on-going reforms in the Nigerian power sector is slated to hold on Thursday 30 November 2017 at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, Lagos.

The theme of this year’s roundtable, according Asuzu in a press statement made available to iTRealms is “The Pathway to Recovery" and will bring together key stakeholders in the power sector to discuss the issues prevalent in the sector with the aim of proffering solutions and charting a pathway forward especially as the country recovers from recession.

Partner and Power Sector leader, PwC Nigeria, Mr. Pedro Omontuemhen said that reliable power supply has somewhat remained a mirage years after the privatization of government owned power assets.

Stressing that, “The challenges include gas supply disruptions, weak transmission infrastructure, inappropriate pricing, power theft, slow grid extension and access to foreign exchange among others.

“For us as a firm, we are committed to helping to solve this important national problem and this informs our hosting of this forum for eight years running. The aim is to bring together stakeholders in the sector, to brainstorm on the issues and come up with viable solutions.”

In addition, he said, to ensure a very robust conversation around the theme, the firm has assembled a rich array of speakers and panelists including policy makers, operators, regulators and financiers among others.

“Their insights as well as the input of the other stakeholders will form the basis of an annual report issued by PwC on the sector providing a guide to unlocking the potential in the sector,” Omontuenhen said.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Michael Ishiguzo: Tale of love, ability in disability


 Michael Ishiguzo, aka Mi3 is a Nigerian amputee playing for Arsenal football team and in the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) national league. In this chat with ITRealms Online, Michael shared his love, determination and travails in demonstration and affirmation that there is truly ability in disability.
A footballer is born:
I am Michael Ishiguzo, aka Mi3. I give all glory, honour, adoration, exaltation and praise to Almighty God, my hope and my strength. In all humility I return all praises to his holy name for all that was, is and yet to be.

I am the only son of my parents Mr Kelvin Ishiguzo and Mrs Catherine Ishiguzo from Imo state, Nigeria. I lost my mother in December 31st 1989 and my father died February 1991.

Football is my life, it is the one thing that I think of in any situation, under any condition or circumstance, I eat, sleep, dream, think, imagine, discuss and play football and had great aspirations because all that I am is embedded in the beautiful game, football.

I have never thought of a day or a time that something else would engulf my entire being like football, because the joy of having the leather grace my feet is the most joyful and wonderful experience I can ever think of.

