" ITREALMS: October 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Confirmed! John Mahama to deliver Realnews 7th annual lecture in Lagos - ITREALMS

Former President, Republic of Ghana, His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, has been confirmed as guest lecturer at the Seventh Anniversary Lecture of Realnews Magazine on Tuesday, November 19, at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos, reports ITREALMS.

Mahama would be speaking on the theme: “Beyond Politics: An Economic Narrative for West Africa” just as there are subtheme “The End of Oil: Wither the Nigeria Economy.”

Publisher, Realnews online Magazine, Maureen Chigbo, said "Our choice of the 2019 topic and sub-theme was informed by the need to escalate and broaden the conversation on the economic challenges facing the region with Nigeria as its economic powerhouse, and Africa in general, with a view to teasing out lasting solutions and against the background of the recently endorsed Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).

She also said that Mahama’s impressive antecedent and vast experience in governance and leadership in policy formation and implementation across disciplines, including agriculture, communications, environment and politics, puts him in a good stead to do justice to the topic, especially at this critical juncture of West Africa’s struggles on the path to regional development and integration.

With Dr Mansur Muhtar, Vice President, Country Operations, Islamic Development Bank and former Nigerian finance Minister as Chairman, this year’s annual lecture will bring together policy and decision makers from the private and public sectors, academia and civil society, including the media.

Like in previous occasions, it will also feature a stimulating Panel Discussion by experts with guaranteed audience participation.

Born in Damongo in the Damango-Daboya Constituency of Northern region of Ghana, into a political leadership tradition, Mahama is the first President of Ghana to be born after the country’s independence.

A former Minister of State and Member of Parliament, he studied history and communications in Ghana with a major in social psychology in his postgraduate education in Moscow, the former Soviet Union.

Realnews past anniversary lecturers include Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria INEC, (2018); Dr (Mrs) Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education and Vice President, World Bank (2017), Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head, United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (2016); Professor Chukwuma Soludo, former Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, (2015), and Professor Maurice Iwu, former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, (2014).

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Ghana targets 2022 for ban on rice importation - ITREALMS

The West African country of gold-coast, Ghana is targeting 2022 for ban on rice importation, reports ITREALMS.

Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Nyarko Osei, made this disclosure in an interview with Kwame Tutu on “Anopa Nkomo” on Accra-based Kingdom FM 107.7 show and monitored in Lagos by ITREALMS.

“We import billion dollars of rice into the country, but the Agric Ministry, led by Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, is determined that by the end of 2022 we will stop importing rice from other countries based on our projections. The two crops we are focusing on are rice and soya; soya because of the poultry industry and rice because of import substitution,” he said.

ITREALMS recalled that Ghana recently put pressure on Nigeria to open its borders for goods from other countries. Noteworthy was that Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari recently ordered the closure of his country's borders to stem the importation of goods with local substitutes, especially rice.

Reports had it that the Republic of Benin, which does not consume parboiled rice, is the perhaps the largest importer of the rice type through its ports.

The border closure came after years of ban by the Central Bank of Nigeria of access to foreign exchange by importers of 43 prohibited products.

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, retired Colonel Hameed Ali, said within one week of the closure of Nigeria’s borders, over 500,000 bags of locally manufactured rice that had been lying in warehouses of the producers were sold.

ITREALMS gathered, constitutes some 82 per cent of Ghana’s import, thus accounting for $1 billion, which is about 2 per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to Ghana’s Deputy Trades Minister, Robert Ahomka Lindsay.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Vodafone Egypt restarts business support system deal with Ericsson - ITREALMS

Vodafone Egypt has extended partnership with Ericsson to transform the service provider’s Business Support System (BSS) into an industrialized, real-time converged environment, reports ITREALMS.

In addition, upgrades to the latest versions of Ericsson Charging and Ericsson Mediation will facilitate a seamless evolution towards 5G/IoT readiness by helping Vodafone Egypt meet customer demands with new offers, strengthen competitiveness, enable flexibility to meet market demands, and reduce co sts through streamlined operations.

In the ongoing contract, Ericsson is responsible for solution design and deployment as well as competence development. Ericsson’s BSS solution enables Vodafone Egypt to offer a wider range of unique services including real-time promotions and notifications, product and services cross bundling, real-time cost control for postpaid subscriptions, subscriber personalization, and flexible mobile wallets.

Alexandre Froment-Curtil, Vodafone Egypt CEO says: “In line with our commitment to innovate, and our strategy focusing on Digital transformation, Vodafone Egypt aims to ensure that we actively reduce time-to-market in a way that would not affect customer experience. Ericsson's billing solution has played a role in enabling our customers to enjoy our new services more quickly and efficiently.”

The extended contract allows Vodafone Egypt to focus its efforts on product development while having clearer visibility and more control over capital and operating expense.

Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East & Africa, says “As Vodafone Egypt's long-standing digital transformation partner, we are supporting them in realizing their vision of fully-converged business and differentiated customer experience. Our end-to-end convergent Digital BSS solutions enable our partners to meet the ever-increasing consumer demands, and secure more efficiencies through streamlined operations.”

Two billion subscribers are supported by the Ericsson’s world-class BSS offerings, helping service providers address new opportunities that demand the right offer at the right moment.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Supreme Court Verdict: Tinubu says ‘Today we moved closer to APC dream’ - ITREALMS

The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari over the affirmation of his reelection by the Supreme Court, declaring that it moves the country closer to APC dream, reports ITREALMS.

“The rule of law conclusively affirmed the collective voice of the people by dismissing the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The sun rose high in the Nigeria sky today to shine its light over the entire land,” he said in a personally signed press statement made available to ITREALMS.

Asiwaju Tinubu also commended PDP and Atiku “for the energetic electoral campaign they conducted and for their tenacious pursuit of what they believed was their legal remedies.”

He said the PDP and its former presidential candidate should now channel the energy and intellect deployed in the electoral and legal processes toward joining APC “to move this nation more rapidly and assuredly forward.”

The statement entitled “Presidential Election: Supreme Court Affirms Will of The People” read:

“On February 23, the people tendered the foremost expression of their sovereign, democratic will by voting for the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari. Today, the rule of law conclusively affirmed the collective voice of the people by dismissing the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The sun rose high in the Nigeria sky today to shine its light over the entire land.

