FG Urged to Tackle Oil Theft

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A former President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Dr Samuel Nzekwe, has expressed concern over the spate of oil theft in the country.
 
He however urged the federal government and other stakeholders to address the challenge so as not to retard the country’s growth.
 
Nzekwe also suggested that the National Assembly should strengthen its oversight function in the power sector to give the economy the desired face-lift.
 
According to him, there was need to regulate the activities of the new investors in the power sector and ensure that quality services are rendered at moderate costs.
 
Nzekwe made the suggestion in a statement in Lagos at the weekend. He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his determination in providing steady power supply for Nigerians through the handover of the power sector to the core investors.
 
The former ANAN president said before now, the activities of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) had negatively affected the nation’s economy. He said government, had however, done well by taking the bold step in privatising the sector.
According to him, the expected revolution in the power sector would bring about increased productivity as the productive sectors become active.
 
“This will in turn create massive jobs for the unemployed youths. When the youths are actively engaged in one form of productive activities or the other, they will think less of crime. The productive sector of the economy will be actively involved and the cost of production will come down.
 
“Goods and services produced nationally will be competitive in the international market,’’ Nzekwe said.
 
The accountant also advised the federal government ensure that entitlements of the disengaged staff of the PHCN workers are paid.
 
He also argued that if the power sector could be fully revived, coupled with adequate infrastructure and security; industries which had closed down would be revived.
He said as an incentive, government could also grant tax holidays to some industries and eliminate multiple taxation.
 
“In this regard, I suggest that the Joint Tax Board should stop playing Advisory role and should enforce compliance with whatever decisions the Board has taken,’’ Nzekwe said.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Ecobank Opens Representative Office in Ethiopia

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) at the weekend announced the opening of its Ethiopian representative office in Addis Ababa.
 
This brings the total number of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in which Ecobank has a presence to 35.
 
The group obtained a licence to operate a representative office in July 2013. The representative office is located in the Yerer Ber district of Addis Ababa, close to both the airport and the city center.
 
 
Via the Addis Ababa representative office, local Ethiopian banks would be able to access Ecobank’s correspondent banking and trade finance activities across Africa as well as correspondent banking in Europe.
 
According to the Group Chief Executive Officer, ETI, Mr. Thierry Tanoh: “Ethiopia has emerged as one of Africa’s most exciting new markets and is forecast to be the world’s third fastest growing economy between 2011 and 2015, behind only China and India.”
 
“Our Addis Ababa representative office will provide us with an opportunity to establish an important foothold in Ethiopia, ahead of the anticipated deregulation of the banking sector.”
 
 
According to him, with continued market reforms and the government’s pro-business agenda, Ethiopia was positioned for sustained rapid growth and the introduction of mobile banking would be a game changer in terms of bringing financial services to the country’s unbanked population of about 80 million people. 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Investors Await Listing of CWG on NSE

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Read Time:1 Minute, 51 Second
Strong indications have emerged that investors are awaiting the listing of leading pan-African Information Communications Technology (ICT) company, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in November.z
THISDAY had reported the proposed listing of the 2.5 billion shares of the company at N5.48 per share. The Managing Director of Cordros Capital Limited, one of the financial advisers to CWG, Mr. Wale Agbeyangi, confirmed the proposed listing to THISDAY in interview last Friday, saying investors are eagerly waiting to buy into the company so as to diversify their portfolio and reap significant returns.
 
 
The joint financial adviser to CWG is  Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited. Agbeyangi said many investors have been making enquiries on how to be part of company, which was said to have posted an average return of equity in excess of 20 per cent between 2008 and 2012.
“The excitement is understandable, considering the performance track record of CWG and the great future prospects. We are concluding necessary arrangements for the listing and come  middle of November the shares would be listed for investors to acquire on the NSE,” Agbeyangi said.
 
 
The company has a diversified customer base including   customers in telecom, oil & gas, government, education, manufacturing, and financial services sectors with operations in 18 of 36 Nigerian states and regional operations in Ghana, Cameroon and Uganda. Some of its customers include: Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, First Bank of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa, Unilever, Cadbury, Nestlé, Etisalat and MTN Group amongst others.
 
