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NCC Begins Training of 600 Youths in ICT




The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced nationwide training of another batch of 600 youths in ICT to make them relevant in the new digital age.

This is contained in a statement issued by the NCC and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the two-week-long training, under the Digital Literacy and skills, would commence simultaneously in Ibadan, Lagos, Ilorin, Abuja, and 12 other centres nationwide.

NAN reports that the package for the training includes free accommodation and feeding of participants, provision of free laptops, computers, mobile mifi internet devices with three months subscriptions, training materials, and training certificates to the participants.

He  said the policy was aimed at redirecting and repositioning the Nigerian youth towards the digital era through digital job creation programmes.

“This involves a two-week training and capacity building initiative for about 600 youths across the six geopolitical zones that will harness their strength and stimulate/empower them for self-employment,” he said.

The Commission said that the effort would increase contributions of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Nigerian economy.

According to the Commission, the expected outcomes of the programme shall include, but not limited to, the implementation of digital inclusion via digital job creation, targeted at the youth; “Reach out to the youth who lack ICT training tools to fit into the digital economy and realize their potential through provision of modern ICT tools to support their trade.

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It said it would “Create a pool of Master-Trainer-Youths who will serve as mentors and trainers to others in their communities and to enhance their earning potentials.”

The training is aimed at strengthening technical and scientific competencies among Nigerian youth, while improving their ability as trained youth to share experiences using ICT as a medium.

It said that the training would improve access to ICT enabled services such as banking, micro, and macro enterprises systems.

“It will strengthen youths’ ability to use digital skills to process documents for planning and budgeting purposes as well as strengthen the ICT Micro and SMEs sub-sector of the economy.

“Equip artisans/youths with the relevant ICT technical skills for smartphone diagnostics, assemble and repairs. Increase self-employment opportunities and increase access to information,” it said.

The Commission said that the training would increase artisans/youths mentorship ability to transfer knowledge and provide needed ICT tools to trainees to aid their craftsmanship. (NAN)

Business News

FEC Approves Policy for Banks to Issue NIN Card  




By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Federal Government, Wednesday, approved that Nigerians can now request their commercial banks to issue them with a debit card, which doubles as their National Identity Card at no extra cost than the normal fees charged for debit cards.

The approval was given by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

Briefing State House Correspondents after the valedictory meeting of the FEC meeting, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Pantami said a memo from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) allowing banks to print a multipurpose debit cards that double as National identity cards.

“It is going to be a form of multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa or any other kind of card.”

Pantami said although the NIMC Act 2007 only mandates Nigerians to have a National Identity Number and not necessarily a printout card, demands for cards have swelled nonetheless.

He explained that “As in the NIMC Act 2007, section 27, what is mandatory for our citizens and legal residents is the acquiring of the National Identity Number, not the card. However, the card is optional.

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“But many citizens, particularly those living in rural communities, always go to NIMC offices complaining that they need the card at hand, even though it’s optional.

“To make it easier, NIMC last year, we introduced a smart ID card you can download from NIMC app. It is just a smart card. You don’t need to have it physically, but that is becoming difficult for our people living in rural communities.”

To ease the difficulty, Pantami said “NIMC has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria so citizens who are interested in having a card at hand can easily go to the relevant banks.”

“The bank is permitted to print the card along with either Mastercard or Visa card. It is going to be a form of multipurpose card that will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other. And based on the agreement, it is without any additional costs on our citizens.

“So when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to be multiple purpose where it will serve as my bank card and also my national identity card’. Both of them are going to be printed on the same card and it is going to serve the same purposes without any additional costs.

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“So that memo has also been approved by the Federal Executive Council,” Pantami said.

The Minister revealed that NIMC and the CBN signed a nondisclosure agreement to protect the privacy and confidentiality of card applicants.

“NIMC and the central bank signed a nondisclosure agreement where your privacy and your confidentiality must be respected in the course of providing the card for you.

“When you apply for the card, the bank will apply online to NIMC through their database. When they verify and confirm that your record in the database is in alignment with your record in NIMC database, it will be permitted and the card is going to be printed for you immediately,” the outgoing Minister told journalists.

In a similar vein, Pantami revealed that FEC okayed a memo proposing the deployment of an automated system to integrate NINs with individual SIM cards.

The system, he noted, is to consolidate the implementation of the NIN-SIM linkage.

He said “As we all know that previous administrations made efforts to verify NIN and SIM starting from 2011 without success. In February 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the implementation of the policy and the revised version of the policy was also launched and unveiled by Mr. President on May 6, 2021.

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“As it stands today, the NIN and SIM policy registration is being implemented. In order to consolidate the implementation.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission came up with a proposal that will enhance the implementation of the policy and bring many more benefits to it.”

