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For Telecoms, A Place In The Sun For Alarmists, By Okoh Aihe

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For Telecoms, A Place In The Sun For Alarmists, By Okoh Aihe

There was suppressed excitement across the land last week. The country’s economy, dealt a massive blow into depression by COVID-19, suddenly witnessed a renaissance, a stirring out of that dazed stupor into some place under the sun, making some of us to learn how to smile again.

The news was so sudden that some people didn’t know how to believe it and are only now trying to respond in a way to encourage the economic minders to do even more. Because the possibility is that if we mistake these tiny ripples of life to be strong signs of real recovering, there is the more likelihood that we go into a more serious one as we often don’t know how to dance our way out of trouble but instead force ourselves down the slippery slope like somebody courting disaster.

Therefore, the announcement that Nigeria witnessed 0.11% in Q4’2020 sounded more like music to the ears although Nigerians are not about breaking into a dance. They have been so disappointed over the years, taking promises in their face value to the effect that they are unable to seek forgiveness for attracting this moment of hazardous folly upon themselves. But good news is good news and even in its infinitesimal manifestation in our land, we must manage a smile with suspicious restraints.

The smile came last week, giving a justification to the alarmists, those always shouting about the protection of the telecommunications sector, that they are not wrong and that there is, indeed, a justification to jealously secure the sector for our collective good. The cliché instructs that you do not kill the fowl that lays the golden eggs! The ICT sector of which Telecoms remains a very visible component is heading down that lane that attracts protection and preservation.

READ ALSO: Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd. (“Group”) Announces Significant

The figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which showed a mild positive economic growth of 0.11 per cent also credited the Information and Communications Technology Sector with an encouraging growth of 15.06 per cent in Quarter 4, 2020, thus remaining one of the few sectors to enjoy a double digit growth throughout the year in spite of the pandemic, with others being 13.47 per cent Quarter 3, 2020, 17. 83 per cent Quarter 2, 2020, and 14.07 Quarter 1, 2020.

Comparatively, the Oil sector contributed 5.87 per cent in the same quarter down from 8.73 per cent in Quarter 3, 2020. The report noted that oil production stood at 1.56m barrels per day which is way below the 2.00m per day recorded in the same quarter of 2019. In everything production there is unpredictability especially in our part of the world and the oil sector is not sequestered from such vagaries. And this should give us some concerns because we are still some years away from what Jeremy Rifkin called the ‘carbon bubble’ in his book, The Green New Deal, when the world will rely more on cleaner sources of energy, and what we have always bragged about as our massive investment in the oil sector, the magic mono product that sustains our economy, will become stranded assets. That day is not far away and yet our oil production is not stable enough to meet the exigencies of the immediate.

So, in a troubled world the ICT sector rallied to a surge. This is hardly surprising because technology has always been there to ameliorate the worries of the world in moments of crisis. This is what has happened in Nigeria. When the world started to shut down last year under the weight of COVID-19 and shifted the breathing pattern to a new normal, ICT provided the vessels of communication. There were no movements but people were talking. There were no cinemas yet people were entertained. Even when jobs were lost and people suffered hunger they still scrounged enough to buy air time so that they could stay connected. But for technology it would have been a nightmare far beyond what anybody could ever imagine. What showed on the GDP is not a fluke and, without being a prophet, technology is going to provide the support structure for our GDP into the foreseeable future.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Hits Highest In Over Two Years

You therefore need to understand the alarmists when they cry that the telecommunications sector needs to be delivered and protected. As I write, there are still some states that put strictures on the part of service rollout by telecom operators or even allow expansion where services are already available. In parts of the country where there are security challenges – and the challenges are pervasive – but obviously more serious in some areas, telecommunications services have been seriously disrupted and or totally decoupled from existence.

Plus the security challenges are the activities of some highly placed government officials, the politicians among them who throw their weight around some regulatory agencies while trying to approximate the laws setting up these agencies. This writer has always shouted on this column that the telecommunications and Broadcast sectors are too important to be subjected to the mood swings of an ephemeral politician. They need to be freed up for growth to enable the sectors build up the strength to leverage the country into the future. Those who doubt the importance of ICT should ask themselves just these questions: Where was Zoom two years ago and where is it now? Which technology supplies the oxygen to the new normal?

One other matter. The government seems to be thinking right when, last week, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved about N8.9bn for a new National Information and Communication Technology park in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). My little warning is that this project should not be a packaged deal for any politician or a political stunt. This nation obviously needs such intervention projects that can withstand or at least attenuate a headline inflation of 16.47 per cent and food inflation of 20.57 percent. We need to put an end to the hunger in the land using technology.

 

Okoh Aihe writes from Abuja.

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Interswitch Commences Sale of 2021 JAMB ePINs

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Interswitch Commences Sale of 2021 JAMB ePINs

Interswitch Group, Africa’s leading technology-driven company focused on the digitization of payments in Africa has announced the opening of its platform for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registrations.

