Some ICT experts have said
that the impacts of social media in the lives of the youths are more positive as many of them have been gainfully engaged thereby reducing unemployment.
The experts made this known in separate interviews with newsmen in Abuja.
President and Chief Executive Officer of High-Tech Centre for Nigerian Women and Children Mrs Omowunmi Hassan said that social media had created employment for youths in the country.
She said that social media was one of the best things that happened to the world, especially the younger generation, “who are ICT savvy”.
“In the face of the economic challenges where young people don’t really have a platform, the social media is like their office, their work space, where they could air their opinions,” she said.
She said that the social media was a platform where the youths showcased their talents and works; they make themselves known to people and connect with friends and associates from all over the world.
“This is a whole lot of attraction to young people who obviously are not always in one place.
“There are a lot of social media platform, you have the Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram with different social importance.
“Our young people have found this platform very expressive to say what they feel and how they feel, especially in the time of democracy like this, they speak their minds freely, ” she said.
Hasan explained that the medium was also an avenue for online journalism, adding that information from the local, states and even the federal levels were shared.
She said that this had assisted in reporting what had been happening around and had created avenue for learning.
“The social media for me is a wonderful platform, though it has its lapses and disadvantages but I believe with time it will be one of those things that we will overcome, ” she added.
Mr Anietie Etuk , the Managing Director of Teencoders, an ICT training platform for teenagers said a lot of micro businesses that were coming up were conceived from the social media.
Etuk noted that these businesses were managed by the young people and this had created employment for them.
He said that social media and ICT, if properly harnessed and funded could boost economic development “in no small way”.
On her part, Ms Fatima Danjuma, another ICT expert urged the youths and other social media users to ensure security of any sites before opening them, saying unsecured sites could be identified by their addresses.
According to Danjuma, visiting social media sites has more positive values that outweigh its disadvantages.
“Social media sites are available for all, including youths, but should be visited with caution.
“Each secured site has security icon “https’ in its address, but any site that has only `http’ without the `s’ is not a secured site.
“It is therefore important for internet users, especially the youths to look out for such code before opening any site.
“The world is fast becoming internet world, where banking, buying, and other services are done online, that is the more reason for all internet users to look out for the security of any site before opening them.
“A situation where somebody gives his or her bank details or personal details to an unsecured site can be regrettable at times,” she added.
In a related development, some parents also expressed their views on the use of social media.
Mrs Yinka Bello, a parent said: “knowledge is not restricted to a source; social media is a good means of enriching ones knowledge, especially as the world has become a global village through internet.
“Students who are studying any course in Nigerian tertiary institutions can add to their knowledge through positive visits to sites that are related to their courses.
“Just like everything in life, social media also has its downside, but its good side highly outweighs its negative side,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Paul Agwu, another parent urged parents and guardians to always task their wards on likely implications of visiting social media sites that promote bad habits like pornography, homosexuality and financial fraud.
“As parents, we should always educate our youths to explore positive side of internet and shun the bad sites where bad habits are being promoted.
“Not every parent can afford those schools that teach high standard education, but through internet (social media), everyone can acquire standard knowledge,” he said.
It would be recall that losses to cybercrimes are on the increase globally, while some sites promote illicit habits to visitors.
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to urgently put in place a policy to check further devaluation of the naira to the United States dollar and other international legal tenders.
The House decried that while the Nigerian currency was losing value, others in Africa were appreciating.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, Mr Bamidele Salam, which warned the CBN of the implications of further devaluing the naira.
The motion was titled, ‘Matter of urgent public importance on the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently put in place monetary policies to stop the free fall of the naira against the dollar and other international legal tenders’.
Salam recalled that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, while addressing the Bankers’ Committee at a summit on the economy in Lagos earlier in February, informed the committee about the naira devaluation against the dollar.
The lawmaker also quoted Emefiele as saying at the summit that the official exchange rate stood at N410 to the dollar.