Little beginnings …:
From the days of little beginnings when before school hours early in the morning in Saint Finbarrs College in Akoka-Bariga, Lagos, playing with the school team before classes resumed every day and after school hours, myself and friends will play our hearts out and completely forget about time at a nearby field at home.
Oh! Such memories of how we tried out skills, tricks, passes and penalties into night fall, before heading home. I played in almost all the youth categories we had back then in Nigeria, the Under 10s, U13 and U15s before my amateur club in the LAFA league (Lagos State Football Association League).
My amateur career was awesome, especially, playing for Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL FC) tailoring my career into professionalism, I finally got a shot at professional football and I signed for Eagles Cement of Port Harcourt in 1996 where I played with some talented and amazing footballers, it is an honour to adorn the teams Green and White colors to represent in my best effort and that was crowned when Stationery Stores came for my services in 1997.
Exploits @Stationery Stores:
My movement to Stationery Stores, the equivalent to Arsenal FC London in terms of followership and fan base, brought more fame and recognition although the money was almost nothing, but I had media attention and mad love from the fans.
I also got a nickname out of my display of skill and play. The name "Cause Trouble" came to be the nickname. It’s not because I am too problematic to manage by the coach or referees, but I was giving my opponents too much to keep up with via my skills and pace, with the caliber of individuals that made up the team I would say; we were untouchable in the league, hence the attention grew further and I was eyeing a bigger dream because I believed in myself to reach the biggest height of my career as a footballer.
The club gave us all a short break and we all went to our various homes, I decided to go to Shell football ground at Adeniran Ogunsanya Lagos, which was my training ground before I made it into professional league to train with some of my friends and old teammates.
A volley from blind side:
It was during this training session, I can still remember, a cross came in from the right wing and I was dashing in from the outside left wing, it was a perfect trademark goal setting for me on a volley normally, as I was about to volley the ball I did not see the opposing defender lunging in with a high foot from my blind side, thus, it was too late to hold back. So, I followed through with the volley and clattered with his high foot.
Then it happened it was a volley I thought I was in the clear to take not knowing the defender was going to lunge in and that high too, so the collision was made and a loud sound of legs against each other was heard and realised I could not move my leg and I knew I had picked an injury almost immediately but did not know how serious it was, when I realised that my leg has broken completely into two, immediately I could see my whole life and dreams go up into the smoke.
Between Igbobi and trado-pedic:
Suggestions were made whether I should go to Igbobi, the National Orthopedic Hospital, but was countered by another saying Igbobi takes longer; and at that time it was almost unaffordable considering the facts that yes, we were playing in the professional league, but the money was barely enough to feed and pay house rents and look after oneself, we were playing for the joy and fame and hoping that we could finally make it by going abroad to showcase our talents, and that there is a trado-pedic who fixes such cases faster and more affordable too.
I was taken to the place and was told that the man in charge had retired back to his home town but his son said he is as good as his father because his father practically taught him the trade and so I became his ‘guinea pig’ offering him my leg to reinstate. He made worse the situation, so I had no other choice but to return to Igbobi, which was meant to be the first point of call, but alas I was told after checking the injury that it has been inflamed and developed Gangrene and is moving from its actual position upwards which translates that the affected leg needs to be amputated or I will lose my life.
I could not come to terms with the fact that my leg will be taken off, I mean amputated. I watch as my dream slipped off me and I can't comprehend the fact that it's reality staring me in the face.
My friends, Jerry Onuachu, Felix Akiojano among other footballers could not contain the sad story, I kept asking questions and I got no answers, why me? Why now? Where did I go wrong? Who did I offend amongst other thoughts, and with no other reason to stall the situation my leg was amputated on April 14th 1997.
A hard pill of April 14:
I had to come to terms with the fact that I cannot play professional football again but it was a hard pill to swallow, i got mad, angry, grumpy and depressed especially when my friends will come and check on me in the mornings before training sessions and evenings after training sessions. I felt left out in the cold and dejected because my whole life has been taken away from me, I did not want to see anyone because that will bring back memories which will translate to tears.
In all sincerity I was done and I convinced myself there was nothing more left for me to live for.
As I was recovering at home I started to put on weight; too much weight that I summoned the courage to go to the gym at the National Stadium, Surulere, to have a feel of the environment and to find a way to keep my weight down, but which honestly, only brought memories and uncontrollable tears to my eyes.
The angel Patrick:
I was in the gym when another amputee walked up to me in the person of Patrick Anieto, the national champion in amputee javelin and discus throws. He encouraged me to hold on to my dream of being a sportsman that if I cannot do my preferred sport, that I can at least make up elsewhere, that he knows amputees are being looked down on in our country but I can be different because he choose to be different too.
It was a hard decision to make, I always see the disabled athletes in the national stadium whenever I come to do my personal training and it was always a sorry sight. I used to feel sorry for them; they train with and in the worst circumstances any athlete could train in. Now how can I, a professional footballer well known come and join these guys sitting on bare floor and rickety chairs to throw javelin and shotput? It was hard to consider. But with my wounded pride, I took his advice and started training with him and other guys and was commended for my catching up and improvements and this was three months after I was discharged from the hospital.
A new athlete is born:
Four days into my taken up the sports, I competed in the Spinal Cord Association of Nigeria (SCAN) National championship and I place 4th in all my events (Javelin, Discuss and Shotput). With that result a new athlete was born.
I was selected to participate in the National Sports Festival that took place in my home state, Imo State, but represented Lagos State and right there I unseated my friend and national champion Patrick in the same sports festival, I won the gold medal with a new national record to my name in the class f42 Men’s Javelin, but felt bad to have won because I just took his glory away from him but was more shocked when he told me, “I deserved it and it was meant to be, if not so, he wouldn't have invited me to be part of the disabled athletes in the first place.”
That decision I thought was hard, happens to be the best decision I have ever made.
Thereafter, it has been from one game to another. I joined the Nigerian disabled athletics in late 1997 and by 1998, I represented Lagos State in the national sports festival, winning a gold in Javelin and Silver in discus. I also went to the All African Games in Johannesburg in 1999, winning silver in Javelin and silver in Discus. In the year 2000, I won 2 silver medals in javelin and discuss in the African Championship for disabled people in Tunisia.
In addition, I was a finalist in Javelin event in the Sydney 2000 paralympic games, but would have had a silver or possibly a gold if I had the enablement (artificial limb) as confirmed by the Australian sports committee.
Footballer re-emerged:
My dream of playing football re-emerged and I encouraged myself to keep the spirit alive; if I can take strange sports and successfully make something out of them, definitely another shot at football will not be a bad idea. So, I took the challenge and owned it like my life depended on it and as we speak I have the pleasure to say I currently play for Arsenal in the community amputee football team and playing in the England Amputee Football Association (EAFA) national league.
I also achieved a feat recently that has never been ventured by anyone on one leg and crutches, a record setting and a bench mark for other amputees to follow and possibly challenge. 
I am very passionate about helping and creating opportunities for Amputees and people with disability in Nigeria. So, I take it personally to host an Amputee football clinic and tournament in Nigeria to create awareness of the abilities in the disabled persons in Nigeria.
Next frontier:
I am seeking sponsorship from companies to organise this event and in return, I will use the event to promote supporting brands further in Nigeria and make them one of companies in Nigeria that actually cares about people with disability in Nigeria.
Mine is a story of tears, sweats and blood, struggle, pain, believe, motivation, support, love and determination. When situation seem to alter your course in life, that is when you need to plot a new one and be determined to work it out to be a reality.
Life will not give you what you think you deserve, rather you have to take it and be sure you have to fight to do so. Positivity has been the major key to my success story apart from God's grace. I learnt in my journey so far that when life throws you down, the only favour you owe yourself is to get back up and keep moving.
There is ability in disability.