 
CWG, which has Mr. Austin Okere as Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, has prominent individual and corporate shareholders including Aureos Africa Fund LLC, a leading private equity firm.
 
 
CWG currently provides ICT infrastructure support to 14 of the 22 banks in Nigeria, and the largest data centre in Africa outside of South Africa. It has also deployed and supports over 3,500 automated teller machines (ATMs) in Nigeria out of the installed base of about 11,000 ATMs. In terms of software, CWG has deployed and supports the Finacle banking application which is being used by eleven financial institutions in Nigeria.
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Corporate Governance to be Made Compulsory for Finance Sector Operators

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The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has said the major regulatory bodies in the Nigeria’s finance sector were considering amalgamating the Corporate Governance codes existing in the respective sub-sectors in the industry.
 
According to the commission, this process would be followed by the making of relevant laws to make compliance with the consolidated codes mandatory for boards and management of companies operating within the sector.
 
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel, stated this while fielding questions from newsmen after the meeting of the newly-inaugurated Governing Board of NAICOM in Lagos recently.
Codes of Good Corporate Governance for the insurance industry currently cover structures, practices and procedures put in place by the board and persons duly appointed by the owners to direct and manage the business of the company. It is also expected to ensure transparency, accountability and enhanced shareholders value.
 
According to him, implementation of corporate governance is the business of Board of Directors of companies even as they are said to be advisory and not mandatory for now.
 
He also confirmed that the major regulators in the finance sector including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the NAICOM were trying to harmonise the codes they issued for operators under their supervision respectively.
 
After amalgamating these codes, the regulators are likely to give the document a legislative back up to make compliance with the codes compulsory and make it possible for the law to be enforced, he added.
 
“Corporate governance as advisory, I think, will soon become a thing of the past. There is an attempt to amalgamate all the codes as set by the pioneers of corporate governance. SEC is the pioneer of corporate governance even before the banks. The Central Bank followed suit and we were the last comer. I am happy that we did it when we did because if we didn’t pass our corporate governance codes then we would have been the old man out.
 
 
“So there is an attempt to amalgamate it and give it some legal backing as we have in the United Kingdom. In the United States of America it is comply or explain but American society is advanced.  People will naturally even want to comply in order to advance their business interests but here we are trying to give it a bit of legislative push,” Daniel said.
 
He also explained why the insurance regulator is not in a hurry to enforce some aspects of the codes, particularly, restricting the number of years a Director can sit on the board of a company saying there was no need for that since the industry is not in crisis.
 
“The press wants us to mimic the banking sector. The banking sector has different problems. Normally, change of board members is the prerogative of shareholders. There was crisis in the banks that made that to happen but we don’t have the same situation in the insurance sector,” the insurance commissioner stressed.
 
Launched by NAICOM in 2009, the Code of Good Corporate Governance for the Insurance Industry in Nigeria refers to the manner in which companies are directed and controlled.
It also encompasses the means by which the board and management are held accountable and responsible for their actions and includes corporate discipline, transparency, independence, accountability, responsibility, fairness and social responsibility.
 
These rules increases competitiveness and makes criminal activities more difficult and helps to provide a degree of confidence that is necessary for the proper functioning of a market economy and economic growth, the insurance regulator stated.
 
Before now, the commission said the “Nigerian insurance industry shall operate on a good corporate governance framework which promotes transparent and efficient markets, and clearly articulates the division of responsibilities among different stakeholders in the industry.”
 
Meanwhile some of the major recommendations of the codes are still being flouted by some operators in the industry with the commission, particularly in the area of composition of Boards of Directors, appointment of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
 
Section 5.04 (x & xi) of the code for insurers states that: “The Chief Executive Officer of the company shall be the person approved by the commission and shall be a member of the board throughout his/her tenure. Any individual taking major action in the running of the company must either be a member of the board, the management or paid consultant.
 
