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‘Use Of ICT Can Support Growth Of SMEs In Nigeria’

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The Executive Director,
Development Information Network, Mr Bankole Olubamise, last Thursday said that improved Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure would enhance the development of small businesses in Nigeria.
Olubamise said this in an interview with journalists in Lagos.
He said that the SMEs, generally perceived as engine of growth in developing countries, were facing serious challenges in Nigeria due to inadequate infrastructure.
“But due to the galloping development of ICT worldwide, SMEs in developing countries like Nigeria face a formidable task surviving and competing in a global market, “ he said.
Olubamise said that the presence of enabling infrastructure would also propel ICT to deliver unprecedented opportunities to SMEs in Nigeria.
“SMEs case studies provide substantial evidence of increased ICT adoption in low-income countries and positive ICT effects on SMEs performance, “ he said.
The director said the wide usage of the available technologies showed that adoption of ICT could be key element in giving SMEs in the country an edge and to be globally competitive.
“Most SMEs owners believe that being connected to the Internet is being ICT compliant. There are so many other things that will make SMEs to be ICT compliant, but we lack the infrastructure.
“These are just few of such technologies necessary for SMEs in the country to be locally and globally competitive, “ he said.
Olubamise said that low penetration rates in ICT usage were responsible for the low usage of ICT by SMEs generally.
“In addition and perhaps more important, the lack of complementary infrastructure may reduce the opportunities for firms adopting ICT to perform better.
“Government and stakeholders should utilise the opportunity of ICT to develop SMEs in the country, “ he said.

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External Reserves Drop By $1.4bn In Two Months

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The country’s external reserves fell by $1.4 billion in two months, the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed on Wednesday.
The reserves, which stood at $35.25 billion as of April 16, fell to $34.23 billion as of May 31 and $33.85 billion as of June 15.
Speaking on the decline in external reserves at the recent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said, “This reflects sales to the foreign exchange market and third-party payments”.
In March, the reserves lost $178 million after dropping from $34.99 billion as of March 1 to $34.82 billion as of March 31.
In February, the reserves dropped by $1.1bn, falling from $36.19 billion as of February 1 to $35.09 billion on February 26.
The CBN, in its January economic report, said, “As a consequence of the lower foreign exchange receipts, the official external reserves declined.
“External reserves stood at $35.44bn at the end-January 2021, a decrease of 2.8 per cent and 3.5 per cent from $36.46 billion in December 2020 and $36.73 billion in January 2020.”
Meanwhile, the naira fell to 500 against the dollar at the parallel market on Wednesday from 495 last week.
Figures obtained from the naijabdcs.com, the CBN’s official website for the Bureau De Change operators, showed that the dollar was bought and sold for N499 and N500, respectively.
The CBN recently adopted the NAFEX rate of N410/$ as the official exchange rate on its website.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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