Wednesday, February 03, 2010

ICT: Shaky start, glorious ending (3)

For the nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, 2009 started on a shaky note but ended gloriously, reports REMMY NWEKE in this review.

Ndukwe recipe for economic meltdown, says IT is panacea:
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, in the year under review said that deployment of Information Technology (IT) is the panacea for executives to scale through the current economic meltdown.

Speaking at the Abuja branch of the Institute of Directors (IOD), entitled: 2009 Information and Technology Evening, Dr. Ndukwe said advancement in modern technology has put Nigeria at par with the rest of world, maintaining that Nigerian Directors, whether in Public or Private practice have no excuse to fail, because they have equal enablement like their counterparts in any other part of the world.

Ndukwe also said the Directors have the advantage of the assembling these technologies, which if properly harnessed, could lead to efficiency and heightened productivity. “The primary responsibility of Senior Executives and Directors is to run the affairs of their organizations efficiently by employing the most modern of facilities that enhance efficiency and consequently lead to better corporate performance,” Ndukwe counseled.

The liberalization of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in 2001, he noted led to widespread availability and networks, enumerating that some of the tools to include Blackberry, iPhone, Universal Serial Bus (USB) Modem Stick, Enterprise Application Software, Mobile Enterprise/Applications (Mobile ERP) e-Business Tools, e-hr, e-Audit, e-Banking and Internet Banking, among others, properly harnessed would lead to productivity gains and workflow efficiencies.

He pointed out, this could only happen when Executives have access to their e-mails, calendars, and documents at a moment’s touch.

Services powered by 3G technology, he said are almost identical to the data storage USB sticks, which enable the user to browse the web, send e-mails and download large files at high speed.

He was firm that business executives cannot succeed without using ICT for businesses, noting that even with the presence of secretaries and Personal Assistants (PAs), gone are the days when executives can successfully work without the use of ICT business tools.

Titans of Tech expo’09
Stakeholders were treated to the 2009 edition of Titans of Tech expo which held in Lagos in the second quarter just as led organizer and Managing Consultant, Technology Africa, Don Pedro Aganbi, said some of those enlisted for the expo include Zinox Technologies, Systemtech and Karox.

He said that there was a strong indication that the number of exhibitors for the Titans of Tech 2009 expo and conference which held on April 7 and 8 exceeded earlier expectation as Information and Communications Technologies firms scrambled for space.

He also said that the like of Programos Software and Signal Alliance, have since booked their place for the exhibition.

“They join a hugely exciting list of companies which include Chams Plc, Wadof Software, Omatek Computers, Teledom Group, New Horizon, Helios Towers, NIIT among others,” he said, stressing that the focus of the Titans of Tech 2009 was on enabling Nigeria and Nigerians to harness the benefits of creating a converged economy.

The event took place between Wednesday 7 and Thursday, 8 April at the Muson Centre, in Lagos with the theme: “Realising the Potentials of a Converged Economy”.

Minimal meltdown impact:
Just as Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) experts, had predicted that though the global economic crunch is real, its impacts would be minimal in a developing economy like Nigeria. They also said that demand for ICT product and services may decline despite that ICT remains an enabler for the survival of other sectors of the economy, thus an economic issue.

Chief executive officer, The Executive Cyberschuul, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu and Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Dr. Okey Ugweje, agreed that though the global economic meltdown is real, its impact would not be felt so much in Nigeria.

Both spoke at the two-day seminar at the Centre for Management and Development (CMD) Lagos, organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Lagos Council in conjunction with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Global Economic Meltdown: Effect on ICT with focus on ICT and Telecommunications Fundamental.

Ugweje in his submission, noted, that ICT sector may suffer set back in terms of lack of fund to continue on-going projects or no immediate fund to commence a new one.

“Existing projects would suffer because there would be no fund for sustaining them,” he said, pointing out, however, that predictions have shown that this year the meltdown effect would continue till next year, when things may be reversed, asserting that the effect on the Nigeria’s economy, especially ICT sector was negligible.