This particular code is further given teeth by the appointment of approved person’s provisions in various insurance laws which require that Chief Executives of companies, Executive Directors and Head of Departments must be qualified insurance professionals with various years of experience in insurance practice.
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria Loses N156 Billion Annually to Foreign Software

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The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has estimated that the country is losing about N156 billion annually, due to heavy patronage of foreign software by Nigerians and multinational companies operating in Nigeria.
 
According to ISPON, the estimated amount is spent on the purchase and importation of foreign software, at the detriment of indigenous software that could perform the same function as the foreign software.
 
The President of ISPON Mr. Chris Uwaje, who disclosed this at the just-concluded 2013 National Software Conference and Competition in Calabar,  organised by the institute, blamed the losses on the inconsistent version upgrade of indigenous software, which he said, had over the time, led to failed software products, project implementation and services.
 
Uwaje also blamed the unregulated state of foreign software products in Nigeria, non-existent national policy and legislation on software, slow implementation of e-government, e-education, tele-medicine and the non-protection of cyberspace for national security and survivability, as other factors militating against the growth of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in the country.
 
He said the annual capital flight to software licensing, delivery services and technical support in the nation's economy have been conservatively valued at N156 billion ($1 billion) annually by the institute.
 
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, who was at the ISPON organised software conference, also lamented the huge economic losses to increasing patronage for foreign software, while delivering a paper on the theme, ‘Software Strategies for Retooling the Workforce’.
 
Johnson argued that for Nigeria, software strategies must not only be about improving productivity but taking promising software developers and software engineers and helping them to become entrepreneurs that can take advantage of the opportunity of transforming the economy, to create jobs and economic wealth.
 
The minister said Nigeria's software industry landscape needed two things – innovation process which will be tailored towards the process of creativity that will ultimately result in the successful development of software solutions and secondly, focus on companies not code and to keep tab to the fact that "brilliantly written lines of code must still be considered as building blocks for successful software companies."
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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MTN Group Records Revenue Drop in Voice, Increase in Data

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MTN Group has released its third quarter report for the period ended September 30, 2013, which showed a decline in its voice telephony revenue, but an increase in its data subscription revenue.
 
The group also announced that it recorded a total of 203.8 million subscribers within the same period, across 22 countries in Africa and Middle East, with Nigeria alone recording 55.6 million subscribers, making it the country with the highest subscriber number among the 22 countries in Africa and Middle East, where MTN has presence.
Commenting on the report, MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, said although during the quarter the group continued to focus on segmented competitive voice and data tariffs and improving network quality to cater for increased traffic, its data and mobile money remained a key focus for the group, even as it suffered pressure from traditional voice revenue.
 
According to him, “Data revenue for the group increased by 34.7 per cent year on year (yoy), contributing 14.1 per cent to total revenue while mobile money subscribers increased 10.7 per cent to 13.4 million across 13 operations.”
 
Dabengwa further said, “The third quarter has been characterised by lower than anticipated subscriber growth following ongoing price competition and subscriber registration requirements across a number of markets. Subscriber growth was limited to 1.1per cent quarter on quarter (QoQ) mainly impacted by disconnections in Nigeria related to registration requirements, slower than expected subscriber growth in South Africa, as well as slower subscriber growth in Iran."
 
According to the report, MTN Nigeria delivered a satisfactory performance, maintaining market share in a highly competitive market. Subscribers grew marginally to 55.6 million. This was impacted by the mandatory SIM registration deadline in July 2013.
These factors will continue to impact net additions for the remaining part of the year. Dabengwa said the key focus during the quarter was on improving network quality and introducing more value added services to customers. He added that there had been a significant improvement in network quality with 812 2G and 497 3G sites added in the quarter.
 
"The quality and capacity of the network now meet regulatory Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), allowing MTN to implement promotional products and services. Segmented product offerings remain a focus as price competition persists."
 
The report also showed that MTN South Africa had some progress after a challenging first half, but insisted that conditions may remain challenging for the remaining part of 2013. According to the report, the South African operation added 233,000 subscribers bringing the total of subscribers to 25.2 million at the end of the quarter.
 
