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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2010: SIM card registration intrigues top issues (1)

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector may have start the year 2010, but top on the list of stakeholders was the SIM card registration writes REMMY NWEKE.
THE year 2010 must have ended with some intrigues topped by the blues emanating from the processes of making Nigerians to see reason for the registration of their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.

Although some considerable progress may have been made, there were some challenges, especially in getting the political class, especially at the National Assembly to initially approve the Federal Government’s nominee for the post of the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Despite this, the year 2010 could be said to have began on a good note with the report coming in from Anambra State that its partnering with the public sector-based Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure provider, Galaxy Backbone Plc, for the provision of internet connectivity with video conferencing capabilities to 110 secondary schools in the state.

This was soon followed with the launch at Awka, the Anambra State capital with the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi endorsing the contract papers alongside the Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe.

Mr. Obi had noted that the initiative was aligned with his drive to develop human capital and turn the state into a 21st century knowledge society through the provision of network connectivity that is accessible to students and teachers at a fast speed in the Anambra State secondary education system.

His administration, Obi said, has demonstrated the commitment to lift the standard of education in the state with this project.

“You may be familiar with our chequerred recent past in this state, but we are making sure that we will bring the state back to its lost glory, restore hope and move education forward to achieve the desired change in this state,” he said.

He further said that his government has commenced the building of 4,000 classrooms across the state, which he described as the largest anywhere in the country, stressing that not long ago, his administration provided 108 schools with generating sets, and now the internet connectivity to 110 secondary schools in the first phase and actualized the plans to move on to Microsoft Academy for the state.

In his comments, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Mr. Ilukwe exhibited confidence that the deal is a demonstration of the governor’s promise and commitment to raise the standard of education in the state, thus affirming that Anambra people would get the best out of the partnership.

Equally in his remark, the Corporate Executive in-charge of States, Education & Development department of the Galaxy, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure commended Gov. Obi for his efforts at upgrading the standard of education in his domain, stressing that it is a revolution in the annals of the nation’s education sector.

The ICT initiative, he said, would foster collaborative relationships between teachers and students in the development, mostly in sharing of content applications and other resources as well as stimulating capacity building among educational institutions in the state.

“We are committed to the Gov. Obi’s vision for the state and when we are able to succeed at this level, the state will be better for it because the governor’s mission is to turn the state into a 21st century knowledge society,” Kazaure asserted.

He explained that the network connectivity initiative would enhance the development of human capital in the state, maintaining that human capital development is the hope of the world, and that the initiative of the governor would ensure growth in the state in the future.

… As UNILAG graduates 6,134, 87 in computer engineering
Messrs Aladesawe, Adeyemi Omololu and Ndukaife, Justus Chukwunonso were on top of their game last year with their emergence as the best graduating students in Computer Engineering from the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Faculty of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

The duo clinched first class honours out of the 87 students that graduated and passed out in First Class division out of the 6,134 that graduated between 2007 and year 2009, whereas in the 2007 and 2008 class in the faculty, there was no first class, while four recorded second class upper credit, two in the second class lower, whereas six were successful in the third class.

Master Ndukaife told correspondent at the graduation ground that he remain grateful to God almighty for making it possible, just as he gave kudos to the school authorities in UNILAG in addition to his parents for standing behind him all through the time.

The duo of Aladesawe and Ndukaife led 40 others in their session to emerge, including nine in second class upper, 17 in second class lower, 13 in third class and one emerging pass in the 2009 set.

ITRealms Online recalls that these awards were in tandem with the University of Lagos Act of 1967, which empowered the university to grant degrees, diplomas, certificates and other distinctions as well as to award medals, prizes and other titles. It also provided that the chancellor shall preside at all meetings of the congregation held for conferring degrees.

As said by the Vice Chancellor of UNILAG then, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi in his address titled “A Dream Come True – Not A Nightmare” noting there were 3,525 graduating students for the 2009 convocation. Even as he explained that in the faculty of Arts for instance, there were 316, Education 470, Environmental Sciences 226, Science 329, Social Science 444 and Distance Learning Institute (DLI) recording 1,740.

