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New NCC Boss Sets Agenda For Telecoms Growth

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Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Eugene Juwah, said on Sunday in Lagos that the commission would focus on six key areas for the growth of the telecommunications industry within five years.

Juwah told newsmen that one of the major areas the commission would concentrate on would be the consolidation and integration of mobile wireless services.

He named the other areas as fixed lines and broadband deployment for national development, enhanced competitive market for enhanced consumer choice and vigorous compliance, monitoring and enforcement of regulations.

According to him, the rest are national connectivity for accelerated growth and enhanced international relations.

He said the current mobile network in Nigeria was not fully optimised and that the nation could derive more value from an optimised mobile network, especially with an improved quality of service.

“The commission will encourage the upgrade of mobile networks to include 3G data overlays for the implementation of application services.

“This will include but not limited to mobile payment, estate agency and other entertainment services using the internet as a plank.

“We want to achieve this by implementing the key performance indicators for quality of services that can be possibly monitored independently by the commission with zero tolerance for non-compliance.

“Such wireless network will also deliver enhanced and integrated services to such other national projects as the Emergency Communications Centres being implemented by the commission in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,’’ he said.

He said the NCC would strive to bring fixed lines back to homes, schools, offices and businesses, adding that plans for massive deployment of broadband infrastructure were being explored.

“While it is true that mobile phone has attained high penetration and usage, for many homes, businesses and companies, there still exists a yawning need for fixed line access.

“We are therefore, currently working out the details on how to implement this desirable project which would bequeath the nation with an accomplished and robust telephone network for national development.

“This means that the nation will expect more licenses coming out from the commission, while investors are being informed of new opportunities that the Nigerian market presents,’’ Juwah said.

He added that in the next five years, the NCC would concentrate on enhanced competitive market which would ensure enhanced choices for the consumer.

According to him, there is need to enhance the competition in the market to bring about the best in all the operators as competition also breeds best atmosphere for the consumer.

“The situation must change and all the stakeholders in the industry will need to inject a new corporate governance approach towards compliance with existing regulations and directions,’’ Juwah said.

He noted that the Monitoring and Compliance Department, set up by the commission was being equipped with human and material resources needed for effective performance.

Juwah said the regulatory body would focus on national connectivity for accelerated growth in which the commission planned to reduce the distance of access to telecommunications services for every Nigerian.

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Zoho  Introduces Free Digital Invoice To Empower SMEs

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Zoho Corporation, a global technology company yesterday announced  its free online invoicing solution, ‘Zoho Invoice’ to further extend the company’s support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
The Corporation’s Regional Manager, Africa, Mr Andrew Bourne, said in a statement  that the company’s decision reinforced its support for the SME community and would allow business owners to simplify billing and payment processes.
According to him, digital invoice also helps companies receive payments faster.
According to reports that digital invoice makes life easier.
It replaces the tedious processing of paper invoices and manual processes, with an innovative, simple, automatic and secured method of conducting businesses.
Bourne said that Zoho Invoice’s revenue growth had rapidly increased, demonstrating the need for a comprehensive invoicing solution to aid businesses from any industry to shift from manual to digital.
According to him, due to the pandemic, SMEs have decided to modernise their invoicing processes at an accelerated rate.
“We launched Zoho Invoice in 2008, with the goal of providing a fully customisable invoicing solution for businesses of all sizes; since then we have  grown to millions of users worldwide.
“Through the migration from paper-based invoicing to digital invoicing we have  seen the need for simplified billing to fit the customised needs of the SME community.
“Our roots are centred around helping the SME community which has supported Zoho from the beginning, and we understand the challenges that SME’s have had to undergo that were onset from the global pandemic.
“We hope offering Zoho Invoice for free continues to help businesses rebuild and grow amongst challenging times that they face today and for the future,’’ he said.
Bourne said that to continue the company’s support of the SME community, Zoho Invoice was also  offering advanced capabilities such as time tracking, auto recording of expenses and project billing,.

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NCC To Strengthen Judicial Collaboration In Tackling Telecoms Challenges