This was attributable to more competitive product offerings and focused marketing campaigns, the report said, adding that the prepaid segment grew its subscriber base marginally, gaining some traction through its revised MTN Zone offering and the launch of a competitive international calling campaign.
 
The report said MTN Ghana performed well in a competitive environment maintaining market share, and QoQ subscribers increased by 1.4 per cent to 12.8 million subscribers. Net additions in the quarter were impacted by a clean-up of the subscriber base. Local currency data revenue increased 67.3 per cent YoY and contributed 8.3 per cent of total revenue and supported the continued double-digit growth in reported revenues.
 
MTN Cameroun delivered encouraging performance, increasing its subscriber base 7.0 per cent to 8.2 million subscribers and maintaining market share, the report said.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NITDA Announces eNigeria 2013, Inaugurates Committee

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has confirmed that it would organise this year's technology conference and exhibition, tagged eNigeria Summit 2013.
 
The acting Director-General of the agency, Dr. Ashiru Daura, who confirmed it, has formally launched the activities towards the successful hosting of the 2013 edition of the NITDA’s annual flagship programme, the eNigeria Summit.
 
While inaugurating the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the event in Abuja recently, Daura said eNigeria had been specially designed to address issues geared towards enhancing local content in the deployment of Information Technology (IT) in the Nigerian economy, adding that the outcome is expected to present a framework for adequately positioning Nigeria among the top leading IT economies across the globe.
 
 
This year’s event is expected to hold from December 3-5, in Abuja with the theme: 'IT Local Content in Nigeria, the Journey so far. Director at the Lagos Business School, Dr. Pat Utomi, is billed to give the keynote address, among other speakers from both the local and international scenes.
 
Utomi is expected to share his wealth of knowledge on the nation as it borders on a knowledge economy driven through the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) as a tool that drives major economies across the globe, while the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, would be the Chief Host.
 
As part of the objective of the summit, eNigeria 2013 will examine and proffer key strategies that will enhance Nigeria’s content in IT, reposition products and services as well as promote requisite framework for empowering indigenous IT entrepreneurs in order to contribute to Nigeria’s gross domestic product.
 
The summit is also expected to also draw up a framework for providing critical employment through IT and other digital opportunity windows just as it will examine challenges and factors militating against IT local content development in the country.
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Samsung Brings Smart Africa Tour to Lagos

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Samsung Electronics West Africa has announced that it is bringing the spirit of Samsung Smart Africa tour to Lagos, offering Nigerians the opportunity to engage with its latest technologies at an exhibition scheduled for November 2 in Lagos.
 
The essence, the company noted, is in furtherance of its commitment to rewarding and inspiring consumers in communities in which it operates.
 
Speaking at a press briefing to announce the initiative, Managing Director, Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Brovo Kim, said the initiative would present a platform for the company to share its products, philosophy and processes with consumers and stakeholders.
 
Kim said it would also provide them with first-hand exposure to the latest innovation in all of its product categories, including audio-visual and home appliances, mobile phones, digital cameras and IT solutions that are built for Africa and promote a smarter way of living.
 
“In our more than ten years of doing business in Nigeria, we have seen the country’s rapid evolution to a technology-savvy market that is heavily reliant on same to drive everyday life. We are happy that Nigerians have given us the opportunity to play a major role in this evolution," Kim said.
 
He added, “Today, the Samsung brand has a huge percentage of the consumer electronics and digital media market in Nigeria and indeed the whole of Africa. This is a testament to our understanding of the unique needs of the African market and Africa as a whole. We are very proud to open up our brand to consumer engagement and to support our communities with the Samsung Smart Africa Tour. This is our way of showing our appreciation to our loyal customers."
 
In addition to providing consumers with the opportunity to interact with Samsung’s products, the exhibition to mark Samsung’s Smart Africa Tour in Nigeria will also feature hourly lucky dips with prizes from Samsung’s range of premium products, karaoke competitions as well as entertainment for children. Registration for participation at the exhibition has already commenced on Samsung’s web and social media sites.
 