*Banji Boye/GEE

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Nigerians readiness for Black Friday, Cyber Monday

November 24 – the date for this year’s Black Friday – is here today. Considered the unofficial beginning of the December shopping season, it will be followed by Cyber Monday. Together, these dates offer major sales opportunities for Nigerian retailers, both online and bricks-and-mortar.

While sales are expected to increase during this time as retailers try to capitalise on the annual tradition of frenzied buying, there are a number of areas to troubleshoot to prevent retail disasters.

For bricks-and-mortar retailers, challenges include crowd control is ensuring their tellers stay online. For online retailers, their priorities lie in the need to prevent overcrowding on their servers, system crashes, and orders getting lost in cyberspace.

One critically overlooked value driver in the retail mix is skilling their employees with basic network system skills, says Alfie Hamid, Regional Manager for Corporate Affairs for Cisco Africa. “Many retailers have missed empowering their own workforces with, for example, digital collaboration tools, real-time customer insights, and virtual assistance. A workforce that is armed with relevant knowledge and insights is also essential to improving the in-store customer experience, a key differentiator for bricks-and-mortar retailers over their online rivals,” says Hamid.

According to research from Cisco, employee productivity technologies can deliver the greatest value for increasing efficiency, optimising the checkout process and improving worker collaboration. Investments in these areas also contribute to improved shopper experiences and increased loyalty. Just 6% of retailers’ 2016 investment priorities were focused on employee productivity use cases, despite research indicating that use cases deliver the greatest return on investment for retailers; in other words, digitisation is a $187 billion (roughly R2,6 trillion) opportunity, according to Cisco.

