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DG Pleads For Startup Growth Drive 

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The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has stressed the need for a union to drive the growth of the startup ecosystem in Nigeria.
Inuwa stated this via a statement by the Agency’s Spokesperson, Hadiza Umar, and made available to the The Tide’s source in Port Harcourt recently.
It was further learnt that the statement was made  during a dinner meeting with some key stakeholders of Lagos Ecosystem, including representatives from Microsoft, MasterCard, Norebase, among others.
Reiterating NITDA’s commitment to giving the ecosystem the needed support to boost the sector’s contribution to the economy and strengthen the value chain, he stressed the need to build trust between the government and the ecosystem.
He also emphasised the need for collaboration to drive innovation and overcome existing issues around investments, partnerships, commercialisation of innovations, enabling policies, and acquisition of relevant skills, as well as training.
The NITDA DG also explained  that the Start-up Bill would deal with the bottlenecks and fast-track the anticipated growth of the ecosystem.
He added that the Code of Practice for Interactive Platforms would engender appropriate monitoring to enforce compliance with established regulations guiding the sector.
“We need to decide what and what the right regulations are so that every startup and industry player would have a Code of Practice that works for everyone and is adhered to the latter. Also, I think we need to form a union for Startup Ecosystem”, he said.

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Expert Wants Telcos To Prioritise Improved QoS

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A Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy Advisor, Mr. Jide Awe, has urged telecommunication operators to give priority to improving Quality of Services (QoS).
Awe, who is also the Founder of Jidaw.com, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen  in Lagos State, recently.
He said it was necessary to improve the current poor QoS using strategic investment in infrastructure to support current and future needs.
Awe said the future needs included increased number of users and increased traffic volumes of transactions among others.
“Customer journey has evolved significantly over the years, largely influenced by the advancements in telecommunications technology.
“Customers now expect seamless and uninterrupted connectivity across multiple touchpoints, be it through their smartphones, laptops, or Internet of Things (IoT) devices”, he said.
Awe also noted that the telecoms industry was plagued with right-of-way charges, multiple taxation, and insecurity of telecoms infrastructure.
According to him, addressing these challenges is essential for consumer protection to ensure QoS standards are met, and that consumers receive the promised level of service quality.
The policy advisor added that solving the issues would also help in promoting affordable broadband services.
On the role of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) as a regulator, he said the NCC needed to adopt an innovative, supportive, and visionary regulation approach that appreciated the importance of innovation and expansion.
“As new technologies continue to emerge, regulation cannot afford to be static. NCC should inculcate a spirit of innovation and growth in the sector.
“Innovative regulation helps to cultivate an environment that attracts investment to propel sectoral growth. Investor-friendly initiatives, simplification of regulations, strategic and disruptive thinking/approaches are crucial”, he said.

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‘No Going Back On Plans Against Passport Racketeers’

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A top immigration officer in Port- Harcourt, who spoke anonymosly, has stressed that the Immigration Service, Rivers State Commission will not soft pedal on plans to go against passport racketeering  in the State.
Stating this in an interview  with the press in Port Harcourt, Monday, he  warned against any attempt to portay  the agency in bad light, saying such will be resisted by the  system.
He emphasised that passport racketeering is  capable of portraying the command in bad light, especially the Passport Unit, at the international group where it belonged.
Noting that the passport processes do not require a third party, easy and pocket  friendly, the officer expressed  regrets that the saboteurs charge the unsuspecting members of the public seeking passport exhobitantly thereby making the process cumbersome.
He boasted on how the passport personnel “have all it takes to deliver tasks on schedule with zero complaint”.
According to him,  those  in the act of the alleged sabotage risk imprisonment, if caught,  in that it is viewed as economic sabortage on the part of the Federal Government.
“Passport racketeering is against  the law and abuse of process. Things  must be done in order and decently. We are an agency  established by law. So, anything  we are doing must follow  due process”, he said.
He has also called on members of the public to be wary of patronising road-side passport operators to avoid double payment.
“If due process will be followed,  according to him, the issue of passport  racketeering will belong  to history”.
He also described as a plus, the introduction of e-gates in about four International Airports in the country, including Port Harcourt.

Stories compiled by King Onunwor

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Minister Wants States To  Align Technological Advancement With Local Prionties

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Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief  Uche Nnaji, has urged states to align their technological advancements with local priorities.
The Minister said this at the first edition of the interactive forum for state commissioners in charge of Science and Technology, held in Abuja recently.
Nnaji said  states should also provide solutions for regional-specific challenges and promoting a more robust and resilient scientific ecosystem that fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing.
“This alignment will ensure inclusivity, unlock the immense potential of our nation’s intellectual and technological resources, and propel our states to the forefront of technological advancements”, he said.
The Minister also urged the commissioners to actively engage local industries, research institutions and community stakeholders, so as to collaborate in amplifying the impact of Nigeria’s scientific endeavours.
He said this was important to ensure seamless transition from research to application of the scientific endeavours, to facilitate economic growth and ensure technological advancements that meet the needs of citizens.
“As Nigeria transits from a resource to a knowledge-based economy driven by innovation, it is worth emphasising that this task is daunting but certainly surmountable, and will require strong commitment, continuous learning and adaptive strategies.
“Let us, therefore, approach it with a sense of urgency, recognising that the decisions we make today will shape the future of our scientific landscape”, he  said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Esuabana Asanye, said the forum was meant to broaden their scope and ensure their buy-in and implementation of the National Science and Technology Roadmap 2017-2030.
Asanye stated that the roadmap represented the desire to implement the National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation designed to hasten innovation, economic growth and inclusive scientific development to meet national aspiration.
“The task before us is a shared responsibility to harness the full potential of our sub national for the national scientific landscape for environmental sustainability and curbing climate devastation. Each state has its unique demographic resourcefulness and if properly managed, would exponentially foster the culture of innovation at the grassroot level for sustainable development”,  she said.

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