“That is 7.6 per cent weaker than the rate of N379 published on the central bank’s website,” Salam noted.
According to the lawmaker, while the value of the naira relative to the dollar had declined by nine per cent in the last six months, the South African rand and Ghanaian cedi had appreciated by 11.4 per cent and one per cent, respectively.
Salam also recalled that the CBN adopted multiple exchange rates in 2020, in a bid to avoid an outright devaluation.
He noted that the official rate used as a basis for budget preparation and other official transactions differed from a closely controlled exchange rate for investors and exporters known as the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing Methodology.
He stressed that the naira had traded in a tight range between N400 and N410, while the NAFEX rate was different from the parallel market, considered illegal by the CBN, where the naira closed at 502.
Salam said, “The House is concerned that devaluation is likely to cause inflation because imports will be more expensive any imported goods or raw material will increase in price; aggregate demand increases, causing demand-pull inflation. Firms/exporters have less incentive to cut costs because they can rely on the devaluation to improve competitiveness.
”The concern is that the long-term devaluation may lead to lower productivity because of the decline in incentives.
”The House is further concerned that devaluation of the naira makes it more difficult for Nigerian youths especially in the IT sector, whose businesses are online and must necessarily transact businesses in the US dollars.
“It also reduces real wages. In a period of low wage growth, a devaluation that causes rising import prices will make consumers feel worse off “.
Four West African Countries To Buy Nigeria’s Unutilised Electricity
Four West African countries, Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, are collaborating to buy the unutilised power produced in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Sule Abdulaziz, disclosed this at the WAPP meeting on the North core project in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Abdulaziz, who is also the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said the four countries were collaborating to make the power purchase from Nigeria through the North core Power Transmission Line currently being built.
He explained, “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria.
“The electricity generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So, it is unutilised power”.
He said Nigeria was expecting new generators to participate in the energy export for the 875km 330KV Northcore transmission line from Nigeria through Niger, Togo, Benin to Burkina Faso.
Abdulaziz said, “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them, which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact”.
The WAPP chairman noted that the project, funded by World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank, had recorded progress, adding that the energy ministers would be addressing security issues for the project at another meeting in Abuja.
He said, “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian Gencos (generation companies).
“So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria”.
The Secretary-General, WAPP, Siengui Appolinaire-Ki, said the cost of the project was about $570 million, adding that part of the investment in each country would be funded by that particular nation.
According to him, the countries in the partnership, including Nigeria, are also being supported by donors.
He said the funding agreement was ready as partner countries were awaiting the disbursements.
Appolinaire-Ki, however, said the donor agencies had said they needed a Power Purchase Agreement between the buying and the selling countries to be executed before releasing the fund.
Reps Probe N275bn Agric Loans Under Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the disbursement of loans and credit facilities by the Federal Government in the agriculture sector since 2009.
The period under review covers the administrations of the late Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan as well as the present President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Chike Okafor at the plenary last Wednesday, titled ‘Need to investigate disbursements of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security’.
Okafor said, from 2009 to date, the Federal Government had approved the disbursement of funds to farmers in various schemes to the tune of over N275billion, ranging from Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, to help farmers improve agricultural production and guarantee food security in Nigeria.
The lawmaker also noted that apart from increasing food supply, the schemes were to grant agricultural loans to large and small-scale commercial farmers to lower the prices of agricultural produce, generate employment and increase foreign exchange earnings.
He said, “The House is aware that since the approval, most farmers have not been able to access the loans due to stringent requirements being demanded by banks from prospective borrowers and the alleged siphoning of over N105billion meant for farmers by management of NIRSAL.
“The House is concerned that food production has not attained the expected level, despite the approval of over N275billion facilities to farmers.
“The House is worried that the projected diversification of the economy from oil production to agricultural production and increase in agricultural output, food supply and promoting low food inflation will not be achieved if farmers are unable to access loans meant to increase agricultural production”.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to “investigate disbursements and compliance of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security in the country”.
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