“This decision and this day will be recorded as important milestones on Nigeria’s insuperable march toward perfecting democracy and the rule of law across our land. Democracy has been affirmed and strengthened. By its ruling, the Supreme Court also affirmed that the rule of law is paramount; that the law is to be applied objectively, without regard to fear, friend or foe. The law is the law. Nothing is to be added to it and nothing subtracted from it. No one should enjoy undue favor or suffer unjust prejudice from its application.

“I thus commend the Supreme Court for its expeditious and highly competent treatment of this important matter. In so doing, it undergirded its reputation as the highest court in the law and the ultimate guardian of the rule of law in our nation. By extension, I must recognize the vast majority of the judiciary for the impartial administration of justice in electoral and other matters. Improvements are still needed in some areas but we have come far and are faced in the right direction.

“I congratulate President Buhari and the entire APC on a well-deserved legal affirmation of a hard-won electoral victory. The victory is a result of the President’s hard work and of the trust the people have in him as a committed leader. With these electoral and legal victories now behind us, the APC must give due honor to the faith the people have reposed in us. They expect us to govern in a way that produces the shared prosperity and enlightened future they deserve. We must commit ourselves fully to this profound and august task.

“I must also give due respect to the PDP and former VP Atiku for the energetic electoral campaign they conducted and for their tenacious pursuit of what they believed was their legal remedies. Although they lost at the polls, they did not seek to overturn the system. Instead, they respected the system that had so often decided in their favor in previous elections and judicial proceedings.

“They behaved like good democrats by seeking redress through the courts as is their right. This was the legal and moral thing to do. Although we are political opponents, I must commend them for following the pathways of democracy and peaceful, legal resolution of their grievances. This is as it ought to be. In an election there can only be one winner. By conducting themselves as they have, the PDP may not have gained the verdict they wanted in court.

“However, the verdict of history will be that their comportment thus far has helped strengthen our political democracy and its legal safeguards. I pray that they recognize the importance of this and that this service to the nation provides them a degree of solace going forward. I ask them to now channel the formidable energy and intellect they deployed in the electoral and legal processes toward joining with us, to the extent possible, to move this nation more rapidly and assuredly forward. As I stated before, I know the magnanimity of President Buhari. His hand is extended to them in friendship and cooperation. For the good of the nation, I urge them to take it.

“Most importantly, it is fitting to commend the people of Nigeria. You are a law-abiding and good people. You voted in peace and good faith and you awaited the judicial process in like manner. You expect nothing from government but what it ought to do for you. You are the backbone and best hope of our land. President Buhari and the APC shall work for your benefit and on your behalf in order to realize our common dream of a better nation.

“Today we moved a step closer to that dream.”

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy: Beyond the nomenclature - ITREALMS

The Federal Ministry of Communication has a new name. It will henceforth be known, called and referred to as the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy. When the news broke last week that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the name change, there was plenty of cheers and jeers.

In itself there is nothing wrong with a name change. In fact, this change takes cognizance of emerging global trend. It shows awareness of the growing significance of the place of digital technologies in modern societies. It also seeks to take advantage of the development. At face value, this name change definitely looks like a good thing.

This makes sense especially when one considers that the world, itself, is changing. This change is driven largely by the wide spread deployment of digital technology infrastructure which is in fact, a huge contribution in changing how humans live, work and plan.

Experts in different parts of the world insist that the wide spread deployment of digital technology is hugely transforming industries and spurring unprecedented socio-economic development. New and emerging technologies enable and precipitate unimaginable innovations at near breakneck pace.

These days, it is obvious that innovations arrive every day to make life easier. For example, digital technology makes it so much easier and faster to transact businesses across borders. Digital technology continues to breaks borders and reshape boundaries. Today, it is creating a connected society that is the basis of the emerging digital economy.

The digital economy is the economic activity that results from everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data, and processes. It is said that, “The backbone of the digital economy is hyper-connectivity which means growing interconnectedness of people, organisations, and machines that results from the Internet, mobile technology and the internet of things (IoT).”

According to report by the World Economic Forum, “By 2022, over 60 percent of global GDP will be digitised. Indeed, an estimated 70 percent of new value created in the economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled platforms.” It is clear therefore that digital economy is already upon us.

Thankfully, Nigeria is abreast of the trends. Experts say it is as a result of the dedication to massive investment in digital communication infrastructure by the telecommunications companies. In close to two decades, conservative estimates put the figure at over $40 billion. A direct manifestation of this investment is the number of mobile subscribers currently, over 172 million according to figures from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Despite this growth, a lot more still needs to be done. Take, internet penetration which stands at about 50 percent. A massive 50 percent of the population are still out of the internet loop. Internet access must become ubiquitous to get more people into the digital economy. This is the only way people can possibly partake and benefit.

Consider, Electronic Commerce (e-commerce). It has taken off with a blast in the country. It is now an area of global investor confidence in Nigeria. The Euromonitor International Market Research reveals that e-commerce advancements have been most notable in Nigeria because of the surge in telecom investments and smartphone purchases which have fueled growth in internet usage.

In addition, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) cashless policy initiative also helped to drive uptake as it is precipitating new and exciting payment options. These are the building blocks of the digital economy – digital infrastructure, internet connection and effective e-commerce along e-payment systems.

The above is precisely why talks of taxing e-commerce transactions by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is abhorrent. This will thwart the efforts to encourage the growth of digital economy in Nigeria. The Ministry of Communication and the Digital Economy must quickly address the issue and nip it in the bud.

The Nigerian government is big on ease of doing business. The latest report justifies the commitment and effort the government is making. Progress is been made. More still needs to be done however. Undoubtedly, the proposed e-commerce tax negates this well thought out policy drive and should be jettisoned.

Unarguably, in today’s world, access to broadband should be a human right. It should be given priority by the government in order to improve access across the country and be completely affordable. To encourage interest in the sector, the government must actively consider subsiding investment in the digital space. It should consider tax breaks and other incentives.

Evidently, the emergence and nurturing of activities in the digital economy are key for diversification of the economy. So, in order to demonstrate its seriousness in this regard, the government must support efforts, particularly by the private sector, to grow the digital economy. Perennial issues around right-of-way approval, multiple taxation and the designation of telecom infrastructure as critical national infrastructure worthy of special protection must be pursued until actualised.

Dr. Isa Pantami, the Minister-in-charge of the renamed ministry, was absolutely right when he insinuated that “The name change will properly position and empower the ministry to fulfill its digital economy objectives. It will further expand the ministry’s mandate to capture the goals of digitalisation of the Nigerian economy in line with the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP), one of the key agenda of the present administration.”

