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Stakeholders Bemoan Capital Flight in ICT Sector

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Information and Communications Technology (ICT) stakeholders has expressed worries that Nigerians are losing jobs and contracts in the ICT sector to foreigners, describing it as capital flight and huge depletion of the Nigerian economy.

The stakeholders blamed the situation on the absence of Local Content Development law in ICT, which should have protected the interests of Nigerians and Nigerian-owned businesses.

The National Coordinator, Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT, Mr. Inye Kemabonta, enumerated the implications of not having an existing local content law in ICT, which he said, spelt doom for the sector. He called on all stakeholders to rise to the challenge and ensure that the issue of local content in ICT is addressed to a logical conclusion, in order to encourage fair competition and to protect the interests of Nigerians and their businesses.

The stakeholders pointed out that licensed telecoms operators in the county are majorly foreigners who do business in Nigeria by bringing in foreign staff to handle the jobs that Nigerians could successfully handle, if given the opportunity.

Citing the case of MTN, which they said, generated over $16 billion within a period of 15 years doing telecoms business in Nigeria, stakeholders said such huge amount of money was moved from the Nigerian economy to the South African economy, where MTN is headquartered. They explained that should there be local content law in ICT, such money would have been reinvested into the Nigerian economy, to increase liquidity flow in the economy that will better the lives of Nigerian citizens.

The stakeholders also blamed the Nigerian government for licensing more of foreign operators in the ICT sector, at the detriment of local investors that have small businesses in the country.

The former President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Lanre Ajayi, who expressed worries over the manner at which Nigerians are losing ICT jobs and contracts to foreign companies, said the remedy would be a thing of right policy and proper regulation that would encourage and protect Nigerians in their businesses. Ajayi also stressed the need for the development of local capacity that includes institutional and human capacity building.

The Chief Executive Officer of Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, called on telecoms operators to put a stop to importation of basic telecoms equipment like switches, masts, towers, among others and device means of using locally sourced materials.

In his remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Licensing and Authorisation at NCC, Ms. Funlola Akiode, said one of the factors affecting the continued devaluation of the Nigerian currency, is the dependence on importation of basic materials, manpower and services. “For the industry to expand sustainably, we need to look inwards, re-organise our priorities and be less reliant on dwindling foreign exchange. Local content development will reduce the cost of business and increase available skilled human capital,” Danbatta said.

A member of the House of Representatives, Honorable Oghene Emma Egoh, who raised concerns over the implications of not having a Local Content Development Law in ICT, called on stakeholders to expedite action in the formulation and presentation of local content bill in ICT before the National Assembly and assured stakeholders of speedy hearing of such bill, either as an executive bill or a private bill.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Softcom Announces Day X, The Launch of Intuitive Solutions For Businesses

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Softcom has announced the launch of new intuitive solutions and initiatives the company has built to accelerate inclusion and growth for Africans which will be happening on Day X: July 29, 2021.

The company states that it has thoroughly examined the state of society and what sustainable growth looks like for people and businesses and has designed products and platforms focusing on unlocking the inherent potential that exists in every individual.

Day X will expose us to an ecosystem of tools that will empower business owners to sell better, sell more, identify people, control their money and make better decisions. Initiatives and platforms have also been designed with the entrepreneur to enable ambitious and early-stage businesses to position themselves for rapid growth.

Softcom also states that its crucial strategy is to make these human-centered solutions accessible to all entrepreneurs who are dreamers and those who have begun to take action. This ability to deliver value and innovation of active or passive entrepreneurs within any society will ultimately contribute to its people and businesses’ collective growth and advancement.

In his newly released letter to the public, Yomi Adedeji, CEO of Softcom X, wrote; ”Our ultimate goal is to create an open world with equitable access to intuitive solutions that address the most basic human needs and by doing so enable societal development, business growth and human prosperity.”

Day X will provide answers to questions entrepreneurs ask, no matter the size of their ambition and help them commence their journey of leveraging these human-centered tools to drive transformational growth for themselves and society at large.

Day X will take place virtually. To find out more about Softcom and register for Day X, visit here

About Softcom
Softcom is a 14-year-old company with experience in innovation, technology solutions for businesses and enabling access at scale.

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FG To Lift Suspension On Twitter Once It Registers With NBC and CAC

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The Nigerian government will lift the suspension of Twitter, the microblogging platform once the digital social media app registers with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

According to an affidavit deposed to by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation in response to a suit filed by a human rights lawyer, the government said Twitter would not have been suspended if it complied with Nigeria’s laws.

