By Idris Bakare
The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami has commended MainOne, a Technology Service Provider for its steadfastness towards achieving Nigeria’s migration from natural resources economy to knowledge based economy.
The Minister, who was represented by Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said that MainOne deserves commendation for organising an event that brought together Technology Community in Nigeria and leading Tech-providers to discuss latest development in the industry and fine tune ways of improving the Technology Ecosystem.
He said that private sectors need to come together and key into the Federal Government readiness to ensure that Nigeria compete with other countries in the area of technology, especially Internet of Things (IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), to help create jobs in the country.
Dr Pantami also stated that the Federal Government redesignated the Ministry of Communications to Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, adding that, this change happened as a result of emerging trend where Information Technology is taking over world’s economy.
The Minister noted that President Muhammadu Buhari received a report that indicates how ICT is becoming more lucrative than oil, therefore he recommended for redesignation that gave birth of the Ministry with a new mandate.
He said, “ICT has taken over oil and Nigeria has embraced this idea for economic diversification, however, in digital economy, data is the oil. The sector is now 2nd largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“We have done so many things and we are still doing more in cloud policy strategy and data protection regulations. Our mission is we build a nation where digital innovation and entrepreneurship are used to create value and prosperity for all,” he said.
Dr Pantami added that the five biggest companies in the world namely; Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook are all Cloud Service Providers.
Speaking on Nigeria’s data operation, Pantami explained that the Federal Government has about 90 percent of its data hosted in Nigeria, “more than 90 per cent of government data is hosted locally and we are hoping to achieve 100 per cent,” the Minister said.
He said hosting of National data outside Nigeria has security implications. He urged MainOne, investors and other private companies to champion data hosting business in Africa.
The Minister further stated that Federal Government is committed to providing the needed infrastructure to make the business of data hosting a successful one, noting that data centres have a critical role to play in achieving the mandate of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
“MainOne has taken the big step of involving in cloud services and that is why we are partnering with them. We want to have more of MainOne in Nigeria so that cloud service would be made available and our data be hosted locally,” Pantami added.
Earlier, the Founder/CEO of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke, thanked Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami for his sterling performance since his appointment as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.
Opeke said that she remains optimistic about MainOne Services, and assures the Minister of her total commitment towards achieving Digital Nigeria.
“Our company’s dream is to become a Technology Solution with highest customers in Nigeria, we remain hopeful on what we intend to achieve in the their future,” she said.
Ms Funke added that in the next five years about 100 million Nigerians will be active online using different devices, hence the need to establish enormous data centre in the country.
Glo to expand fibre connectivity by 5,000km
Leading telecommunications provider, Globacom Nigeria has revealed plans to expand its fibre connectivity in the country by 5,000km.
The company made this known at a press conference to commemorate its 20th anniversary in Lagos.
Speaking on the future plans of the telecommunications giant that has now evolved into a digital solutions provider, the Chief Technology officer, Remi Makinde said the company has commenced the upgrade of its LTE sites with additional spectrum resources nationwide geared towards ensuring it always provide premium voice and high-speed data user experience.
Speaking further he said, “Our national optic fiber and IP/MPLS backhone and metro network is also currently being expanded with additional 5,000Km from current span of 14,000Km.
“Further Capacity Expansion of our Glo 1 submarine optical fiber infrastructure from Lagos-London is ongoing to accommodate our massive data growth for our direct interconnectivity with the likes of Google, YouTube and Facebook and other ISPs and corporate bodies across all sectors of the economy.”
Promising on delivering increased customer satisfaction and efficiency, Remi also stated that Glo will further expand its footprints nationwide with additional 2,000 sites per year.
He explained that the focus of its infrastructure expansion in 2024 will be more visible in the metro areas due to increased pressure on the bandwidth.
He however noted that the company remains committed to the National broadband plan and will still continue to invest heavily in infrastructure reaching the unreached areas in the country also.
Also, speaking, Head of Enterprise Marketing of Glo, Tega Agofure restated the commitment of the brand to supporting SMEs.
According to him, Glo provides outsourcing services for customer care support for organisations, tailor made data bundles and lots of exciting offers for its consumers.
MDAs must leverage blockchain to promote transparency, curb corruption — NITDA DG
The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa has harped on the importance of the adoption of Blockchain technology amongst government agencies and departments to promote transparency and curb corruption.
The NITDA DG made this known at a seminar organised for Course 32 by the National Defence College, (NDC.) The Participants were drawn from officers in the rank of Colonel and their equivalents from the Nigerian Armed Forces, senior officers from the Nigerian Police Force and public servants from strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Nigeria.
The title of the lecture delivered by the Director General was “Blockchain Technology for Improved Transparency in Governance: Blockchain-Based Public Procurement in Perspective.”