However, beyond the name change, the ministry must demonstrate greater understanding of the issues, show stronger support for players in the sector and must be seen to encourage policies that promote the growth of the sector.

In a year’s time, Nigerians must be able to look back and say the name change was worth it. The citizens should be able to celebrate real net impacts beyond the nomenclature!

This is how to grow the digital economy!

*Elvis Eromosele, a Corporate Communication professional and public affairs analyst writes from Lagos.

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Obu Cement, CCNN to merge as BUA Group consolidates - ITREALMS

To consolidate position as one of the largest cement conglomerates on the continent, BUA Group’s Obu Cement Company plc has merged with Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc (CCNN), reports ITREALMS.

Disclosing this in a filing to regulators, BUA also revealed its newest 3 million metric tonnes cement plant which it started constructing in 2018 worth $450million dollars, the Sokoto Kalambaina II plant, which is scheduled for completion in H2, 2020.
ITREALMS gathered that with this addition of the Sokoto Kalambaina II plant, this will bring BUA Cement’s total installed capacity across all its cement holdings to 11 million MTPA.

Commenting, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Founder & Executive Chairman of BUA Group, said that this consolidation marks the culmination of the first phase of the BUA mid-term strategic plan for its cement businesses, which currently include four cement plants spread across Obu Cement Company and the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria. A new $450million Sokoto Kalambaina II Plant is scheduled to come on stream in the second half of 2020 alongside another 48MW power plant to complement the existing assets and take advantage of a growing cement market in Northern Nigeria and the West African region, Rabiu said.

“This consolidation will cement BUA’s position as the second largest cement producer in Nigeria whilst also positioning it to take advantage of the combined synergies to effectively serve Northern and Southern Nigeria based on the strategic locations of these plants – as well as a sizeable export market. “We intend to continue creating value for the benefit of shareholders of the consolidated company by maintaining our focus on outperforming the Nigerian cement industry across key indices through a laserlike commitment to excellent products and service delivery, operational efficiency as well as maintaining our leadership position in our home markets,” Rabiu also said.

Analysts predict that this will put BUA Cement in a stronger position to compete even better and explore export opportunities in neighboring countries.

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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Kaspersky backs Paris Peace Forum 2019 - ITREALMS

The Paris Peace Forum is back for a second edition with the support of Kaspersky, reports ITREALMS.

Kaspersky said it will be supporting and joining this second edition, to present its 'Global Transparency Initiative, a cornerstone of its commitment to a more secure digital future, reports ITREALMS.

This forum, ITREALMS gathered has been slated for 11 to 13 November 2019, at the Grande Halle in La Villette.

This year, the forum brings together a multitude of public, private and civil society actors to discuss global governance and multilateralism issues.

ITREALMS reports that over 30 heads of state and government are expected, with the stated objective of accelerating international cooperation and providing a collective response to the major societal challenges of today and tomorrow.

Involved in building a safe, caring and secure digital world for over 25 years, Kaspersky (Kaspersky.com) joined the Paris Appeal for Trust and Security in Cyberspace in 2018 and is supporting the second edition of the Paris Peace Forum this year. This commitment is part of the deployment of the Global Society Transparency Initiative – a reference of good practice in the sector aimed at building trust in cyberspace with the help of all stakeholders.

On the occasion of the Paris Peace Forum, Eugene Kaspersky, founder and CEO of Kaspersky, will speak about the crucial importance of building trust in cyberspace. "For several years, confidence in all things digital has been eroding. 

"Given this, today the world’s at a crossroads. As a company, we’ve decided to act, and have made ‘increasing trust in cyberspace’ an objective of the utmost social importance with our Global Transparency Initiative. We call upon other IT companies to follow this new standard of transparency and not to let fear and mistrust prevail in the digital world," said Eugene Kaspersky.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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African summit seeks more connected communities to global Internet - ITREALMS

The Internet Society and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in partnership with the University of Dodoma have confirmed to play host for the Fourth Annual Community Networks Summit in Dodoma, Tanzania from 28 October – 2 November 2019, reports ITREALMS.

Community Networks are “do-it-yourself” telecommunications networks built by local communities and are a way to get connectivity to underserved urban, remote and rural areas where commercial service providers may not find it viable.

In Tanzania, there are 43.7 million voice telephone subscriptions and only 23.1 million Internet users. This gap is also reflected in Internet access in rural and urban areas with 86% of rural dwellers unconnected compared to 44.6% in urban areas.

To help address the growing need for communication and broadband access in rural areas, the University of Dodoma and the Internet Society (ISOC) Tanzania Chapter collaborated to build a Community Network to bring Internet access to Kondoa, a rural and underserved area in Dodoma region of Tanzania. The network connects educational institutions in Kondoa and provides fast Internet access to community members around the host institutions.

“Internet has been a game changer to schools in Kondoa, teachers are able to access teaching and learning resources which has raised the performance of students,” says Jabhera Matogoro, Assistant Lecturer and PhD Student from the University of Dodoma. “The Kondoa Community Network which connects three schools and over 2000 students has taken learning to another level,” he adds.

Community Networks are built and operated by the communities themselves. “In order to be resilient and achieve sustainability, members of the Community Network play a critical role in the building of the community network infrastructure. We help provide the training and know-how that is needed, but ultimately it’s up to the communities to run the network themselves,” explains Michuki Mwangi, Senior Development Manager for Africa for the Internet Society.

The fourth annual Summit aims to promote the creation and growth of community networks, increase collaboration between community network operators in the region, and provide an opportunity for them to engage with other stakeholders including content providers, regulators and policy makers. Previous Summits have been held in South Africa and Kenya.

Critical to the success of Community Networks is access to licensing and spectrum. Policy makers and regulators play a key role in ensuring innovative approaches to making spectrum available. The University of Dodoma secured a two-year authorization from the local regulator to use TV UHF spectrum in Kondoa. The results from the pilot indicated that television white space is the feasible solution to connect the unconnected population in rural Tanzania.

“Community Networks in the continent are thrilling in spite of enabling policy and regulatory environments, event like this one, and innovations such as the ones used by the Kondoa Community Network should make regulators and policy makers rethink the way they support to these type of connectivity models within their national frameworks,” adds Carlos Rey Moreno, Local Access Policy and Regulation Coordinator for the Association for Progressive Communications. 

