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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

NIG begins search for I4J beneficiaries

Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) has announced the request to be a beneficiary or sponsor in its Internet for Jobs (I4J) Initiative, expected to boost employment in the country and create self-reliant jobs.

President of the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, made this disclosure at the end of a session with committee chairmen of the group, which held in Lagos, weekend, saying that every notable strategy have been put in place to ensure that those to be selected as beneficiaries would meet the laid down requirement.

Mr. Ajayi who also is the chief executive PiNet Informatics, said NIG has been reviewing processes since the launch of the initiative on July 12, last year by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe and the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Professor Cleopas Angaye, at a colourful ceremony also held in Lagos, on how best to ensure transparency and best practices in the exercise.

He pointed out that interested Nigerians, especially the youths and upcoming entrepreneurs are encouraged to participant in the initiative by merely submitting their project details through form at www.i4j.nig.org.ng.

“Simply fill a form on I4J website and submit your project, then the relevant committee would evaluate and get back to the owners,” he declared, adding that I4J is a brainchild of NIG designed to critically examine and discover the potentials inherent in the Internet to generate jobs for the populace and transform the nation eventually.

“… Especially the youths into a knowledge society,” he said.

According to him, currently NIG has been able to attract some promoters for the I4J Initiative, which included Zenith Bank Plc, representing the private sector, NITDA and NCC both representing the government of Nigeria in a multi-sectoral partnership formed soon after the initiative was launched.

“As a way of showing commitment towards actualizing the mission and vision of I4J initiative,” Mr. Ajayi said, stressing that NIG vision for I4J, is to use the platform to transform Nigeria into an Information Society where business and government services are available online and the citizens positively engaged in knowledge-driven economic activities.

“I4J is intended to address some challenges facing the nation, especially in the areas of high rate of unemployment and improve upon the current low adoption of Information Technology in Nigerian businesses and governments sectors,” he said.

Mr. Ajayi emphasized that the Initiative is intended to close the widening digital divide between Nigeria and the developed world by way of engaging some Nigerians in the fight against Internet scam.

In addition, he said, I4J strategy is to boost the current low skill and expertise in the area of IT and the inability of good IT business dreams to see the light of the day by attracting startup funding locally, expressing optimism that opportunities abound in the country that could enhance the velocity of changing the nation into an Information Society, if properly harnessed.

“We must not loose sight that Nigerians are highly intelligent and can easily be trained to adopt new technologies. Nigerians are also enterprising and if appropriately motivated can do extremely well in business including online businesses,” he said.

The beneficiaries, he said, would be supported by grants to be managed independently and provided by the sponsors of an I4J initiative project of choice.

“The grant shall not be given in cash to the beneficiary but used to pay for services supported by the I4J initiative. These services include web portal development, training - Information Technology and Entrepreneurship and marketing,” he explained.

He underscored the need for the grant, saying that it would enable beneficiaries to set up online services, which are in demand or may be in demand by their target communities or market.

“The amount of the grant to be given to each beneficiary shall be determined by the sponsor that selects the beneficiary’s project,” he informed.

He, therefore, appealed to individuals, corporate organizations, government; local, state and federal as well as their agencies, to take part in the initiative either as a potential recipient or promoter.

Admission of beneficiaries, he said, would be based on some criterion, with the opportunity for sustainability and contribute significantly to the social and economic development of the country.

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