Pantami boasted that the automated system will sanitise the database and ease the process of SIM replacement for Nigerians or legal residents.

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Hacked Server Saga: Census Chairman Seeks UN’s Help




By Prosper Okoye

The National Population Commission 2023 census server has been hacked, NPC Federal Commissioner Sanny Sale revealed yesterday.

Mr. Sanny said that the hacked portal was the reason for the indefinite postponement of the local government area-level training of supervisors and enumerators scheduled to hold on April 13th.

“We got know that some people have started creating results already, and we don’t want a situation whereby some people will send fake results from the wards to the server,” he said.

Commentators have expressed fears about the inability of the commission to conduct a credible census exercise due to the postponements and other irregularities in the ad-hoc staff recruitment process.

DAILY ASSET gathered that the application status of many people that had applied for ad-hoc positions through the NPC official recruitment site has remained pending; while those whose applications were approved alleged that they made some payments to get theirs’ approved.

further speaking, Mr. Sanny said everything about the census exercise has been placed on hold until the commission gets the assurance that the census server is secured.

“If this work is done now it will take us another 10 years to do another one, and we cannot use the wrong figure gotten for the development planning of our country.

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“For this reason, our chairman is leaving Nigeria today for the United Nation to tell them what is happening so that they will also assist us in controlling the server,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman Census Committee Dr. Ipalibo Harry Harry has assured that the postponement would not affect the conduct of the Population and Housing Census scheduled to hold from May 3 to May 7.

He said that the commission was ready to conduct a credible census, adding that they had already concluded the training of Quality Data Managers and others.

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Business News

AfDB Supports Africa Fintech Hub Project with $525,000 Grant




The African Development Bank (AfDB), have signed a 525,000 dollar agreement to support Africa Fintech Network’s (AFN)’s Hub project.

Director-General, AfDB, Nigeria Country Department, Mr Lamin Barrow, during the signing in Abuja yesterday, said the project would boost the fintech industry on the continent.

“This grant of 525,000 dollars, will support the operationalisation of an on-line digital hub to serve as a repository of knowledge for fintech entities across the continent, and globally.

“The Digital Hub, which is to be delivered through a strategic partnership between the Africa Fintech Network and Cenfri, will help to strengthen the fintech ecosystem across Africa, and boost the industry’s competitiveness.

“The grant is funded by the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), inaugurated by the AfDB Group, together with its partners the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“Other partners are Ministry of Finance of Luxembourg, and Agence Française de Développement in 2019, with the Ministry of Finance and Economy of France and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) joining in 2020 and 2022 respectively.”

The director-general said the event marked an important milestone in AfDB’s efforts to promote digital innovation and financial inclusion in African Countries.

Barrow quoted the 2021 Global Findex Study, as saying that 49 per cent of Africans were excluded from the formal economy and the benefits it brought.

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He reiterated the importance of fintech on the continent among which is to provide powerful, readily available and effective digital financial solutions to help bridge the financial inclusion gap.

Barrow said with the current digital disruption in the financial sector, more fintech startups were coming to the fore.

“These companies are leveraging technology to provide innovative financial services, including payment, lending, savings, financial literacy and financial infrastructure services.

“That result in greater efficiency, better service provision and lower costs,” he said.

According to him, financial inclusion is key to economic empowerment and resilience, particularly for underserved segments of our society.

He said the need to leapfrog barriers and scale up inclusive digital financial solutions to accelerate economic resilience across Africa had become even more urgent.

He quoted AfDB’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, as saying, with the right investments in innovation and smart digital growth, the obstacles to achieving financial inclusion and greater economic opportunity for all would be overcome.

According to Barrow, the Hub will enable fintech associations across Africa to pool knowledge, strengthen partnerships and showcase their innovations and impact, including from female-led or owned fintech enterprises.

“The project design is underpinned by detailed needs assessment that informed the value proposition of the AFN Hub as a one-stop knowledge repository.

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“It will help enhance coordination among African fintech associations, improve linkages for market access and investment opportunities, for effective advocacy with key public and private stakeholders.

“The AfDB is strongly committed to our partnership with the AFN to fully unlock Africa’s fintech potential and create a digital economy.”

Responding, Dr Segun Aina, AFN President, thanked AfDB for the support, while pledging their commitment to deliver the project.

“We are indeed delighted that AfDB is playing a leading role in supporting this innovative initiative. The AFN is equally committed to the partnership with the AfDB.

“And we look forward to building on this productive collaboration going forward, as there is still a lot to be done to unleash the potential of digital inclusion for Africa toward creating the Africa that we want,” Aina said. (NAN)

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