In a speech this month, Nigeria’s Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, spoke to children attending a STEM Training of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Within the speech, he instructed them to aspire to be like tech innovators Bill Gates and Elon Musk. In the speech, he also noted that there were limited educational offerings in the STEM area, which is why such trainings were necessary.
“There’s no doubt about it. Abdullahi is absolutely correct. Many of our early tech innovators began young at the outset of the industry, developed talents, and grew them into enormous MNCs. All you need to be successful in tech is the ability to create useful, cool things that enhance the lives of the citizenry or the bottom line of companies. If you can do either one, you’ve got something special,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.
“You can start building your own software to be the next Bill Gates, Elon Musk. Some of these technocrats started when computers started and they developed their talents to be where they are today… Develop yourself and stop spending much time watching games. You need to develop the mindset of teamwork with others to learn more and succeed,” Abdullahi said.
“Tech is different from most other segments. It is, for example, much easier to innovate within the tech arena than to build your own insurance company from the ground up. To be successful in tech, you need to work hard and hone your skill set. I’d rather have a recent, self-taught community college graduate who understands how to code than somebody who came from a decades-long career at a top firm with two advanced degrees who, at the end of the day, doesn’t understand today’s technologies. The tech arena truly is the last frontier,” said Gardner.
“However inspirational the speech was, the government has a place in determining how likely a self-starter is to succeed. Do those kids have the STEM-related learning opportunities to succeed? STEM education is a line-item in a budget. That’s a question of resource allocation. Right now, we’re in the midst of a revolution in blockchain technologies. There’s a place where new innovators can build their own niche. Unfortunately, the government in Nigeria has taken a hard line against cryptocurrencies. That’s not to say that the only way to make a name in blockchain is via cryptocurrencies. That’s not true at all. However, if you’re trying to inspire young people to invest in themselves and pursue technological aspirations, that’s a much tougher sell when your government is also making innovation more difficult,” said Gardner.
Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable exchanges, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.
“Let’s be clear. I’m not questioning the message. More kids need to hear it. More kids need to develop STEM skill sets, which will set them up for long, successful careers in technology, the sciences, and engineering. However, I think our leaders need to be cognizant that it isn’t just what they say that matters. Their actions matter just as much. It’s time for action,” said Gardner.
Call, Data Rate to Jump 100% as FG Imposes 5% Excise Duty on Telecoms
Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services
Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services, a source from the sector stated.
According to industry experts, the increment will not only impact subscribers but also increase tax burden on telcos which would translate into rise in tariffs.
This, experts explained would increase the total consumption tax on the sector from just the 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) to 12.5%, a situation they said would worsen Nigerians’ economic status given the ongoing happenings in the country.
If implemented, Nigerians are now expected to be paying as much as N40 a minute, up from N20 and could be paying up to N2,500 per gigabyte.
Last week, Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, decried the new tax, threatening to take the Federal Government to court for overburden the industry with so much taxes at a time when the telecommunication sector and the entire Nigerian economy was not faring well.
He said: “The 5 percent excise duty will overburden the industry. As a Minister, I was neither consulted nor obtained a memo to that effect. Even the appropriate lawmakers that were supposed to be talked with have also told me they were not.
”Things are not done that way. Besides condemning the tax, we will take every lawful step to guarantee that the tax does not stand.”
However, Ahmed Zainab, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, had different excuse for going ahead with the new 5% excise duty. According to her, the new 5% excise duty was in line with 2020 Finance Act and was part of Federal Government efforts at augmenting the nation’s revenue, especially from the non-oil sector.
The National Association of Telecoms Subscribers and the Nigerian Telecommunication Consumer have joined Pantami and other Nigerians to kick against the decision they considered wicked and inconsiderate.
Chief Adeolu Ogunbajo, president National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) also added his voice. He said the sector is barely holding its ground with the existing 7.5 percent VAT, additional 5 percent will sum the total VAT in the sector to 12.5 percent. This is a killer move on the sector, he said.
Soft POS User Base to Grow 475% Globally by 2027
The total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027
A new study from Juniper Research has found the total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027; rising from 6 million in 2022. This growth will be driven by Apple’s entrance into the soft POS space; enabling iOS users to access an affordable mobile POS solution.
Soft POS enables NFC enabled smartphones or tablets to accept contactless payments, without additional hardware.
1.2 Billion iOS Users Added to Soft POS Market
The research forecasts that Apple’s decision to enable third parties to develop soft POS solutions leveraging iOS NFC capabilities will result in an influx of iOS-specific services; leading to innovative solutions for merchants. Furthermore, the research predicts Apple’s entry will provide 1.2 billion iOS users with soft POS capabilities; unlocking a previously untapped market.
Soft POS is the latest development from Apple within the payments space; building upon Apple Pay and Apple Pay Later. Soft POS vendors should leverage Apple’s payment ecosystem by developing innovative solutions such as integrated QR payment acceptance, using Apple Pay and Pay Later compatibility to attract a broader iOS user base.
Increasing Contactless Payment Adoption to Drive Soft POS Uptake
The research anticipates soft POS adoption being driven by the increasing use of contactless payments – with volumes expected to rise from 195 billion in 2022 to 408 billion by 2027. Therefore, consumers will come to expect contactless acceptance as standard; forcing smaller merchants to adopt contactless-capable POS solutions. Merchants are anticipated to embrace soft POS, based on cost savings achievable from eliminating the need for additional hardware, as well as mobility advantages over contactless POS.
This will be profound for small-sum and mobile merchants that must accept contactless transactions, but lack the need for high-cost dedicated terminals. As such, the research recommends soft POS vendors must look to target micro and mobile merchants; designing solutions that meet their unique needs.
Buy Now Pay Later Users to Reach Over 900 Million Globally by 2027
Buy Now Pay Later users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022.
A new study from Juniper Research has predicted that the number of BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022. This substantial growth of 157% will be driven by the anticipated economic downturn, which will increase the demand for low-cost credit solutions.
BNPL schemes enable consumers to spread the cost of their purchases without interest charges; making them a highly attractive alternative to credit cards. Additionally, BNPL services do not require hard credit checks and an increasing number of merchants are accepting this payment method; making it easier to access for consumers than traditional credit.
India to Experience High User Growth
The research identified India as having potential for rapid growth in BNPL, with users predicted to grow from 25 million in 2022 to 116 million by 2027. This is due to rising eCommerce usage and growing interest in international goods available through online retailers. In turn, it recommends that vendors build strategic partnerships with vendors in developing markets with established consumer bases, to successfully capitalise on this user growth and associated revenue.
Virtual Cards to Further Boost Usage
The research predicts that the adoption of virtual cards, where digital only cards are used for purchases, will increase the usage of BNPL solutions, as they only require merchants to accept card payments – overcoming previous limitations on growth. The advancement of virtual cards allows BNPL schemes to compete with credit cards; particularly in-store, where single use BNPL cards can be used within a digital wallet to complete contactless transactions.
Juniper Research recommends that in order to compete in this highly competitive landscape, BNPL vendors must differentiate their services: including offering virtual cards, browser extensions that automatically facilitate BNPL payment services, and digital loyalty schemes.
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