The affidavit deposed by Ilop Lawrence on behalf of the Federal Government and the AGF, it was stated that the suspension of Twitter was not an abuse of human rights because Nigerians were still using Twitter despite the suspension.

The government told the court that the Twitter suspension would be lifted once the platform registers with the NBC and the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The government had on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter barely two days after the social media platform censored a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Subsequently, the AGF, Abubakar Malami threatened to prosecute Nigerians still using the platform while NBC ordered all radio and television stations to stop using Twitter or picking content from the platform.

Human Rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, subsequently sued the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Malami, and the Federal Government for suspending the social media platform.

In the fundamental human rights suit marked FHC/L/CS/542/2021, Effiong is seeking nine reliefs, including an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further suspending, deactivating, or banning the operation and accessibility of Twitter or any other social media service in Nigeria because the act was in violation of his rights.

Effiong asked the court to declare as illegal the threat of criminal prosecution by Malami and Lai Mohammed against Nigerians who ‘violate’ the suspension or ban of Twitter, despite the absence of any written law.

But in its response to the originating motion, the government said Nigerians are still using the microblogging platform despite the suspension placed on the app.

“The applicant (Effiong) and the class he seeks to represent can still operate those Twitter accounts from anywhere in the world and even from Nigeria.

“Nigerians are still tweeting, even at this moment as the ban on Twitter is not aimed at intimidating Nigerians or an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to express their opinion.

“The respondents (Federal Government and AGF) have never stopped the applicant (Effiong) and the class of persons he seeks to represent from voicing their opinions to access government information and offer criticism where necessary,” the government said in the affidavit.

The government told the court that Nigerians are still free to use other platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Tiktok and others.

The Federal Government also denied knowledge of Twitter censoring Buhari’s tweet on the Biafra civil which offended many Nigerians.

It said Twitter had made its platform accessible to elements like Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra; and had supported the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 which was later hijacked by hoodlums.

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Startups

Health Tech Startup 54gene Launches Trust to Amplify Africa’s Capacity in Scientific Research

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54gene, the health technology company centered on advancing the field of African genomics to unlock scientific discoveries as well as improve diagnostic and treatment outcomes within Africa and the global community, is creating a trust which it will use to invest up to 5 percent of future proceeds from the company’s commercial drug discovery program.

The creation of the trust is part of its Commitment to Africa in establishing a more sustainable and thriving cyclical ecosystem across Africa’s scientific development space, as well as ensuring better quality healthcare delivery for the communities in which the company operates.

54gene is focused on creating a pipeline of novel drugs for global populations, based on insights drawn from the healthcare and research ecosystem in Africa and wants to ensure that the 1.5 billion people in Africa benefit from its endeavors.

While ensuring Ethical, Legal, Social Implication (ELSI) guidelines are rigorously followed, 54gene is focused on advancing better health outcomes for global populations through precision medicine and addressing the unmet need for novel therapeutics in healthcare.

The company has created a proprietary platform that powers drug discovery through its substantial bio- and data-repository of deeply phenotyped and diverse datasets. It has the potential to power understanding across multiple disease areas such as cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, sickle cell, autoimmune and rare diseases, and infectious diseases.

The new trust has been designed to enable a consistent provision of better diagnostics and medicines for Africans as well as amplifying capacity building within the scientific research space across Africa.

“The biggest challenge in drug discovery in Africa is adequate infrastructure and the extensive need for capacity building.

“As we work on delivering on our promise of precision medicine for Africans and the global population, we are striving to ensure that our work involves current African scientists and leaders in the field as well as supports the creation of more skilled Africans in science and additional jobs across the continent.

“This initiative is designed to continue fostering partnerships within the African scientific body, to reflect the leadership of Africans in global drug discovery research, and to generate sustainable healthcare delivery systems that will ultimately benefit African communities participating in the scientific work that advances better outcomes for all.

It is the inclusion of African talent that will make our drug discovery work successful in bridging the disparity gap within genomics data. Africa has the ability to contribute far beyond the 1 percent in global drug discovery that is currently taking place within the continent, and we believe 54gene will help accelerate those contributions.“

The 54gene trust will be managed by an advisory committee. As the company’s commercial operations grow, the demonstrated Commitment to Africa and creation of the trust will ensure an African footprint and sustainable growth in global drug discovery across the continent.

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