Chuks Egbuna/Editor

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FBN Holdings, FBNBank Ghana visit Akufo-Addo - ITREALMS.

The Group Board Chairman of FBN Holdings Plc, Dr. Oba Otudeko and Directors of FBN Holdings, FirstBank of Nigeria Limited and FBNBank Ghana Limited have paid a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo-Addo in Accra, reports ITREALMS.

The visit was to show appreciation to the President and thank him for participating in First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 125th anniversary activities held earlier this year and update the President of some recent investment activities of the Group.

Dr. Otudeko assured President Akufo-Addo that FBNHoldings believes in the Ghanaian economy and indicated that it was evidenced by the recapitalization of FBNBank Ghana by its parent bank, First Bank of Nigeria Limited. He pointed out that the Group’s investment of US$100 million was well above the new minimum capital requirement set by the Bank of Ghana into its Ghana operation.

The FBNHoldings Group Board Chairman added that the bank’s confidence in the Ghanaian economy and the talent of Ghanaians had resulted in the appointment of Victor Yaw Asante as the first Ghanaian Managing Director of FBNBank Ghana Limited.

Dr. Otudeko lauded the President of Ghana for giving the youth opportunities to serve in his government, saying it will prepare them to take over the leadership of Ghana in the near future. He congratulated the President on the choice of Ghana as host of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, saying that it must have taken significant effort to bring this to Ghana.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo thanked Dr. Otudeko for his kind words and recounted the crucial bilateral and economic ties as well as historic bond, pre and post-independence, that exist between Ghana and Nigeria.

While stating that it is important for the economies of both Ghana and Nigeria to do well for ECOWAS to succeed, the President thanked FBN Holdings Plc for investing in Ghana and gave the assurance that government will provide the necessary support to FBNBank Ghana Limited and the entire business community.

The President also touched on the banking sector reforms and observed that Nigeria also had to embark on a similar exercise in the recent past. He said it was a painful but necessary exercise to strengthen the financial services industry and position it to support business and the economy.

President Akufo-Addo emphasized the importance of providing opportunities to the youth to enable them support the nation’s growth and development agenda and the need for all citizens of the two countries to find avenues to give back to their nations.

Members of the delegation pledged, on behalf of FBN Holdings Plc and FBNBank Ghana, their commitment to helping build a stronger Ghanaian economy, as well as forging stronger economic ties between citizens and businesses of Ghana and Nigeria.

The FBNHoldings Group Board Chairman, Dr. Oba Otudeko, was accompanied by Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Mr. U. K. Eke, Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings Plc.; Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Otunba (Mrs.) Debola Osibogun, Non-Executive Director, FBNHoldings; Dr. Hamza Wuro Bokki, Non-Executive Director, FBNHoldings, and Mr. Victor Yaw Asante, Managing Director, FBNBank Ghana Limited.

FBN Holdings Plc is the most diversified financial services group in Nigeria and includes FirstBank of Nigeria Ltd the mother company of FBNBank Ghana and other subsidiaries around the world.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Rev Fr Madu kidnapped in Enugu - ITREALMS

A Catholic priest from the Enugu diocese, Rev. Fr. Arinze Madu, has been reportedly kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Enugu State, reports ITREALMS.

Fr Madu, 
ITREALMS gathered, is the Vice Rector, Queen of Apostle Spiritual Year Seminary in Imezi-Owa, Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
ITREALMS also gathered that Fr. Madu was kidnapped at the entrance gate of the seminary on Monday.

Confirming this ugly development, the Director of Communications, Enugu Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Achi, stressing the kidnap came barely two months after Rev. Fr. Paul Offu was gruesomely killed by gunmen at Ihe-Agbudu Road in Enugu.

“In this year alone, two priests have been killed while three escaped,” Fr. Achi was quoted as saying by Punchng.com.

Equally, Police in Enugu confirmed the incident, according to the Enugu police spokesman, Ebere Amaraizu, the police is collaborating with sister agencies including the army and local vigilante groups in search of the kidnappers and the priest.

Eneh Obodo/Editor

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SSA to first lady, Dr. Hajo Sani reappointed – ITREALMS

The President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a review of the appointment of Dr. Hajo Sani, who was earlier appointed as Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administration (Office of the First Lady), for a second term, reports ITREALMS.

Suleiman Haruna of the office of First Lady, confirmed this in a press statement, saying that as indicated in a letter signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustafa, Dr. Hajo Sani’s new appointment is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Women Affairs and Administration (Office of the First Lady).

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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MoDiTECH’19: Boost Nigeria’s economy with digital services, urged speakers - ITREALMS

Embracing possibilities that digital technology offer, both the private and public organisations must be willing to use agile approaches in solutions over time, reports ITREALMS.

Also, through adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement agile development methods encourage rapid and flexible response to change.

These were some thoughts of the speakers at the maiden Mobile and Disruptive Technology Forum (MoDiTECH2019) organised by TechEconomy.ng in Lagos recently.

Participants at the Forum were exposed to how industry leaders are using disruptive technologies such as Mobile Internet, Automation of Knowledge and Work, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Technology etc. to improve the quality of life for people and redefining business models such as Agritech, FinTech, e-Billing, e-Commerce, e-Governance, e-Payments, transportation, smart city, etc.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Garba Danbatta, said that through its regulatory excellence, the Commission is at the forefront of unleashing the digital economy that will spur industrial growth, job creation, and Return on Investment (RoI) for investors.

According to him, the internet is at the leading edge of digital revolution, which informed why NCC is supporting operators to deploy more infrastructure.

"Today, Nigeria has started a test-run of 5G, the latest technology for delivering broadband services and such other services as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI). The trial will last for three months. Nigeria hopes to join other countries which are in a rush to deploy the 5G technology because of its immense promise for digital communication," Danbatta said.

Prof. Danbatta who spoke through Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity at NCC, Engineer Bako Wakil, also disclosed that the Commission was "at the verge of sending the N65 billion request for supporting the already six infrastructure companies (InfraCos) licensed to roll out broadband infrastructure across the country, to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval."

Meanwhile, Danbatta expressed concurrence of the Commission to the renaming of the Ministry of Communications to 'Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy'.

