" ITREALMS: December 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Zinox boss wants consolidated budget for ICT ministry

The chairman of Zinox Group, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh has advocated for a consolidated budget for the newly created Communications Technology Ministry, just as he canvassed for

Reviewing the year 2011, Dr. Ekeh said that one thing that happened in the Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector was sensitization of the populace, which began with the use of data capturing machines by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of the electoral process.

According to him, the data capturing process involves Nigerians availing the government their records and they see it happening, hence the awareness has been created on what technology and particularly computers could do.

In addition, he said that the creation of Communications Technology Ministry by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) should be seen as a plus for the country and for the sector precisely.

Ekeh also cited an instance with the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) being managed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), saying that USPF has been consistent in discharging its mandate, especially now that it’s deploying two digital libraries in each of the states of the federation.

He, therefore said that the budget for ICT is not yet consolidated among the ministries and if done it would usher in a good omen for the country.

He expressed optimism that the education sector would do well if automated and backed with relevant content.

According to him, students from poor homes should be able to have access to education, because they may choose to study from home instead of going to be resident in schools, which cost additional money and still take same examinations.

He lamented that most companies collapsing today were due to lack of capacity building.

He commended the federal government for creating the Ministry of Communications Technology, adding that the broadband strategy of the ministry led by Mrs. Omobola Johnson is achievable, but there must be buy-in by the private sector under the Public-Private Partnership.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Juwah reassures on telecom quality service delivery

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah has assured telecommunication consumers in the country of high service delivery in the coming years.

Juwah gave this assurance at a one-day first open forum of the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) in Lagos.

The EVC who was represented by the executive commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi, reaffirmed of NCC’s commitment to ensure efficient service delivery in the country’s telecom sector.

He also assured of NCC determination to protect telecoms consumers and sundry stakeholders from unfair practices.

The event which theme was on “Service Delivery in the Telecoms Industry: Milestones, Problems and Prospects” he said, was in line with the focus of NCC as the regulator, towards ensuring that the interest of the consumer is protected at all times.

According to him, there is a paradigm shift from mere service provision towards ensuring that consumer satisfaction ranks highest in the priorities of the commission as a nation in the provision of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) goods and services and the forum earnestly seeks ways towards achieving this primary objective.

NCC, he said, is poised and would not relent in protecting the interests of the consumers, be it in facilitating investment, ensuring national spread, facilitating rural access, licensing new operators, holding consumer outreach programs and consumer parliaments, ensuring service availability, affordable and quality service parliament that would benefit targeted consumers.

He highlighted the overall objective of the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum to include acting in an advisory capacity, make recommendations to the commission regarding the interests and concerns of consumers of ICT products and services, as well as persons with disabilities and the elderly, in addition to submitting memoranda on and facilitate the review of the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.

A member of House of Representatives Committee on Communication, Hon. Lara Omidiran while commending NCC for being very active in safeguarding the interest of the consumers pointed out that ICAF members are the link between the NCC and the people.

She also explained that the customers need somebody to also be the ears and eyes to the regulator as put by her, there is no way the NCC could know everything and pledges that the law makers would continue to give the necessary support that would bring about efficient service delivery in the sector.

The chairman, Industry Consumer Advisory Forum and director general, Consumer Protection Council, Mrs. Ify Umenyi noted that the telecommunications industry in Nigeria has grown in leaps and bounds within the last 10 years of the inception of Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) services as the number of telephone lines have risen from about 400,000 to over 80 million.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

MTN paints Nnewi ‘Yello @ Ofala’11

The telecommunications giant in the country, MTN Nigeria has painted the ancient town of Nnewi in Anambra State with its ‘Yello colour in take off for the 2011 Ofala of Igwe P.A. Orizu.

Confirming this, the General Manager, Consumer Marketing at MTN, Mr. Kola Oyayemi, said this  is in line with the position of the brand to show commitment in the promotion of cultural values and heritage of the people where it operates.

The festival, ITRealms Online gathered heralds the 48th Ofala Igwe Nnewi Festival, which is billed to hold at the palace of His Royal Highness, Igwe P.A. Orizu, in Nnewi, Anambra State starting today, Wednesday, 28 and Thursday, 29 December, this year.

Oyeyemi also expressed the company’s resolve towards the development of indigenous cultures and communal bonds.

“MTN has over the years been championing the effective sponsorship of various cultural festivals within the country in a bid to demonstrate its brand promise and to demonstrate its passion to enrich the lives of Nigerians,” Oyeyemi said.

The annual Ofala Nnewi festival, he noted has enjoyed MTN sponsorship for five consecutive years, and is a celebration of the social values and legacy of the Nnewi community.

“It features a variety of colourful activities and the participation of numerous illustrious Igbo sons and daughters including tourists and Nigerians in the diaspora,” he said.

MTN, Oyayemi pointed out is supporting a variety of activities built around the Ofala Festival such as dancing competition for age-grades, coming out of the “retreat” of the Igwe Nnewi, civic reception and other activities targeted at its various market segments.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

CBN reduces ATM fraud by 99% – Tunde Lemo

Deputy Governor, Operations at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Tunde Lemo has disclosed that the apex financial institution in the country has cut down the incidence of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) frauds by 99 per cent.

Lemo in a keynote address to the seminar organized by the Committee of e-Banking Industry Heads (CeBIH) in Lagos recently, on ‘Payment Systems Transformation – Key Priorities’ said this reduction was achieved by the setting up of ATM Fraud Prevention Group earlier in 2011 by CBN.

“It is also important to note that the ATM Fraud Prevention Group convened earlier this year, was successfully able to drive down ATM fraud incidences by 99 per cent,” he declared.

Lemo also said that the inauguration of this group enabled the introduction of the more secure CHIP & PIN cards versus the magstripe cards that were formerly in use in the industry.

