From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has tasked the ICT sector to focus on finding solutions to issues of concern to the community.
He said the sector should develop a community vision based on the principle that development should occur not only in the public service sector but also in the managerial sector.
He spoke at the AFRITEX ICT Export Industrial Forum and Expo 2016 in Abuja .
While commending the efforts of the Ministry of Communications and AFRITEX in achieving the objective of hosting the event, Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said the initiative, which marked the culmination efforts and synergy, was a significant milestone in the ongoing commitment to infusing ICT into diversifying the Nigerian economy.
In his plenary speech, Shittu, who spoke through the Permanent Secretary, Sonny Echono said local content was vital in achieving the overarching mandate of economic diversification and empowerment of the ICT ecosystem in the country.
He observed that Nigeria was ceding about 70 per cent of the country’s technology market to the foreign brands due to apathy for locally made products, stating that government has put in place policies and implementation that would bring recognition to indigenous creativity and protect intellectual property.
Executive Director, Afritex Initiative, Ugwu Emeka said African Information Technology Exhibition and Empowerment Initiative is an independent pan-African, not-for-profit and non-governmental organization, committed to promoting engagement with and among stakeholders in the ICT industry for the objectives of a developed digital and SMART economy in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The theme of this year`s workshop was ‘Embracing ICT Export as an Alternative means to diversify the Non-Oil Industrial Sector’.
Some other dignitaries at the occasion included representatives of the Senate President, ECOWAS, NITDA, NEPC and NCC etc.
CUSTOMS: Customs begins training in Chinese
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in collaboration with the Embassy of China in Nigeria yesterday commenced training officers serving in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Command in Chinese language.
Opening the programme, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) said the service placed high premium on training of officers in foreign languages because world trade cannot be complete without learning other languages.
The CG who was represented by Comptroller, Programmes and Planning, noted that the Chinese language has become as internationally accepted as the Asian country’s products.
The Chinese Consular, Mr. Dang Ying emphasised the burgeoning relationship with Nigeria in areas of trade and infrastructure which underpinned the present efforts at enhancing bilateral relationship between the two nations.
He noted that the laudable initiative was packaged by the embassy as part of its corporate social responsibility programme.
Also speaking, the Controller, FCT Area Command, Mr. Aminu Dahiru, stressed the importance of language which according to him “brings about positive attitudinal change and acceptance, brotherliness and foster sense of belonging, tolerance and security especially now that the world is indeed a global village.”
Agriculture: NIRSAL guarantees N61bn loan to agriculture, says MD
From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Managing Director of the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Mr Aliyu Hameed said between 2013 and 2015, the organisation guaranteed loans totaling N61.160 billion to agriculture and paid out N753.35 million rebate to borrowers who paid back their loans on time.
The MD also said NIRSAL has guaranteed up to 207 agricultural value chain projects worth N39.49 billion under the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD). It also paid interest draw back to beneficiaries on 91 projects valued at $2.2 million (N439.09.82 million)
Hammed promised that NIRSAL would facilitate lending to 3.8 million agricultural producers out of the estimated 14 million agricultural producers in Nigeria in the next 10 years.
The MD made the remarks in his presentation at the Design Workshop on Establishing an African Agriculture Risk-Sharing and Financing Mechanism organized by the African Development bank (AfDB) in Nairobi, Kenya.
He explained that unlike oil and gas, the growth of agriculture in Nigeria will lead not only lead to prosperity but also improvement in income equality in the country.
Education:FG suspends decision on BSC/HND dichotomy
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government has put on hold the much-awaited decision on BSC/HND dichotomy.
The bid is intended to abolish the disparity between university graduates from those from the polythecnics, particularly as it concerns employment in public and private sectors.
Daily Sun gathered that as a follow up to the minister’s announcement in Kaduna last week, the Ministry of Education had planned to make formal pronouncement on the policy this week.
The decision to put it on hold is to allow for further consultations and input from relevant authorities, particularly the National Council on Establishments.
“This is serious government policy that has effect on millions of Nigerian students. So, the minister is careful not to make a mistake that would further compound the issue. To this end, he has decided to wait for the input of the National Council on Establishments and the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) before it could be formally announced,” the source said.
The minister had raised the hope of polythecnic students who are mostly affected by the disparity when he announced at the Kaduna Polythecnic convocation last week that the Federal Fovernment has concluded plans to abolish the dichotomy that hitherto existed between these two educational qualifications.
Planning: Chinese Exim bank rates Nigeria high in loan repayment
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Vice President of EXIM Bank of China has scored Nigeria high in terms of loan repayment, assuring that the bank was ready to deepen the bilateral cooperation with the country and extend financial support for development purposes.
Mr. Yuan Xingyong made the disclosure when the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma who is presently on official trip to China met with the management of the bank at its headquarters in Beijing to seek funding assistance for critical projects in Nigeria.
Media Adviser to the minister, Mr. James Akpandem, in a statement, said during the meeting with the Vice President of EXIM Bank of China, Senator Udoma solicited the aid of the Bank to enable it execute some of the basic infrastructure projects that would drive economic growth and development of the country.
Udoma listed some projects that the Federal Government submitted to China for financial assistance to include the Nigerian railway modernization projects from Lagos to Kano – (Lagos –Ibadan) and Lagos – Kano (Kano – Kaduna).
Others are the coastal railway project from Calabar to Lagos, the Mambilla Hydro-electric project and the Niger Delta East-West road project.