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FG to Review National Broadband Plan in 2018

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  • FG to Review National Broadband Plan in 2018

Unsatisfied with the implementation process of Nigerian National Broadband Plan, which has a five year longevity period, the federal government has said it will review the plan by the end of 2018, when its longevity period will elapse.

Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who made the disclosure in an interview in Lagos, said the review would be necessary in order to finetune its contents, in line with global technology trends. He also said timeframe would be considered in achieving certain parameters in the reviewed broadband plan, in order to speed up broadband penetration in the country.

“We have a broadband plan that is designed to make broadband available to all Nigerians. The broadband plan is a five year plan from 2013 to 2018, but hopefully it will be reviewed by the end of next year. By next year we will review the broadband plan and come up with new plan that will catchup with modern technology trends,” Shittu said.

Analysing the plan further, the minister said the target of 30 per cent broadband penetration as enshrined in the plan was even a low target for Nigeria, considering the clamour for ubiquitous broadband access by Nigerians.

He however expressed optimism that the country would surpass the 30 per cent penetration target, given the current statistics, which he said, showed some significant growth level in the country’s broadband penetration.

According to him, “broadband is the enabler to technology development of any nation. The issue of broadband accessibility is the key to technology development. So government wants Nigerians to come together and ensure that broadband is accessible and affordable to all Nigerians. Government is encouraging private sector investment in broadband in order to make it accessible and affordable,” Shittu assured Nigerians.

He however explained that the existing broadband infrastructure in the country would be improved to make broadband not only ubiquitous, but also accessible and affordable.

Giving some clues on how government plans to boost broadband growth in the country, Shittu said government has opened talks with Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) to collaborate with it in making broadband internet affordable to all Nigerians.

Shittu added: ’’This government had long considered it that it has no business in business. All that the government needs do is to provide the enabling environment for ICT-led industry businesses to thrive. We have been having some financial interventions through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Government is also getting funding from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and other agencies to support various government projects, which include broadband penetration.’’

The federal government, through the Ministry of Communications Technology, had in 2012, set up a presidential committee on national broadband plan, with the former Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe as Chairman of the committee and the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia as co-Chairman.

The committee, which submitted its report timely enough, was applauded for a thorough job done, but Nigerians have not been pleased with the actions of those who were supposed to drive the implementation process of the broadband plan, while blaming the slow broadband penetration on the poor implementation process of the broadband plan.

Worried about the implementation process, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the umbrella body of all computer professionals in the country, had earlier called on the federal government to expedite the full implementation of the country’s five year broadband plan.

President of NCS, Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, who called for diligent implementation of the plan, emphasised the need for the immediate enactment of a critical National Infrastructure Bill, which he said, would help deepen broadband penetration, spur economic growth and attain national safety and security.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Fintech

Leatherback Set for International Growth as EFCC Drops all Fraud and Misconduct Allegations

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Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dropped all allegations of fraud and misconduct against Leatherback, a leading financial services technology company, and the company’s CEO, Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade.

In November 2023, EFCC announced that it had been made aware of the possibility of fraudulent activities on the Leatherback platform, leading to an investigation into the company’s operations to establish the facts. Cooperating fully with EFCC and working transparently with the organisation’s officials to provide a forensic view of its operations, Leatherback was able to unequivocally prove its innocence, leading the EFCC to drop all allegations and take down all previous communications on its website and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) around the matter.

Leatherback supported the EFCC investigation by making over 5,000 printed documents available to officials to enable as much clarity as possible. Leatherback also filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the UK and Nigeria.

According to Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade, CEO of Leatherback, “I am relieved to see the end of this arduous episode, but I am even more delighted to see that myself and Leatherback, as an organisation, have been completely cleared of all wrongdoing. With this episode firmly behind us, we are poised to accelerate our mission to provide a single access point that empowers individuals and businesses to be truly global, delivering best-in-class financial, payment, and commerce solutions that remove barriers to global growth and mobility for all citizens of the world.”

Headquartered in London, Leatherback is regulated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, enabling the platform to serve customers across a wide range of markets effectively. Tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already use the platform to support business and lifestyle opportunities every day. Leatherback is also FCA Authorised, PCI DSS Compliant, and ISO Certified.

About Leatherback

Leatherback offers financial services to businesses and individuals in multiple countries with no restrictions. Users can access up to 15 currencies from 21 countries, including NGN, GBP, INR, EUR, USD, and many other currencies. Users can also send and collect money locally and internationally, with invoicing, analytics, and permissions features available for businesses.

For more information, please visit: http://www.leatherback.co

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Carbon Acquires Vella Finance to Enhance SME Offerings

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Digital financial services provider Carbon has completed the acquisition of Vella Finance, a Nigerian fintech company specializing in serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The acquisition, announced through an official statement on Wednesday, signifies Carbon’s strategic move to bolster its SME offerings.

Although the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, Carbon’s acquisition of Vella Finance, founded two years ago under its parent company, One Credit Limited, underscores its commitment to expanding its footprint in the fintech space.

Vella Finance’s expertise in AI-powered SME banking solutions particularly caught the attention of Carbon.

Through this acquisition, Carbon aims to leverage Vella Finance’s innovative technology to provide actionable insights from financial transactions to its SME customers.

Tolu Adedayo, co-founder and COO of Vella Finance, expressed enthusiasm about the integration, noting that several team members from Vella Finance have joined Carbon following the acquisition.

Adedayo further revealed that Vella Finance’s 8,000 SME customers would be transitioned to Carbon Business in the near future.

Chijioke Dozie, co-founder of Carbon, emphasized the alignment of values and vision between Carbon and Vella Finance, highlighting the potential for synergies and growth in the SME banking segment.

The acquisition marks a significant milestone for both companies as they aim to revolutionize financial services for SMEs in Nigeria.

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Alibaba Eyes Gulf Expansion, Seeks Partnerships in Saudi and UAE Markets

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Alibaba CEO Jack Ma gestures as he is introduced to participate in a panel discussion at the APEC CEO Summit in Manila

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the prominent Chinese e-commerce giant, is actively pursuing expansion into the Gulf region, notably in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Alibaba’s president, Michael Evans, revealed the company’s strategy during a panel discussion at Dubai’s World Government Summit, highlighting a commitment to local partnerships as a key aspect of their approach.

Evans underscored Alibaba’s recent endeavors in Saudi Arabia, indicating a concerted effort to deepen its presence in the region’s burgeoning e-commerce landscape.

The move signifies Alibaba’s strategic pivot towards collaborative ventures following a period of strategic realignment prompted by government scrutiny and leadership changes.

The Gulf’s growing ties with China, driven by mutual economic interests and investment diversification initiatives, present an opportune moment for Alibaba’s expansion efforts.

However, geopolitical complexities, including heightened US scrutiny of China-linked entities, add a layer of challenge to Alibaba’s Gulf aspirations.

As Alibaba seeks to reclaim its leadership position in the global tech industry, the pursuit of partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the UAE underscores the company’s adaptive approach to international expansion.

The success of these ventures could potentially reshape the Gulf’s e-commerce landscape and deepen economic ties between the region and China.

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