Parents and guardians of prospective candidates intending to register for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) can now obtain their ePINs from enabled Interswitch platforms such as Quickteller Mobile App/Web, Quickteller Paypoint (Agents), via payment with Interswitch WebPAY on JAMB’s website and through payment using Interswitch Paydirect at any bank branch nationwide from Thursday, April 8, 2021.

READ ALSO: UTME: JAMB To Prosecute Offenders Of Admissions Process

The Interswitch platforms simplifies the registration process and eliminates the cumbersome JAMB registration process faced by many candidates nationwide. Registration for the exam (UTME) will last for six weeks and end on Saturday, May 15, 2021. Candidates are advised to optimize this registration period.

For a seamless registration process, prospective candidates including those registering from foreign countries should follow these easy steps:

1. Candidates should obtain the National Identification Number (NIN), this is mandatory

2. SMS ‘NIN’, space, & your 11-digit NIN number to 55019 e.g [NIN 00123456789]. Note that there should be a space between the word ‘NIN’ and your 11-digit NIN.

3. You’ll receive an SMS with your 10-digit profile code and your registered NIN name.

4. Visit JAMB website, click purchase of 2021 application document, and enter your 10-digit

5. Select ‘Pay Online’ to pay on the website via Interswitch or pay via the Quickteller website/app or at the nearest Quickteller Paypoint outlet.

6. Your ePIN will be delivered to your registered telephone number.

READ ALSO: UTME: Beware Of Fraudsters, Rumour-Mongers, JAMB Warns Public

The cost of registration is N3,500 as directed by Federal Government since 2018. However, each candidate will also pay an additional N500 for reading text to be provided by CBT Centres at the point of registration. Consequently, every prospective candidate will pay a total of N4,000.

According to Tomi Ogunlesi, Group Head, Corporate Marketing, “At Interswitch, as the leading enabler of electronic transaction solutions in Nigeria, we have provided a variety of payment platforms that are reliable, user-friendly and secure, to ensure JAMB’s UTME registration process is seamless for prospective candidates”.

“Since our accreditation by JAMB in 2017, Interswitch has successfully enabled a seamless registration process for UTME candidates. Our services are available online, across more than 18,000 ATMs, at all bank branches nationwide and through over 32,000 Quickteller Paypoint Agents across Nigeria” Ogunlesi added.

 

 

About Interswitch

Interswitch is a leading technology-driven company focused on the digitization of payments in Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Founded in 2002, Interswitch disrupted the traditional cash-based payments value chain in Nigeria by supporting the introduction of electronic payments processing and switching services.

Today, Interswitch is a leading player with critical mass in Nigeria’s developing financial ecosystem and is active across the payments value chain, providing a full suite of omni-channel payment solutions. Interswitch’s vision is to make payments a seamless part of everyday life in Africa, and its mission is to create transaction solutions that enable individuals and communities to prosper across Africa. Interswitch’s broad network and robust payments platform have been instrumental to the development of the Nigerian payments ecosystem and provide Interswitch with the infrastructure to expand across Africa.

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Nigerians React As Twitter Goes To Ghana

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Nigerians React As Twitter Goes To Ghana

Yesterday (Monday, April 13, 2021), Twitter’s Founder, Jack Dorsey announced that the micro-blogging site will be headquartered in Ghana.

“Twitter is now present on the continent. Thank you Ghana and @NAkufoAddo. #TwitterGhana,” Dorsey tweeted.

The announcement has since set Twittersphere abuzz, as Nigerians took to Twitter to register their opinions.

While some Nigerians blamed the choice on policies said to negatively affect the ease of doing business in Nigeria, others claimed the government’s clampdown on protesters during the #EndSARS protests contributed to Twitter’s decision to choose Ghana.

“Maybe Jack couldn’t get SIM card,” Nimueh Anacksunamun, tweeted.

See other reactions below:

Meanwhile, Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghanian president, has welcomed the development.

“The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is EXCELLENT news. Gov’t and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country,” the president tweeted in reply to Dorsey’s tweet.

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Lexus To Produce At Least 10 Electric Vehicles By 2025

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Lexus To Produce At Least 10 Electric Vehicles By 2025
LF-Z Electrified

Lexus set to produce 20 new brands of vehicles by the year 2025, with the executives rumoring more than half to be all-electric or electrified hybrid models.

The Luxury Vehicle is a division of the Japanese automobile Toyota brand.

Lexus vehicles are marketed in over 70 countries globally.

READ ALSO: Dangote Sugar Denies Involvement in Price-Fixing, Asserts its Strong Participation in the NSMP

The Toyota Motors-owned luxury brand unveiled a new concept car on Tuesday called the LF-Z Electrified.

 

 

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