"The renaming of the Ministry shows a demonstration of the future of telecoms in all government sectors and the economy; the EVC, therefore, commended the Minister, Dr. Isa Pantami and members of the Federal Executive Council for the foresight and dramatic change. This, will spur a new debate and redirect the Ministry and other agencies under it as well as the private sector to a new awakening that digital economy brings," he said.

In a keynote presentation titled: ‘Social and Global Impact: Engaging for Growth’, the Founder/Vice-Chairman of CWG Plc, Mr. Austin Okere, recalled that in 2018, the mobile ecosystem contributed more than $500 billion to the funding of the public sector through general taxation, globally.

According to him, Nigeria as among the three smartphone super-powers to emerge by 2025, stands to benefit from the smartphone ubiquity across the world that enables consumer engagement in numerous use cases

He said, however, slowing unique subscriber growth, regulatory intervention and intense competition continue to put pressure on operators’ traditional mobile revenue.

“Over a fifth of the world’s markets will have launched 5G by 2020, spending combined $244 billion on networks in the process. In 2018, mobile technologies and services generated 4.6% of GDP globally, a contribution that amounted to $3.9 trillion of economic value added.

“The mobile ecosystem also supported almost 32 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with more than $500 billion raised through general taxation. By 2023, mobile’s contribution will reach

“$4.8 trillion (4.8% of GDP) as countries around the globe increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by increased take-up of mobile services.

“Further ahead, 5G technologies are expected to contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years, with key sectors such as manufacturing, utilities and professional/financial services benefiting the most from the new technology.

“The mobile ecosystem directly employs almost 32 million people globally; 14 million directly and 17 million through related industries.

To this end, Mr. Okere called on State Governments’ to invest in digital economy especially by removing excess taxation on Right of Way (RoW) adding that over the next few years, as the enablers of mobile internet adoption such as infrastructure, affordability, consumer readiness and content/services, continue to improve, millions of people will start using the mobile internet for the first time, and will add value to the nation’s economy.

“Mobile is a powerful tool for achieving the UN’s SDGs: since 2015, impact has increased across all 17 SDGs. 5G is an inevitable network evolution, and will create significant opportunities if the right conditions are in place," he said.

The Managing Director of Rack Centre and Chairman of MoDiTECH2019, Dr. Ayotunde Coker, aligned with Mr. Okere, stressing that content consumption through the mobile channels, is rising hence mobile is a key driver, with more people watching video on their devices for longer and more frequently.

Speaking on the theme: “The Power of Digital Services,” Dr. Coker briefly highlighted the history of the internet and interconnectivity and how it has brought progress to the way businesses and other important economic activities are done in Africa.

Dr. Coker stressed the importance of digitisation on the African continent, and “What it means for us in Africa is to leverage the lots of benefits we can get. Benefits in terms of demographic advantage.”

According to Dr. Coker, “the fourth industrial revolution is the next stage of digitisation with Africa has a focus; survival in the present economic structure is dependent on innovation. The journey of digitisation is now a way of life hence the demand for data has exponentially increased.

In his presentation on ‘Impact of Digital Solutions on Financial Services’ the Managing Director of Global Accelerex, Mr. Tunde Ogungbade, traced the history of banking and financial service provisioning to the 90’s when customers had to be physically present at a bank “in an orderly fashion, with a passbook or cheque” in order to carry out a financial transaction.

Thus, between year 2000 and 2011, were the era of search for utility among banks that engaged in fierce competition for the most branches in localities.

He said that this era was disrupted by internet banking and smart phones that paved the way for 24/7 banking; “Prepaid cards, the POS, the ATMs and then debit cards linked to bank accounts.”

“From 2012 to date we are talking about the search for more utility. This is the era of Web Payments; Mobile Payments; Smart POS Payments; Mobile Money & Agency Banking, Then, BVN changed everything!” he said.

Mr. Ogungbade who was represented by Chief Product Officer, Global Accelerex, Chuks Anakudo, warned the banks to brace-up for more disruptions as payments will even migrate from traditional banking to native apps and point-of-sales solutions.

He said that blockchain technology will further disrupt financial services like the internet did to the media.

“Banks of the future may not need to hold funds in the vault, assets will be digitized in a more secured way. Therefore, the future to behold is closing the gap between what the financial institutions offer and what consumers really need,” said Mr. Ogungbade.

Earlier, the Editor, TechEconomy.ng; the conveners of #MoDiTECH2019, Mr. Peter Oluka, said the event was organised "to discuss, brainstorm, learn and review the overall impact of new digital technologies that are disrupting many industries."

MoDiTECH2019 was sponsored by Global Accelerex, Digital Encode, Access Bank Plc, ActivEdge Technologies, Zenith Bank Plc, Galaxy Backbone, i-naira.com, Medallion Communications, while the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) provided support to the Organisers.

Oluka also reiterated the widespread recognition that Artificial intelligence, for instance, will be key to future business and digital transformation and driving increasingly autonomous and intelligent networks (for telcos) and improving the customer experience through greater learning of customer behaviour.

Chuks Egbuna/DoP

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Pix: L-r:  Co-Chair, MoDiTECH2019, Chris Uwaje; Director, Technical Standards & Network Integrity at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Engineer Bako Wakil; Editor, TechEconomy.ng and convener of MoDiTECH2019, Peter Oluka; MD Rack Centre and Chair, MoDiTECH2019, Dr. Ayotunde Coker; Founder, CWG Plc and Keynote speaker, MoDiTECH2019, Mr. Austin Okere and the President, Digivation Networks, Dr. Bayero Agabi, during Mobile and Disruptive Technology Forum (MoDiTECH2019) held at Victoria Crown Hotel, VI, Lagos, recently.

Siemens contributes to Coca-Cola Beverages Africa’s vision in advancing digitalization - ITREALMS

Siemens has contributed to Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in an affort to digitalise the food and beverage industry and boost efficiency, reports ITREALMS.

The Nairobi Bottler’s Embakasi Plant based in Nairobi, Kenya, 
ITREALMS gathered is a fully owned subsidiary by Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), which received a Totally Integrated Automation training rig from Siemens Digital Industries South Africa to enable skills development in Digitalization Technologies.

The training rig completed with an extensive portfolio under Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) will serve as a pivotal role in training apprentices, trainees and current employees to understand the current and future value of Food & Beverage manufacturing plant operations. It will prepare engineers and technicians to take complete value of the latest automation solution and develop themselves for carrying out technical activities related to migration and management of S7-1500 PLC, HMIs, Servo Drives etc. This rig was configured and supplied in conjunction with International Energy Technik (IET), a local Kenyan Company and a Siemens Partner.