The occasion was the conferment of honourary doctorate degrees on eminent Africans, scholars, researchers and seasoned diplomats within and outside the country by the university authorities. Some of the beneficiaries included Dr. Kofi Annan with Doctor of Laws, Prof. C.O. Taiwo, and Prof. Umaru Shehu got Doctor of Science respectively while Chief Emeka Anayoku was decorated with Doctor of Literature.

The year under review also witnessed the chairmanship of the President, Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Chief Samuel Adeleke at the 2010 edition of annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE forum, which focuses on the evolutions on the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

The organizers through the Executive Director, Operations, DigitalSENSE Africa, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, said the best person to take over the chairmanship of the event from Chief Chima Onyekwere, was Adeleke and called to mind that the chairman of Linkserve Group, the pioneer ISP firm in the country, Chief Onyekwere presided over the forum in 2009, while Adeleke is the chairman and chief executive officer, Steineng Limited since January 1999.

She expressed belief that the exploit will be repeated when the 2010 edition of the forum held on Friday, April 16 opened on the ‘Five years of IGF: The way forward for Nigeria’ as part of efforts at preparing Nigeria for the global Internet Governance Forum which held in Vilnius, Lithuania between September 14 and 17, 2010.

In his acceptance speech to preside over the annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE forum, Chief Adeleke regretted not being available during the last year’s forum physically which he said, was followed religiously through the internet.

He also said that there is no doubt the feat of last edition of the forum would be repeated this year given the quality of speakers and attendance as well as the arrangements on ground to make it a success.

Adeleke further commended the organizers of the forum, DSA, for their foresight in finding value in putting such a forum together for the education and enlightenment of Nigerians, especially the internet community in the country, more so on the growing relevance of Internet Governance Forum.

He stressed the need to consistently keep Nigeria and its internet community on their toes at this era where information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have continuously been identified as veritable tool for development.

“We need to mobilize and participate in this forum for our own good and good of our customers using a global best bench mark,” he said.

e-Tax solution:
As the year 2010 gains moment, the Signals Mega Concept (SMC) Limited, an information and communication (ICT) marketing company, introduced Point-of-Sales electronic tax (POS e-TAX) into the Nigerian market. This the Managing Director of SMC, Mr. Benjamin Onigbinde, said POS e-Tax is an electronic tax payment solution that runs on Point of Sales Terminals with designated tax card.

He noted that the proportion of the population that pay tax is very small, insisting that most of them fall under the Pay As You Earn (PAYEE) system; where tax is deducted directly from income, just as the logistics of this tax collection has not made it easy for would-be tax payers to meet this constitutional obligation.

He highlighted some of the challenges to include handling at payment points, security, accountability, and long queues, stressing that for the government’s revenue drive to achieve a maximum to have impact, a system that will make the tax payment easy and convenient needs to be introduced.

Also, Onigbinde said the scope of the solution covers deployment of statewide online Point of Sales (POS) Terminals, production of a special designed tax card, explaining that the solution runs an online sophisticated network system linking tax offices, and other revenue collection agencies to the participating banks.

“POS e-TAX will not only solve the problem of tax collection but will create a database of information that will be valuable to the government,” he said, outlining the benefits to include improving revenue collection, remove cash leakage because there will be no cash payment, improve service delivery and standard, better reach to tax payers and easy to dispense, administrative convenience (easier reconciliation) and more information to assist decision making.

NATCOMS wants a place @ NCC board
The year 2010 saw one of the consumer rights groups in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) wanting a consumer representative in the board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The national president of NATCOMS, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, made this call while evaluating ‘A Decade of NCC’s Telecommunications Consumerism,’ just as he solicited voice call tariff reduction to N20.00.

This, he said, has become vital because it was provided for in the Nigeria Communications Act, arguing that if the operators pay their dues to NCC as stipulated by the Act based on subscribers’ patronage of these operators, it is imperative to have a consumer representation in the board of NCC.

He also cited an instance, with the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), where the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is represented in the board, saying there are several other government agencies, councils, commissions, parastatals that have relevant industry non-governmental organizations on the board.

Another instance, according to him, is the inclusion in the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) a representative of the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) in the board and wanted to know who is representing “the Consumer in the board of NCC as provided for in the Nigerian Communications Commission Act?”

*Continues next week.

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