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Banks Spend N42.7bn on Foreign Software in Two Years



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  • Banks Spend N42.7bn on Foreign Software in Two Years

Growing technological integration and the need to cut operational cost and improve the convenience of banks’ transactions has led to an increase in software investments by Nigerian banks.

A recent analysis of 10 banks’ software procurement in the last two years, showed their investments on software rose from N77.35 billion reported at the end of December 31, 2016 to N120 billion by December 31, 2018. Representing an increase of 35.5 percent.

The 10 banks surveyed were First City Monument Bank Limited, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

While, Wema Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc and Jaiz Bank Plc were the remaining four.

A break down of the banks’ annual reports showed that First Bank’s investment in software grew by 35.9 percent in the last two years to N29.36 billion, up from N18.82 billion recorded at the end of 2016 financial year.

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) spent N9.95 million on software –both developed within and acquired from outside the country — in the last two years, more than the previous total investment of N6.94 million.

United Bank for Africa Plc, one of Nigeria’s technology-driven banks, grew its software assets by 17.4 percent from N16.59 billion to N20.09 billion during the period under review.

While GTbank has invested a total of 19.8 billion in software development and procurement as of the end of 2018, representing an increase of 36 percent from N12.67 billion attained in 2016.

Sterling Bank, Wema Bank, Zenith Bank, Union Bank and Jaiz Bank’s software assets grew by 6 percent, 30.5 percent, 58.52 percent, 48.2 percent, and 18.1 percent to N4.12 billion, N4.2 billion, N28.91 billion, N12.74 billion, and N688 million, respectively.

However, Unity Bank investment in software declined from N3.22 billion two years to N80.87 million in 2018.

Earlier this year, stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector said businesses in Nigeria are spending over $400 million on foreign software renewals yearly. Suggesting that Nigerian businesses relied on foreign developers for efficient operation and security. Also, it points to the state of Nigeria’s ICT sector.

Dr Ibrahim DanAzumi, the Director-General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, said 60 percent of technologies used in Nigeria were procured from outside.

The Chief Executive Officer, CWG Plc, Adewale Adeyipe, attributed the development to the poor state of the local ICT market.

He said: “Nigeria has a robust knowledge institution but technologies that are emanating from these institutions cannot sustain industrialisation in the domestic economy, and that underscores the high level of foreign technology consumption in Nigeria-huge technology Gap.”

He explained that the lack of experts with modern technological know-how is some of the challenges facing the sector.

“Experts with unique skills are required to address technological gaps,” he said.

Dapo Alade, a software engineer, has a slightly different perspective of the situation. According to him, at this early stage of technology growth in Nigeria, most businesses still doubt the quality of local software, especially on security. Hence, their preference for known brands or companies.

He, also noted that the work ethics of developers in Nigeria is a serious issue that has frustrated many businesses.

“Most Nigeria developers don’t follow due process. For instance, after a developer delivers a job, there might be some bugs in the application that requires additional support (after-sale support), usually part of procurement agreement, but some developers are just too difficult after delivery,” Alade stated.

However, Dr Yele Okeremi, the President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, noted that there has only been little improvement in the sector.

He stated that most software companies in the country did not have the required certifications.

Okeremi said, “There has been improvement in the expertise of indigenous software providers but the truth is that it could have been a lot better.

“My company, PFS, for instance, is one of the only two companies with a CMMI certification in Nigeria because it is an expensive process. But if you go to India, you will see several small businesses with the certifications.”

“On one hand, we can say people are improving but if we are moving from one to three where we could have moved from one to 15, I am not sure that is the kind of progress we want to talk about.”

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


FG Lifts Ban on New SIM Cards’ Issuance



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The federal government yesterday reversed its policy banning the sale of new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, in agreement with industry stakeholders, also yesterday revised the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration.

According to him, the activation of new SIM card, banned in December last year, will begin in April.

Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure the provisions of the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers.

He said the implementation of the policy and issuance of new SIMs and other suspended activities would resume on the same date, provided that verification had been completed and the guidelines fully adhered to.

According to a statement by the Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Minister, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, an earlier policy was approved on February 4, 2020, while the revised policy was developed in early March 2021. The policy was further improved and endorsed for implementation by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 26, 2021.

According to the statement, the final amendments to the revised policy, based on the directives of Buhari to make the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) mandatory for all SIM registration, were completed on April 14, 2021.
The policy includes guidelines on new SIM acquisition and activation, SIM replacement, new SIM activation for corporates and Internet-of-Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT/M2M), among others.

The statement said: “For the corporate registration, institutions will be required to appoint a telecoms master (at the minimum of an executive management level) to provide the operational primary NIN representation. The telecoms master will also be responsible to ensure that the users provide their NINs to serve as a secondary NIN.

“For IoT/M2M activations, SIM security protocols would be implemented on the SIM profile to ensure that SIMs can only be used for point-to-point data services specific to the URL they are working with. All other services will be barred.”
Pantami stated that progress had been made in the NIN registration process.

“Nonetheless, the federal government is committed to supporting all Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN. The biometric verification process has been slower than anticipated, owing largely to the non-adherence of many previous SIM biometric capture processes to the NIMC standards.