Samsung’s sales and help desk professionals will also be on hand to provide consumers with information on how to go about product repairs and the company’s service channels at the event.
 
Samsung’s tour leverages on three key strengths – new technology, innovative products and creative solutions, which, according to Kim, would enable the company engage Nigerians with the Samsung brand story and also give back to society through its corporate social responsibility activities.
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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‘Investors in Power Sector Deserve Our Support’

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Read Time:6 Minute, 35 Second
Engr. Ernest Ndukwe was formerly Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s Telecommunications regulatory agency. He speaks on expectations from the new investors in the power sector and the need for consumers’ patience and support in this interview with James Emejo
 
What is your assessment of the ongoing privatisation of public sector facilities in the country?
 
Privatisation of  government enterprises and utilities should be good for the country and it is a welcome development. It is in fact a worldwide trend which has led to improved efficiencies in service delivery generally.
By privatisation, government  immediately and drastically reduces its funding of inefficient enterprises and divert such resources to fund other areas of social needs such as security services, health care, education and so on.
 
With specific reference to electricity, what is your opinion on the possibility of improved power supply through the privatisation process?
 
Government has now taken the bold steps required to see that this is realised. Without efficient  and constant power supply, Nigeria cannot achieve her full  potential.
Developing economies similar to ours depend on small and medium scale businesses for mass employment generation. This can be achieved in Nigeria with  the millions of small and medium scale industries and enterprises that will naturally evolve from the availability of steady and efficient public  electric power supply. Government should continue in the path it has mapped out and must ensure that the activities of those trying to sabotage the system are checked.
 
There were lots of controversies over the sale of some  Generating (GENCOs) and Distribution companies (DISCOs). What is your take on this?
 
I find the controversies absolutely unnecessary. A close look at the issues will reveal that some of the companies that lost out in the process are not accepting defeat. In a contest of this nature only one company can succeed and those who lost have the option of either joining forces with the successful company or finding something else to do.
 
Do you have any advice on how best
to make the privatised companies more efficient?
 
The secret of success in a business of this nature lies in having a good corporate structure in place, staffed by experienced and well motivated professionals. The companies must of necessity also have the capacity to invest in the expansion of the facilities and supporting technologies.
For the Discos, they must be  able to invest in new distribution infrastructure as well as modern billing platforms that are efficient and consumer friendly. Government on the other hand must keep its own side of the bargain by guaranteeing right of way.
For the  Gencos,  of feedstock such as gas, LPFO, etc on a steady basis is critical to the success of the plants.
 
As a prominent Nigerian from the South East, what are your expectations from Interstate Electrics-the core  investor in the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company?
 
I see a very bright future  for Electricity supply and distribution in the South East and indeed the whole country. Interstate Electric has all it takes to perform. I read a comment in the press by someone who claims that he was not partisan but went ahead to claim that “Interstate Electrics, to the best of (his) Knowledge, has not demonstrated the capacity to perform”. One wonders how he arrived at this conclusion and which of the bidders has demonstrated capacity to perform.
All the companies are new consortium arrangements with international technical partners. With the high profile background of their Consultants and the consortium technical partners, I personally believe that  Interstate Electrics has all it takes to perform well and should be given all the  support.
 
What advice would you give to electricity consumers and stakeholders on supporting the GENCOs and the  DISCOs?
 
I will enjoin all Nigerians to support in full the privatisation effort of the Federal Government. The President means well and has demonstrated commendable bold resolve to see that the processes succeed. For the consumers like me, who are looking forward to a new dawn of efficient and steady electric power supply, I  recommend that we give the new companies all the support they require to deliver on their mandate.
I also want consumers and all well meaning look out for the “wolves in sheep clothing” who are still working so hard  to scuttle the on-going process. These are people with selfish vested interests who may be gaining from the old order and want the status quo to remain.
Regarding service delivery by the new companies, the regulatory body NERC also has a critical role to play  in making them accountable and in building the confidence of  the users by ensuring that billings are accurate and eliminating the regime of “estimated bills”. I am certain that many consumers may not care about tariff levels provided that they are only billed for what is consumed. I can control my consumption to match my pocket as long as electricity is always available whenever I need it. With a good regulatory environment in place consumers will benefit tremendously from the improvement that will accrue from the privatisation process.
 