While listing bribery, bid rigging, extortion, coercion and fraudulent bid submissions as major challenges to the traditional procurement process, the DG noted that the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, through the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy is committed to leveraging the use of Blockchain technology in addressing these challenges.
He stated that Blockchain technology enables a secure, transparent and tamper-proof record, adding that, “It is secure because digital files are cryptographically signed by an issuer and registered on the Blockchain; it is transparent because it is broadcast openly and it is tamper-proof because it is blocked in a distributed manner.”
Highlighting the steps in a Blockchain transaction process, he said that transactions are first initiated on the Blockchain network and then verified using cryptographic technology which has both public and private keys, Inuwa stated that transaction would be added to a block which is a batch of transactions.
He informed the participants that when the block attains a particular specification or size, it is thereafter added to a chain of other blocks through a process called a “consensus,” and distributed to all nodes within the network to achieve a tamper-proof record.
While noting the economic value of Blockchain and its enormous impacts on national development, the NITDA’s boss disclosed that “according to PricewaterCoopers (PwC), Blockchain will add $1.76 trillion to the global economy by 2030 and every country today is trying to position itself on how to benefit from this.”
He added that Nigeria needs to embrace the implementation of Blockchain technology as it can be applied in administrative tracking and tracing; digital identity; smart contracts; supply chains, healthcare systems, electronic voting processes and many more.
“So, looking at these applications, you can easily connect this to public procurement because the essence of public procurement is to ensure that government acquires good services and work in a transparent, efficient and cost-effective manner,” he averred.
Inuwa further asserted that Blockchain technology will play critical roles and improve transparency and openness in the planning, bidding, evaluation, implementation and monitoring stages of a procurement process.
Recognising the importance of this technology, he disclosed that the Federal Executive Council approved the National Blockchain Policy on the 5th of May 2023 and it was launched on the 15th of the same month.
The Director General underscored the government’s efforts at implementing the thematic areas of the policy document which are Talent Development, Innovation and Adoption through various collaborations with relevant institutions and initiatives developed to spur the ecosystem.
He said, “We partnered with Dominion to train Nigerians and we have trained 32,000 Nigerians on Blockchain and how to apply the technology in different areas.”
He disclosed that the Agency has partnered with the National Youth Service Corps on the issuance of discharge certificates to corps members adding that the technology will put an end to certificate forgery and the implementation would be extended to other institutions.
He stated also that the Agency has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the ecosystem in conducting an innovation challenge on the use of Blockchain to accelerate the adoption of the e-Naira.
“These are the things the government is doing to accelerate the use of Blockchain and we are also open to working with you and collaborating with your research fellows to see how we can work together in developing your processes,” he concluded.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commandant of the NDC, Rear Admiral Olumuyiwa Olotu, appreciated the NITDA boss for gracing the occasion and stated that the participants were gathered to gain insight into how national unity can be fostered to enhance their respective missions, security, and development through the application of science and technology.
While noting that the government has been investing massively in science and technology as well as innovation programmes to enhance the development and security of the nation, the Commandant revealed that the government in conjunction with Oracle has been developing technology to reform the civil service processes and data management.
“With this initiative, the government aims to promote the ease of real business, digital innovation, effective identity management, efficient payroll administration, and qualitative citizen service delivery in Nigeria,” he
Increase your investment in Nigeria’s ICT research to boost local content — NCC EVC to Nokia
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, has called on Nokia Networks to increase its investments in Research and Development (R&D) to boost the local content of Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Maida spoke when a delegation from Nokia Networks of Finland led by the Deputy Minister, Under-Secretary of State for International Trade from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Jarno Syrjala, visited the Commission recently to explore further opportunities for mutually-beneficial relationships.
He told the delegation that the Nigerian government is keenly interested in harnessing Nokia’s capabilities through technology transfer to support Nigerian youths in technical skills.
The Nigerian government is targeting training of three million youths in ICT skills to advance the country’s digital economy.
“We are keen on getting the youths employed, as our Ministry is targeting three million youths for skills acquisition,” the EVC said.
Maida informed the Nokia contingent that the Commission places primacy in R&D as the bedrock of any knowledge economy, and for advancement of innovation.
He, therefore, urged Nokia and other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), to explore R&D opportunities to deepen local content development in Nigeria.
While congratulating Maida on his appointment by President Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s chief telecom regulator, Syrjala said the purpose of the visit was to explore areas of collaboration to support Nigeria’s digital economy agenda.
Syrjala recalled Nokia’s continued partnership with communications service providers in Nigeria, as well as cable and other operators to deliver critical networks systems with high performance, reliability, and security.
He noted that Nokia already has an R&D Centre in Nigeria, and would target greater investment in this regard.
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