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in a bid to further protect telecoms infrastructure in the country, has restated its commitment to continue to strengthen collaboration with judicial institutions in Nigeria.
Director, Public Affairs, NCC,Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, made this known in a statement yesterday in Abuja.
The statement said that the Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, gave the assurance during a courtesy visit by a delegation of the Kano State Judiciary to the NCC’s Kano Zonal Office.
Danbatta said that the Commission was doing everything within its regulatory mandate to enforce compliance among licencses as well as collaborating with stakeholders to protect telecom infrastructure.
He expressed regrets that some individuals indulged in willful damage of telecom infrastructure, vandalism, telecoms facility theft, and fibre optics cuts, among other crimes.
He said the criminal conspired to degrade the quality of service (QoS) in the country and, since the NCC had no prosecutorial power, the need to strengthen collaboration with the judicial arm of the government at all levels became expedient.
The EVC said that the recently-concluded NCC’s Judges Workshop held in Abuja, was a very important initiative of the Commission to continuously collaborate with members of the judicial arm of government.
He said that it was a good avenue toward updating the judiciary with the trends and regulatory dynamism of the sector with a view to improving their knowledge for effective dispensation of justice.
“NCC does not have prosecutorial power in criminal acts committed by the citizens and licencses which are inimical to the progress of the sector.
“We appreciate the ways and manners such criminal cases are being dispensed by the judiciary.
“This is a testimony to the kind cooperation NCC has been enjoying from the judiciary,” he said.
“The Commission will never fold its arms while unscrupulous citizens cause havoc on telecommunications infrastructure since that affects the quality of service innocent citizens enjoy.
“Therein lies the importance of the judiciary in the work that we have been assigned by the government to do.
“We very much appreciate this cooperation with the judiciary and we are committed to ensure that the cooperation grows stronger and stronger going forward,” the statement said.
The Chief Registrar of Kano State High Court of Justice, Alhaji Abdullahi Ado Bayero, who led the delegation, commended the efforts of NCC in fast-tracking digital transformation of governance and other sectors of the economy.
Bayero said that Judiciary, as a whole, had recognised the necessity and inevitability of digital justice system as well as full integration of ICT-based court system in the administration of justice.
He said that this position was well entrenched in the National Judiciary Information Technology Policy (NJITP), 2021, and was consistent with the NCC’s objective and strategic intervention to advance ICT knowledge and training for various public institutions in Nigeria.
“It is in line with the above that the Kano State Judiciary is determined to explore all necessary avenues and opportunities to integrate ICT-based court systems as well as digitised justice delivery systems.
“This is for efficient and effective administration of justice in the state and we request NCC’s intervention in this regard,” he said.

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Some Nigerians In Diaspora Still Rely On Fake News About Nigeria, FG Laments

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has insisted that some Nigerians in Diaspora still rely on platforms that peddle fake news and misinformation about Nigeria.
Mohammed also said that secessionist groups that are campaigning around the world for their causes have identified some Nigerians in Diaspora to propagate their fake narratives about the country.
The minister stated this when he received members of Nigerians in the Diaspora Organization (NIDO), UK Chapter, in Abuja, yesterday.He urged NIDO to seize the Initiative from those who are bent on painting Nigeria bad in the comity of nations, especially in the area of insecurity.
The minister also implored the organization to leverage its contacts in government circles, parliamentary groups and global think tanks in world capitals to help change the narrative and sweep the carpet off the feet of secessionist groups, insurgents and anarchists who are bent on pushing false narratives to portray Nigeria in a bad light.
Mohammed said, “I want to commend your patriotism and steadfastness, especially for this Initiative, which is aimed at shining a positive light on Nigeria, celebrating the country and contributing towards a better Nigeria. This is what patriots do, not badmouthing their country around the world.
“The Buhari administration considers Nigerians in Diaspora as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, hence has done the unprecedented by establishing the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), which has been doing a good job in coordinating and providing an organized system of collaborations of Nigerians in Diaspora.
“Thanks to the commission, issues affecting Nigerians in Diaspora have been receiving prompt attention. NIDCOM has also ensured that Nigerian in Diaspora are well informed about the activities of the government. It is therefore alarming and disappointing that some Nigerians in Diaspora still rely on platforms that peddle fake news and misinformation about Nigeria.
“Also, each time Mr. President travels outside the country, he has made the engagement with Nigerians in his host country a regular affair, just as we at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture have always ensured that we interact with Nigerians when we travel outside the country for official purposes. Unfortunately, the avoidable division among Nigerians in Diaspora in some countries has hampered such engagements. But we will not relent in seeking out and engaging with patriotic Nigerians in Diaspora.
“It is in recognition of the relevance of Nigerians in Diaspora that the secessionist groups that are campaigning around the world for their causes have identified and are effectively using some of them (Nigerians in Diaspora) to propagate their fake narratives about the country, in addition to relying on their financial contributions to fund their nefarious activities. This is disheartening.
“I, therefore, want to use this opportunity to appeal to NIDO to seize the Initiative from those who are bent on painting Nigeria bad in the comity of nations. Yes, we have challenges, especially in the area of insecurity. But this administration has not only acknowledged these challenges, it is earnestly tackling them. I am bold to say that no government in the history of this country has done so much with so little.
“Instead of contributing their own quota to these efforts, all you hear from a section of Nigerians in the Diaspora and their allies back home are fake narratives and untrue allegations of religious persecution, political marginalization, human rights abuses, etc. These are baseless and false.
“As an organized and well connected group, I implore NIDO to leverage its contacts in government circles, parliamentary groups and global think tanks in world capitals to help change the narrative and sweep the carpet off the feet of secessionist groups, insurgents and anarchists who are bent on pushing false narratives to portray Nigeria in bad light. I have no doubt that you will take this call seriously and do everything in your power to change the narrative for the better.
“On our part as government, we are currently re-engineering and ramping up our diplomatic efforts to counter and reverse the narrative, in addition to countering pervasive anti-government propaganda.”

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