“The key initiatives that improve employee productivity all rely on a network that understands how people interact, can be customised easily, and can control access irrespective of the device that the employee is using – all things that today’s retail employees demand,” Hamid says.

In retail, investments in workforce digitisation deliver value to operations, the labour equation, and talent retention. Since all of these support new and compelling customer experiences, digitising the workforce enables a value chain that is critical to retail success.

“A focus on technology investments that empower employees takes on a whole new meaning in Nigeria, which already struggles to overcome education and training challenges,” Hamid says. “With digitisation, companies have an opportunity to improve skills across the board in the retail industry, which will contribute hugely to the growth of the country’s economy, whether on Black Friday or throughout the year.”

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Black Friday: Yudala records unprecedented spike in online traffic

The Nigeria’s pioneer online and offline e-commerce company, Yudala, has declared recorded an unprecedented spike in online traffic following the proclamation on Black Friday, as at mid night, reports ITRealms.

The company confirmed to ITRealms that Nigeria shoppers were eager to take their turn at the company’s website, from midnight to be the first to take advantage of the company’s Black Friday offers, describing the traffic as unprecedented.

This year’s edition of Black Friday, a globally celebrated shopping festival, is being marked officially today, Friday November 24th, 2017.

Insights garnered from the shopping activity on the Yudala website show that online traffic on www.yudala.com commenced a steady spike from 11:49pm on Thursday night as early bird shoppers began to lay in wait for the official commencement of the Black Friday midnight rush for deals.

From 12am, traffic on the Yudala website had grossed over 50,000 hits, with shoppers who placed their orders between the hours of 12am – 1am enjoying an additional incentive of free shipping of their orders nationwide. Furthermore, Yudala had made available over 500,000 Early Bird deals on its website for shoppers who place their orders between the hours of 12am – 11:59am today, Friday November 24th.

Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, Vice President at Yudala disclosed that the company was determined to make it a memorable Black Friday for its teeming customers.

“If you are yet to visit the website www.yudala.com, now is the time to do so.  We had Mystery Products up on the website from 12am at 99% off so, from midnight on Friday, we were already processing loads of orders from shoppers who were taking advantage of our early bird deals. Electronics, mobile phones, home appliances, wines and groceries, consumer goods and computing products are among some of the most ordered items. Remember, the Early Bird Deals run till 11:59am today so there is still ample opportunity for many Nigerians to enjoy our unmatched offerings.

“If you miss the early bird deals, then you can take advantage of our Lunch Time Deals which runs from 12pm till 4:59pm today and if you fall into the class of those who prefer to do their Black Friday shopping later in the day, then you can enjoy our Sunset Deals from 5pm till 11:59pm. Also, shoppers who place their orders on the stroke of 11:11am or 12:12pm will get free tickets to the Yudala Christmas party.

“You also stand a chance to spin a wheel of fortune at six Yudala stores in Lagos today to walk home with a free gift. Simply visit any of the Yudala stores in Bode Thomas, Surulere; Admiralty Way, Lekki; The Palms Shopping Mall; Medical Road, Ikeja; Redemption Crescent in Gbagada or the one at Cherub Mall on Lekki-Epe Expressway to experience what Black Friday is all about, courtesy of Yudala.

“No other company offers you all of these mouth-watering options for Black Friday: best prices, mega deals and genuine products. With Yudala, You Live Well,” he concluded.

Interestingly, Yudala is also adding an extra dimension on social media for its walk-in customers.

For shoppers who find their way to the Yudala Experience Store at The Palms Shopping Mall in Lekki today, there is a unique opportunity to follow the “Make a wish” live feed on Instagram at the store.

Yudala has generated loads of frenzy on its Instagram live feed where the company is giving followers a chance to make a wish and see it fulfilled. Many lucky followers have won amazing freebies including laptops, mobile phones, electronics, shopping vouchers and other exciting give-away items through this medium.


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ICT4D Week 2018