How would you assess the present state of communications in Nigeria in relation to new developments in  the power sector?
 
Electric power is a critical infrastructure even for the Communications sector. With the anticipated improvement in power supply from the ongoing privatisation process, the Communications sector will be a major beneficiary.
Network roll out will be faster and cheaper. Equipment and systems reliability will also be greatly enhanced. On a more general scale it is hoped that we will have more people and  businesses connected to the grid. When I last checked a few months ago only about 40% of the population is connected to the electricity grid in Nigeria.
 
This scenario brings to memory the situation we found ourselves only a few years, in 2000 when Nigeria only had 0.4% telephone density before the reform  in the communications sector. The telephone density as at  July 2013 stood at 82%; indeed a major revolution was achieved.
By the same token, we can expect  that with a successful reform of the Electric Power sector,  the ongoing privatisation and other initiatives such as the pro-poor energy initiative, close to 100% connection to the grid could be achieved in the next 10 years; and this time with electricity supplied to the consumer at a much higher level of efficiency and reliability.
 
Any other opinion on the state of  the Nation?
 
My Christian beliefs and upbringing requires me to be optimistic and to continually pray for our leaders and those in authority. That God will give us leaders that  think more of the common good and less of selfish gains.
For the Aviation sector which has been in the news recently, I have a few suggestions. We should limit the number of airlines operating in the country to just three or four. And no airline should be allowed to operate unless it has a fleet  of at least 15 airplanes. This will reduce the tendency to cut corners.
 
Also aviation is an industry that requires a lot of investment in new and fuel efficient airplanes and I do not see anything wrong in allowing some reputable international airlines to come and operate as Nigerian registered airlines for local flights.
The aviation industry is so critical and central to supporting commercial activities in the country that we can hardly afford to play with it.
I have many suggestions in this area but I will leave it for another day.
 

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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‘No Shortcut to Human Capital Development’

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Read Time:6 Minute, 36 Second
As various stakeholders stress the neeed for the use of data for economic and business planning, Managing Director,Ciuci Consulting, Mr. Chukwuka Monye, in this encounter with Festus Akanbi said organisations would be able to come up with products and services that meet the needs of the market through the use of market intelligence. He also spoke on the need for human capital development
 
 
The place of data in economic and business management cannot be over-emphasised. However, there is a great dearth of relevant data in the country coupled with the reluctance of business owners to avail themselves of market intelligence services offered by few firms in the country.
 
Speaking on the challenges facing economic and business planners in the country, Managing Director, Ciuci Consulting, a management service company, Mr. Chukwuka Monye said Nigeria is facing three data-related issues.
 
“When it comes to data in Nigeria, we have three major issues. The first is the availability of data; there is limited availability of data and even when this data is available, it is usually outdated. The second is the lack of use of available data; individuals and corporate organisations typically make key decisions without conducting proper research, hence this negatively affects the outcome of their decisions. Finally, the general behaviour towards the use of data is very poor. Nigerians need to adopt the culture of embracing data and research so that they make informed decisions. Currently, about 80% of the people that use our reports are based abroad. This further emphasises our point that the Nigerian public hardly relies on data to make key decisions.
 
Banks’ Survey
Ciuci Consulting recently undertook a survey of consumers’ perception of banks in the country. Explaining why his organisation took such an audacious step, Money said, “Various banks around the world now utilise analytical insights to inform product development and modification. A bank in the USA for example, said its consumer analytics helped it reshape its products – offering more web and mobile applications and providing loan products that appealed to a customer base that was recovering from recession.
“Analytics also helped them understand that their customers preferred “simple” products. This therefore shows the importance of customer insights in developing quality banking products.  With this in mind, we decided to conduct a survey to promote customer centricity and to also serve as a guide to banks so they are constantly trying to satisfy their customers. We analysed different parameters across variables such as age, income level, location, etc. We also conducted a ranking of Nigerian banks based on customer perception.”
 