As Eric Nyakundi, Electrical Engineer at CCBA’s Embakasi plant, explains, “It perfectly fits into our business goals and overall strategy of capability development and asset care strategies. The bulk of our control systems are based on Siemens Products hence the direct transfer of skills and knowledge acquired in training to our manufacturing facilities. This is in in line with the new supply chain philosophy of growing and developing engineering capacity in our manufacturing facilities and the overall asset care strategy.”

Nyakundi further states, “The automation teams the machine specialists, the electrical artisans and the apprentices at CCBA will be trained on this rig. These teams are responsible for supporting the manufacturing facilities in realising the company business goals in manufacturing.

“The soft drink market is characterized by frequently changing and often short-lived trends. Soft drink manufacturers must always be able to rapidly adapt their production to new requirements – and to always work efficiently and produce optimal quality. Digitalization gives them the flexibility they need to accomplish this while also boosting energy efficiency, states Ralf Leinen, Senior Vice President for Siemens Digital Industries, Southern and Eastern Africa. Siemens and CCBA have a historic successful partnership in Africa. Digital Industries is proud to have contributed towards a fully automated solution that can assist with engineering skills.”

Siemens also created a 3D point cloud scan of the entire plant. This data from the scan can be utilized with Siemens NX platform tool to analyze and plan projects. This is a step closer towards digitalization, where engineering time will reduce thereby reducing time to market. Automation products, showcased in the rig, help in collecting the necessary data of process and packaging lines, which ultimately can value add information in the NX tool for further analysis.

“Ongoing education and training have a positive effect for both business and society. At Siemens we believe in investing in the long-term and creating value for our customers and the societies we operate in. We will continuously support CCBA’s vision in shaping their digital future,” concludes Sabine, Siemens CEO, Southern and Eastern Africa.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Buhari heads to London for private visit after Saudi Arabia forum - ITREALMS

The President, Muhammadu Buhari has left the country on an official trip to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend Economic Forum of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, reports ITREALMS.

On the sideline of the event, President Buhari will hold bilateral talks with His Majesty King Salman and His Majesty King Abdullah ll of Jordan.

On Wednesday, 30th October, 2019, the President will participate in the High Level Event titled “What is Next for Africa: How will Investment and Trade Transform the Continent into the Next Great Economic Success Story?” with Presidents of Kenya, Congo-Brazzaville and Burkina Faso.

At the end of the summit, President Buhari will on Saturday 2nd November, 2019, proceed to the United Kingdom on a private visit. He is expected to return to Nigeria on 17th November, 2019.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Presidential Task Team denies involvement in Apapa mayhem - ITREALMS

The Presidential Task Team (PTT) denied any involvement with the violence that erupted at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Lillypond Truck Transit Park at Ijora, Lagos State, last Thursday, leading to the death of one person and loss of property, reports ITREALMS.

The Task Team urged anyone spreading false information on its involvement to desist forthwith.

A press statement signed by the Executive Vice Chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Apapa, Comrade Kayode Opeifa and made available to 
ITREALMS on Monday, Opeifa exonerated his team, saying the violence was reportedly fomented by miscreants opposed to the operations of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences (Enforcement Unit) task force in the area.

''We are deeply saddened by the violence and commiserate with the family of the deceased and other victims of the unfortunate incident. But it is important to state categorically that the Presidential Task team was not involved with the unfortunate incident. We therefore call on those spreading such false claims to henceforth desist.''

According to Opeifa, the Task Team empathize with the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) whose vehicles and offices were attacked or destroyed in the mayhem.

He also commended the efforts of the Nigerian Police, Lagos Command, and the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences (Enforcement Unit) task force for quickly bringing the situation under control, even as it applauded the NPA management for not allowing the situation to adversely affect Ports operations.

''We also commend effort of the Nigerian media for resisting attempt by some vested interests at taking advantage of the incident to discredit the efforts of the Federal Government through the Presidential task team in sanitizing and restoring law and order in the Apapa axis.

''As partners in nation building, we want to urge our friends in the media to always cross check the veracity of their information before publishing so as not to propagate falsehood emanating from some quarters, and which could mislead the public who count on the media for objectivity and professionalism in its reportage,'' part of the press statement read.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Imo says oil lords not criminals - ITREALMS

The Imo State Government has said that oil landlords are not criminals as have been wrongly allude in some quarters, reports ITREALMS.

The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona who gave this clarification said, people of the two Oil Producing Local Government Areas of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta in the state are not criminals.

The Deputy Governor made the clarification in a welcome address he delivered during the first Security Summit of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas, held at Oguta Civic Center, Oguta, weekend.

He blamed the impression of criminality about people of the area on the activities of a few, whom he accused of giving people of the area a bad name.

Engr. Irona described the summit as aimed at addressing security challenges in the two oil producing Local Government areas of the state.

“This Summit is aimed at addressing security challenges in the two oil producing Local Government Areas of Imo State. It is expected that the meeting will identify the causes of insecurity in the area and proffer possible solutions. Today, we shall agree on how best to protect our people.”

“The present Government of Imo State identified some flashpoints. Principal among the flashpoints are Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas. Co-incidentally, that is where we have the oil facilities and installations in Imo State.”

“Stakeholders therefore appealed to His Excellency, the Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, to approve the re-jigging of the security architecture of the area. His Excellency graciously approved this summit, with a view to creating a forum for the discussion of the worrying security issues in the area and this is why we are here today. Efforts are being made to ensure a sustainable offensive against every form of criminality in the state. This Summit is one of such efforts.”
“Again, the provision /donation of vehicles to Law Enforcement Agencies by ISOPADEC to aid their operations is part of the ongoing efforts towards strengthening the security of the area.”
“The truth is that we are not criminals. A few bad eggs are making our area notorious. We shall not allow them to tarnish our collective image. No one shall make us live in fear in our ancestral homes. No one will frighten and threaten us at will again. That era is gone.”
Continuing, the Deputy Governor identified forms of criminal activities in the area to include cultism, kidnapping, oil bunkering, banditry, rape, armed robbery and proliferation of arms.
He expressed appreciation to the Governor of Imo State, Chief Emeka Ihedioha for what he described as his show of love for people of the area, describing him as a promise-keeper.
Meanwhile, as part of its support to the security of lives and property, the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission -ISOPADEC weekend, donated Six Hilux branded vehicles to Law Enforcement Agencies in the state.
Commissioning the vehicles during the first Security Summit of Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta, Governor of Imo State, Chief Emeka Ihedioha reiterated the commitment of his administration to the security of lives and property in the state.
He commended the ISOPADEC management for what he described as their people-oriented programmes, urging them to do more to better the lives of the people.
Highlights of the Summit were: paper presentations by the Service Chiefs in the state, including the Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, Brigade Commander, 34 Field Artillary Brigade, Obinze, Brigadier General Ibrahim Yusuf, Imo State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Raji Ibrahim, Director, State Security Services, Iquo Arthur-Worrey and Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Nse Inam.
Earlier in their remarks, Chairman of the occasion, General Kalu Egwuagu and Special Adviser on Security to the Governor of Imo State, Raymond Nkemdirim described security as essential to development, even as they urged law enforcement personnel deployed to the area to be professional in the discharge of their duties.