The success of this group, he noted, demonstrated practically what could be achieved as an industry when working together to address issues, for the good of the system and the public at large.

The CBN, he further said, recognizes that innovations in payments system require institutional support; hence, the issuance of relevant rules and regulations in order to provide a level playing field for all stakeholders in the retail payments industry.

Consequently, Lemo said, the CBN has commenced the review of the some guidelines including those on transactions switching, regulatory framework for mobile payments, National Central Switch Operations Rules.

Other guidelines, he listed were earlier issued comprising those of Point of Sale (POS), guidelines on Stored Value Card and Prepaid Card Issuance and the regulatory and supervisory framework for the operations of credit bureau provide requisite regulatory support.

These guidelines, according to him, were aimed at fostering consensus and cooperation amongst a broad number of payments service providers and increase public confidence in the system, among others.

The deputy governor pointed out that notwithstanding the progress made so far, the Nigerian payments system and settlements are still facing some constraints which include infrastructural challenge such as epileptic power supply, slower adaptation to new initiatives, human capacity challenge as well as high level of illiteracy especially in the rural areas.

“It is however, expected that the full implementation of the Payments System Vision (PSV) 2020 project complemented by government efforts at reforming the power sector would address these challenges,” he said.

Equally, he said its pertinent to note that most payments systems evolve based on the peculiarities of their environment and as such global best practices are being adapted to fit individual environments.

In this regard, the ‘global best practices’ would be adapted to the Nigerian environment in order to ensure that CBN create systems that would work for Nigerians and not against the Nigerian state.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Nigeria is destined to be an economic power and a force to be reckoned with in the global economic arena if we consistently do the right things at the right time,” he assured.

He submitted that CBN is committed to ensuring a virile and stable financial system, so as to achieve this objective via taking proactive policy actions in the areas of financial system stability, national payments system, currency management and price stability.

Lemo, therefore, implored stakeholders in the nation’s payment system to closely work with the banks in the interest of sustainable national development.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

MTN unveils ePresence International

MTN Nigeria has launched the international aspect of its electronic presence (ePresence).

Disclosing this, the Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer (CESO), Mr. Babatunde Osho said that this means that customers could now do business beyond borders in a cost effective manner using this platform.

According to him, on March 9, 2010, MTN had introduced ePresence in collaboration with Cisco Telepresence to offer this service in-country.

This, he said, was the first of its kind in the sub-Saharan Africa, which was named MTN ePresence.

“We are glad to say that organizations can now set up meetings with their international business partner and colleagues, have medical consultations and hold training sessions with people in locations across the world just as they would, if they were in the same room,” he said.

Mr. Osho said that MTN Business is excited and proud to offer this service in partnership with Cisco and Tata Communications as well as Resourcery, which owns telepresence public rooms in major cities across the world such as China, New York, London, Dubai and India to name a few.

He outlined some of the features of this unique offer to comprise that MTN ePresence now offers a data sharing facility, which allows customers using the service to view presentations and other documents at the same time in all locations on separate screens during the sessions.

Also, he said that MTN ePresence could now be installed in various offices at client’s premises and not just their boardrooms.

This, he said is through a cost efficient model which consists of smaller screens and simpler installation requirements.

“This means C-level executives can meet with their counterparts, business partners across the world from the comfort and convenience of their offices,” he said.

Additionally, he said MTN ePresence scheduling website portal is now accessible to all customers, hence customers could schedule meetings by themselves at their convenience and easily make payments using their credit cards and other means.

“This makes it faster and less dependent on any third parties,” Osho said.

He maintained that innovation is the competitive edge in today’s telecom industry and MTN has gained a new perspective with the introduction of MTN ePresence international as customers could now meet business partners overseas without the need to having or securing a travel visa.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Etisalat appreciates customers with end-of-year ball

Etisalat has appreciated its customers with the organizing of an end of year ball for them in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Director, Regulatory & Government Affairs at Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, said the hosting of the royal ball was an avenue to express appreciation to the customers who have been the centre of the Etisalat business.

“Undoubtedly, customers are significant contributors to any business. No matter how innovative or affordable an organization’s products and services may be, its survival would be threatened without the support of the customers,” he said. Stressing that Etisalat uses this occasion to extend gratitude to all customers who were bold enough to try relatively young brand and whose support has kept the mobile company in business.

A customer, Mr. Emeka Ejiofor, commended Etisalat for an unforgettable night of fun and for building a premium and reliable network in this challenging environment.

The highlights of the event was a dancing competition amongst the guests where customers won the latest Samsung Galaxy Note while lots of other guests won prizes for the best dressed people at the grand event.

The event was well attended by notable guests among who are the Executive commissioner, stakeholder management of the NCC, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi, Director of consumer affairs of the NCC, Mary Uduma amongst others.

ITRealms Online recalls that in the last three years of operations, Etisalat Nigeria has become a major industry player with a growing subscriber base of over 10 million in a highly competitive market.

Its portfolio of voice and data-centric products include – easy starter, easycliq, elite world and easynet all tailor-made to meet the needs of its subscribers. For its outstanding performance, it has won it several awards including ‘Brand of the Year’, ‘Best Telecom Customer Service’ Telecom Innovations Company of the Year, and ‘Most Innovative Corporate Social Responsibility Company’, among others.

Etisalat Nigeria is one of the 18 operations of the Etisalat Group that spans across Africa, Middle East and Asia serving over 135 million subscribers; and it is committed to delivering innovative and quality services to its growing subscribers.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Featured post @ITREALMS

NDSF@15: Ojo, Adebayo, Nnamani, Ekuwem, Nwannenna, Odusote join DigitalSENSE Hall of Fame - ITREALMS

ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news! The Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, Mr. Edetaen Ojo alongside the chairman,...