Titi Omo-Ettu in his remarks said that what else is expected of anyone who is already down, stressing that he does not expect such economy like Nigeria to fall below where it was before the crunch became pronounced.

Also, the impact of the current economic meltdown across the world invariably hit the popular Computer Village in Ikeja-Lagos, as traders and dealers alike complained of low patronage.

Some traders who spoke to ITRealms Online at first quarter in 2009, attributed the lull in business to the impact of the economic meltdown and the rise in the dollars which at that time exchanged for about N185 to a dollar.

For instance, the Chief executive, Amen Computer Network, Mr. Gabriel Igwe, noted that as at the end of first quarter of 2008, his firm recorded a turnover of over 100 million naira, but in 2009, nothing has happened as he was unable to take delivery of a single container since January, 2009.

“Can’t you see that my staff and the labour men are all idle? If you were here this time last year you will hardly find a place to stand,” he lamented, adding that the devaluation of the Naira coupled with the activities of men of the Nigerian Customs were not helpful for business like his.

He called on the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria, to do everything possible about the situation as this could lead to social insecurity.
Win ‘n’ Rule promo:

The first quarter was exciting for subscribers on Glo network as some of them went home smiling with various prizes in its Win ‘n’ Rule promo. One of the winners, who spoke after receiving his prize, a BMW car, Mr. Toyin Ogunse noted that Globacom has created jobs and wealth opportunities, hence, Globacom is doing well.

A retired teacher, Mr. Balogun Wakil Olasupo and a Physics postgraduate student of the University of Lagos, Mr.Ologolo Ahmed, who were among 12 winners who received their prizes also commended the Glo on the promo.

For Mr. Olasupo, Globacom is making life easier for ordinary Nigerians, stressing that the network has quality, hence, he was proud of the Nigerian service provider.
For Mr. Dolapo Alo, a marketing executive with a Nigerian bank, FCMB, who received his Peugeot 307 car prize at the Union Bank Sports Centre previously, spoke in the same vein.

“Globacom has positively affected lives, empowering Nigerians economically locally and internationally,” he said.

Apart from the BMW 3-series that was taken home by Mr. Toyin Ogunse, Peugeot 307 saloon cars went to Mrs. Chinyere M. Patrick and Mr. Adiele Maximus. Others who drove home in brand new Kia Rio saloon cars they won were Mrs. Esther Olanrewaju Ajibade, Kazeem Segun, Adegoke Adesola Fakoya, Kolawole Maye, Aremu Olusola, Morufu Oluwo and Hassan Mohammed.

Nigeria needs ICT-savvy leader:
Obviously concerned with the on-going hullaballo in the leadership of the country ahead of the 2011 general elections, telecommunications expert and chief executive, The Executive CyberSchuul (TEC), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, advocated that Nigerians should look out for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) savvy politicians as a way toward transforming the nation into an ICT- driven society.

Omo-Ettu, who spoke at the annual lecture of the Titans of Tech, on the theme, “Realizing the potentials of a converged economy” held at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre, Onikan-Lagos, said that for the nation to sustain the tempo of its ICT development, there is need to forecast into the future.

According to him, the gains of ICT, have increasingly become obvious to the common man and rural dwellers in the country, thus making it imperative that the populace would channel their choice of candidature for political positions with caveat emptor - a condition.

This, he outlined to include that Nigerians should look carefully and individually consider the ICT inclination of the candidates before casting of their votes. “And we consider that 2011 should be a turning point when we should subtly canvass that those who will rule us must be ICT savvy,” he said.

The only available tool towards achieving this critical mission, he said, is to amplify the progress so far recorded in the industry, pointing out that players in the industry must join forces to see to the actualisation of this laudable dream.

Omo-Ettu further said that the onus is on Nigerians to hold the leaders, especially the political class accountable.


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