International Business Award
When asked if he anticipated that the company would within six years contribute so well to the extent of winning an international laurel like the International Business Award it bagged in Barcelona Spain last week, he said,
“No I did not. However, Ciuci Consulting has always been passionate about national development. The firm has also invested a lot of its resources in research primarily for the purposes of circulating useful information to the public. We have published over 50 reports that have been available for free to the Nigerian public. Both the public and private sectors have used some of these publications to make very important decisions. Some of our reports include; “Harnessing the potential of Nigeria’s N86 billion sesame seed market” and “Outbound Medical Tourism: Result of a Poor Healthcare System.”
“Although we are only in our sixth year of operation, it is evident that we have a stake in the development of the continent as we are committed to providing a positive social and economic impact. Ciuci Consulting is passionate about this that we have turned down projects that were more financially rewarding for projects with high social and economic benefits. I am pleased that we are being recognised globally for our efforts.”
 
Improving Qualities of University Graduates
Employers of labour have continued to criticise the quality of graduates churned out by the nation’s universities. When will the situation improve? Monye said “There are no shortcuts to developing human capital. Organisations need to dedicate time, money and effort into developing their workforce. Ciuci has developed two ways to improve the quality of both its workforce and employees of other firms. The first is through our analyst training program (ATP); new employees from Ciuci Consulting and other organisations go through six months of rigorous training in key areas that help develop core technical and soft skills needed to excel in the business environment.
“The second is The Classroom; these are open enrollment training programs Organised periodically to improve the quality of both recent graduates and individuals already working in different sectors in the Nigerian economy.
 
Gap in Education System
“There are a plethora of issues plaguing the Nigerian educational sector. One major issue is the lack of skilled teachers who have the required knowledge needed to deliver quality training to students. Also, another crucial area is the outdated educational curriculum still being used. There is a heavy reliance on theory rather than knowledge application. Students are barely taught how to apply their training in practical situations. What we have is a theory-based system where students are taught strictly theory. Hence, they have adopted a “read to pass” mentality where the primary objective of studying is to pass exams. This has caused most students to struggle when they enter the “real” world.”
 
Partnership on Training
He confirmed that Ciuci Consulting works with firms with expertise in certain specialised areas in order to make its impact more robust. He however stressed the need for a comprehensive “on the job training” program, which he said cannot be overemphasised.
According to him, “The fastest way for an organisation to improve the capacity of its workforce and therefore its output is for it to make a conscious effort to constantly train its employees internally.
He said, “Most large organisations have a comprehensive internal training plan That is strictly followed to develop capacity.  Small and Medium enterprises therefore need to make on the job/internal training a part of their organisation in order to get the best out of their employees. At Ciuci Consulting we organise a weekly internal training program (INTrain) where trainings are delivered based on the training needs of employees. In addition to the internal training, organisations need to always ensure that employees keep learning and improving while performing their daily tasks. A key way to ensure this is by implementing a “lessons learnt” plan where employees are instructed to send in a summary of all they have learnt during the course of a project or task.”
 
Economic Outlook
On the outlook for the economy in the fourth quarter, he recalled that “The nation’s GDP grew by 6.18% between the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2013. The second quarter had an estimated GDP of N9.115tn, lower than N9.840tn estimated for the corresponding quarter of 2012 and N9.493tn recorded in the first quarter of 2013.
“Although the oil sector has been experiencing production challenges, the non oil sector output has maintained a steady increase. This can be attributed to the growth in activities recorded in the agriculture, tourism, construction, manufacturing and retail sectors. Based on this performance, I expect a higher growth in the economy in the last quarter of 2013.
This growth will be as a result of the increase in economic activities in preparation for the festive season. The retail sector for instance will continue to experience growth because of factors such as rising purchasing power, huge growth potential in the economy and a large population with a strong appetite for consumer goods, etc.
 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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