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Survey shows corporate boards lack cyber demands - ITREALMS

The latest global survey by the Deloitte has showed that boards of several corporate organisations lack cyber demands of their entities, reports ITREALMS.

ITREALMS gathered, is growing and moving in multiple dimensions across multiple disciplines—beyond an organisation’s perimeter and IT environments, permeating the products it creates, the factories where it makes them, the spaces where its employees conceive them, and where its customers use them. Cyber is at the centre of digital transformation.

According to Deloitte’s 2019 Future of Cyber survey, there are notable gaps in organisations’ abilities to meet cybersecurity demands for the future. Findings indicate that many cyber organisations are challenged by their ability to prioritise cyber risk across the enterprise (16 percent), followed closely behind by lack of management alignment on priorities and adequate funding, each at 15 percent.

“Cyber leaders today are focused on digital transformation as a catalyst for change for both the greater enterprise and their cyber agendas. The good news is the survey results show that organisations are no longer taking a wait-and-see philosophy to preparing for and responding to cyber incidents”, says Deloitte Africa Risk Advisory Cyber leader Eric Mc Gee, “There is a whole new way of thinking that is starting to occur with how organisations are going to achieve their business outcomes, and that is with a cyber everywhere mindset.”

Findings from the 500 C-suite cybersecurity executives surveyed also suggested that there is still much work to do in aligning cyber initiatives to executive management’s digital transformation priorities. There is a real gap that must be bridged, with finite budgets and resources as well as a lack of prioritisation by executive management. The overall consensus was that many organisations aren’t fully equipped to efficiently and effectively tackle today’s cyber demands.

Findings of the Future of Cyber survey include:

· 43 percent of surveyed CISOs indicated they report directly to the CEO. This is consistent across the total survey population where 32 percent of respondents indicated the CISO reported to the CEO, with only 19 percent indicating that the role reported to the CIO. In Deloitte’s experience facilitating hundreds of CISO transformation labs over the past five years and through informal collection of data, nearly 80 percent of CISOs report to a CIO or CSO. This indication that CISOs are, in fact, directly reporting to a CEO is quite encouraging but counter to Deloitte’s experience.

· Half of organisations (49 percent) have cybersecurity on their board agenda at least quarterly. On the other hand, half of boards are not discussing cyber as often as they should. More concerning is that only 4 percent of respondents say cybersecurity is on the agenda once a month.

· While organisations are prioritising digital transformation, only 14 percent of cyber budgets are allocated to provide for cybersecurity in transformation efforts.

· Less than 20 percent of organisations have security liaisons embedded within business units to foster greater collaboration, innovation, and security.

· Organisations are turning to third parties to manage certain functions of their cyber operations. According to 65 percent of the CISOs surveyed, 21-30 percent of total cyber operations are outsourced, with nearly half (48 percent) of CISOs selecting insider threat detection as a top function that they turn to third parties to manage.

· There’s a disconnect between the majority (85 percent) of the survey respondents who indicate that they are using Agile/DevOps in application development and then ranking DevSecOps lowest (11 percent) on the cyber defence priorities and investments areas, which may explain why 90 percent of organisations surveyed experienced disclosures of sensitive production data within the past year.

· Data integrity (35 percent) was the top-ranked cybersecurity threat respondents were most concerned about followed by unintended actions of well-meaning employees (32 percent) resulting in a negative event and then followed by technical vulnerabilities (31 per cent).

Chuks Egbuna/DoP

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iPOWER Week: Massive deals, unbeatable prices on power products - ITREALMS


iPOWER Week, a week-long sales campaign offering best prices and massive deals on various power products and solutions, kicks off today, Monday October 28th 2019. Equally important, the promotion will run online and offline until Friday, November 1st, 2019 across major retail platforms.

The iPOWER generator, which will be formally launched on Monday, is one of the star products on offer for iPOWER Week.

Designed with the power needs of the Nigerian consumer in mind, the revolutionary product which comes in various capacities between 2.5KVA – 7.5KVA boasts a longer life span with tested 500 hours continuous running. Further setting apart the iPOWER generator is its durability with 100% copper wiring and low fuel consumption

Other cutting-edge products and solutions lined up for the promotion include a wide variety of inverters, solar panels and big-power batteries from the iPOWER brand.

Further, iPOWER Week will offer all categories of shoppers and consumers best prices and deals on the various items on offer. Furthermore, the prices have been heavily discounted as part of efforts at helping Nigerians save big on essential power products ahead of the festive season.

Already, e-Commerce platforms Konga and Jumia are primed to start processing orders from bargain-hungry shoppers who are eager to be among the first to get their hands on the heavily discounted products on offer. In addition, walk-in shoppers can also take shop at multiple offline retail stores nationwide.

Furthermore, there are freebies and other incentives for customers who shop during the duration of the campaign. These include electric kettles, sandwich makers, microwaves, toasters, coffee makers, among others.

Research and Development Manager for the iPOWER brand, Eche-Chukwuma revealed that iPOWER products come with full 12 months’ warranty, even as he affirmed that shoppers can count on responsive support for the products purchased nationwide.

“iPOWER products are designed with state-of-the-art functionalities and engineered to resolve the power challenges faced by Nigerians. Customers are guaranteed full 12 months’ warranty on the products. Also, our customers enjoy peace of mind with round-the-clock after-sales support nationwide,” Eche-Chukwuma concluded.