“The revised policy will ensure that operators conform to the required standards for biometric capture. The guidelines in the policy have been painstakingly developed and while they are thorough, it should be noted that they have been developed that way in national interest since the SIM is essentially a national resource. Citizens and legal residents are encouraged to bear with the government as the process has been developed in the best interest of the country,” the statement added.

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Walmart eCommerce Sales to Grow by 21% in 2021 to $65 Billion, Nearly a Sixth of Amazon’s $367 Billion




A massive boom in click-and-collect trends is expected to accelerate Walmart’s pandemic-driven momentum through 2021.

According to the research data analyzed and published by ComprarAcciones.comWalmart’s online sales will grow by 21.2% to $64.62 billion in 2021. Its share of US online sales will rise from 6.7% in 2020 to 7.1% in 2021.

Based on the latest NRF ranking, Walmart is the world’s biggest retailer, followed closely by Amazon. Its total sales for 2020 – both online and offline – amounted to $559 billion, more than $200 billion ahead of Amazon’s figure.

Click-and-Collect Purchases will Grow by 15% to $83 Billion in 2021

Walmart’s US online sales for 2021 will almost double eBay’s estimated $38.67 billion. They will also be higher than the combined total of $60.59 billion that Best Buy, Target and The Home Depot will generate.

However, the big box retailer will be far behind the top US online marketplace, Amazon. Amazon’s sales are projected to reach $367.19 billion, nearly six times the Walmart total. Its share of US online sales will increase from 39.8% to 40.4%. Third-party vendors on the platform will grow sales by 16.5% to $220.39 billion. That will be 60% of total sales.

Among the factors driving Walmart’s growth is its huge brick-and-mortar footprint which drives online sales via click-and-collect. It has more than 4,700 stores in the US and 90% of Americans live within a 10-mile radius of one of them.

The click-and-collect trend saw significant growth in 2020. According to an eMarketer report, US shoppers made purchases worth $72.46 billion using the method. Compared to the 2019 total of $35.02 billion, the figure marked a growth rate of 106.9% YoY. It accounted for 9.1% of all online purchases, up from 5.8% in 2020. The growth is expected to carry into 2021. Total sales are also set to rise by 15.2% to $83.47 billion.

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Service Robots to Hit $30B in Sales by 2022, a 30% Increase in Two Years



Unlike the industrial robotics sector, service robots have received a boost from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data presented by BuyShares, the entire market is expected to continue growing strongly and hit over $30bn in sales by 2022, a 30% increase in two years.

Americas Lead in the Use of Service Robots, Entire Market to Hit $12B Value in 2022

Recent years have witnessed a surge in the use of service robots, as they offer increased productivity and convenience in both professional and private settings. The entire market is divided into two main segments. Commercial robots are used to perform tasks in a business environment, like medical robots and automated guided vehicles used in warehouses.

Personal service robots include convenience robots, which perform tasks like cleaning and vacuuming, and entertainment robots, such as toys and photography drones.

In 2018, the entire market generated $13.7bn in sales volume, revealed the Statista survey. This figure surged by almost 70% in the next two years, reaching $23.1bn in 2020. The growing demand for service robots is expected to continue this year, with the sales value rising by another 17% YoY to $27bn. By the end of 2022, this figure is forecast to jump by another $3bn.

Statistics show the service robotics market is led by the Americas, with an estimated sales value of $10.8bn in 2021, up from $7.4bn before the pandemic. This figure is forecast to jump to over $12bn in 2022.

As the second-largest region, the Asia Pacific is expected to hit almost $7.4bn in sales volume in 2021, a 20% jump in a year. The European market follows with a $7.3bn value.

Medical Robots to Generate One-Third of Total Sales Value

Statistics show that most service robots are used in the medical industry, expected to generate almost $9bn or 33% of total sales value this year. In the next twelve months, this figure is set to jump to $10bn. Technical innovations and demographic developments drive the market growth of these robots.

Robotic technologies can be more precise and flexible than human surgeons, making robot-assisted surgery a popular option. Since they are immune to infectious diseases, medical robots have also been implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also widely used in diagnostic, rehabilitation, and nursing care.

Statistics show the Americas dominate the medical robot’s market. However, due to aging populations, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to witness the most significant growth in the future.

Convenience robots for domestic tasks ranked as the second-largest segment, with $6.7bn in sales value in 2021. This figure is set to reach almost $7.5bn next year. These robots are increasingly finding their way into households worldwide. Packed with different capabilities, they can make everyday life more comfortable. Statistics show the Asia-Pacific region is the leading market for convenience robots. However, the largest producer, iRobot, is headquartered in the United States.

As the fastest-growing segment of the commercial service robotics market, logistics is forecast to hit over $3.9bn in sales volume this year, up from $3.1bn in 2020. The pandemic fuelled eCommerce surge continues driving demand for logistics robots, as they help automate and optimize operations, enabling higher precision, lower costs, and faster delivery times.

The Asia-Pacific region is forecast to witness the biggest increase in sales volume. However, Europe is expected to maintain its position as the region with the most sales of logistics service robots.

Statistics show the entire logistics robots industry is set to continue growing and reach $4.5bn in sales by 2022.

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