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Oyo targets solid minerals for IGR boost - ITREALMS

The Oyo State government eyes is on the solid mineral sector as a major boost for its Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR), reports ITREALMS.

The Special Adviser on Solid Minerals Development to Oyo State Governor, Mr. Abiodun Oni said this at the weekend in a presentation on behalf of the state government at the just concluded Fourth Edition of the Nigeria Mining Week.

He also said that the state government would heavily rely of solid Minerals to finance the social interventions and welfare programmes of Governor Seyi Makinde.

Oni, in his presentation themed: “Oyo State to the World: Bridging the gap between potentials and investments," held at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, stated that Oyo State had billions in its grounds which were yet to be explored and exploited.

He maintained that the Governor Makinde administration was striving hard to put solid mineral development on the map because the government needed funds to drive the many social intervention projects being embarked upon by the state governor.

According to Oni, the Oyo State government was targeting solid mineral development because it remained one of the quick wins for it to boost its internal revenue, adding that Governor Makinde was set to put money into the sector towards data gathering, digitization, availability and accessibility, which he said would make it easy to attract investors to the state.

“We are striving a whole lot to make sure that mineral development is put on the map and where we can generate revenues. You would have noticed that the governor of Oyo State is into lots of social intervention projects and programmes, so we need money. So, we are thinking IGR, IGR, IGR. There is nowhere else to go to.

“One of the quick wins for us is mineral development and what I will like to focus on, which I have been advising our government on is to focus on the ASMs. It is a quick win and a low-hanging fruit if we are able to develop and partner with this arm of the sector. In Oyo State, the ASMs actually have actually about 80 per cent of the mining community.

“A major part of our budget is all about data, we all know and we have all spoken about data. We are committed to that in Oyo State. I told my governor that first things first, we can’t move forward if we don’t have data. We cannot brag about anything; we can’t tell anybody what we have in the ground is bankable. So, the first thing is that we are targeting in this administration is to gather the appropriate data.”

Speaking with journalists after the presentation, Oni said that the sooner Oyo State began to explore the resources in its grounds the better for the state, saying: “I think it is essential for people to know that, like I said, Oyo State has billions in the grounds that are not explored and exploited. So, the sooner the better for us. I met quite a number of guys who are from Oyo State but they are mining in Jos, Zamfara and other places and they are excited.

“So, we will see what we can get back home in a short while. I think it brings value to what we have in Oyo State and it will bring people to come and invest and that is ultimately what we are looking for. We have the drive and we have motivation and I know that the governor we have is going to put money where his mouth is. Like you have heard from the discussions, if you don’t put money in data gathering, it is a non-starter but that, first, is what I know we are going to do and the moment we start putting money in data gathering, data digitization, data availability and accessibility, it makes it easier to sell what we have in the grounds to investors.”

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FirstBank rolls drums for top performing FirstMonie agents nationwide - ITREALMS

Some Firstmonie agents of the First Bank of Nigeria Limited have been celebrated for promoting access to financial services to Nigerians at the ban national award ceremony in Lagos last Friday, reports ITREALMS.

The ceremony held under the theme: “Planting Community Heroes Nationwide” saw some agents since 2017 when the bank first introduced Firstmonie, for promoting financial inclusion across the nook and cranny of the country.

With almost 40,000 agents in 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, processing approximately 1 million transactions daily, First Bank of Nigeria Limited is leading the effort at supporting the Federal Government’s objectives to deepen access to financial services.

FirstBank’s Firstmonie service is providing financial/banking solutions to rural and semi-urban locations across the country, such as account opening, cash deposit, cash withdrawals, airtime purchase, bill payments, BVN enrolment and much more. Through this channel, the Bank is providing convenient services that endears trust and provides ease of access to banking products, thereby saving time and travel costs for users of our network. During the award ceremony, the bank will be recognising top performing Agents at National, Regional, and State levels.

FirstBank’s financial inclusion activities is in line with the mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure the availability of affordable financial products and services to all individuals and groups of people in the country; irrespective of location, literacy levels, familiarity with technology and accessibility to modern infrastructural facilities. The Firstmonie Agent channel is amongst the Bank’s many initiatives to expand financial access in the country.

“According to Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited “the unwavering efforts and remarkable contributions by our Firstmonie Agents at promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria is indeed very much appreciated. Within the past 2 years we have been able to create not only 40,000 access points, but over 150,000 indirect jobs. We remain committed to doing more, strengthening business activities, driving economic growth and development; thereby reducing poverty.”

“We would not rest on our laurels because without a doubt, every individual’s contribution to national growth and development, regardless of where they are, is indeed very important to us” he concluded.

Chuks Egbuna/DoP

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Pix: Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Ekiti Cargo Airport: Asiwaju not opposed - ITREALMS

The national leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has denied being opposed to the Ekiti Cargo Airport, reports ITREALMS.

According to his media team led by Tunde Rahman, an on online news platform -Daily Post- erroneously framed Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s statement at the recent 10th anniversary and 7th convocation ceremony of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) to give the wrong impression that he is opposed to the ongoing construction of Cargo Airport in Ekiti State.

ITREALMS gathered that same report was published by the The Nation which Mr Rahman described as satire.

Asiwaju's refutal contained in a press statement made available to 
ITREALMS, Rahman said the report was inaccurate  reporting. 

"It is yet another in the plethora of fake news that dots the land, which lamentably is the bane of many an online news platform," he said.

For the avoidance of doubt, Asiwaju Tinubu is not opposed to the cargo airport being developed in Ekiti because of its potential to aid development of the state through rapid movement of agricultural products, goods and experts.

What the APC leader is opposed to and in fact spoke against in Ado-Ekiti is creating another main airport since there is already one in neighbouring Akure in Ondo State. This bears restating in order to put the record straight.

Asiwaju also condemned the tardy services at the Akure Airport whereby planes could not land at 8 am because some key navigational officers had not reported for duty at that business hour, promising to take the matter up with the appropriate authorities.

The authors of that fake report were either clearly mis-informed or deliberately out to create mischief and cause disaffection between Asiwaju and the authorities working on the cargo airport or perhaps to use Asiwaju’s good name as an alibi to scuttle the plans for the cargo airport.

This is not right. We need to restate here again that good journalism demands that journalists operate in line with the demands of their creed, top of which are accuracy and objectivity. And the Daily Post report is miserably deficient in this important professional requirement.

Chuks Egbuna/DoP

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Pix: Tinubu

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