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Excitement as funding hope rises for Nigerian startups at GITEX 2018

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… As NITDA bags DWTC award

Beyond the six technology entrepreneurs currently showcasing their products at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) 2018, there is now funding hope on the horizon for many technology start-ups in Nigeria. This was the result of a well-packaged investment forum organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the global technology show, where the Nigerian delegation took turns to advertise huge potentials for investments in the country’s ICT sector to potential investors from across the world.

Funding has been a major challenge confronting many start-ups in the country, however, investors from across the world have indicated interest in exploring the potentials in Nigeria ICT ecosystem, especially, start-ups. Specifically, a Venture Capital (VC) currently based in Mauritius, ArifSaiyad & Associados Ventures, with a $15 million fund for African start-ups has expressed interest in investing part of the fund on Nigerian start-ups. Founder and CEO of the VC, Mr Arif Sayad, said he had seen a lot of potentials in Nigeria and would be looking viable start-ups in the country to invest part of the VC fund in.

Another VC from Egypt, Endure Capital also expressed satisfaction with Nigeria’s pitch at the investor forum, adding that Nigeria is a place to be for the venture. Partner at the company, Waleed Khalil said the company would be partnering with other companies in Nigeria to invest in start-ups.

Other investors who listened to pitches from the six Nigerian start-ups in Dubai were impressed by the innovations of the young entrepreneurs and promised to engage them further to see how they could partner with them.\

NITDA in its bid to grow the ICT sector with local capacity has been empowering tech start-ups in many ways. Part of such efforts is the international exposures being given to the young entrepreneurs by sponsoring them to GITEX and other international events. This year, the agency had sponsored six start-ups, each from the geo-political zones in the country to participate Future Stars event holding alongside GITEX.

In his opening speech at the forum, the Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Pantami , highlighted the potentials and opportunities in Nigeria for investors. According to him, Nigeria has a ready pool of young “digital natives” awaiting investors in the ICT sector. “With a population having an average age of 18.2 years, Nigeria is the 22nd youngest country on earth. The youthfulness of our population is an asset and the fact that many young Nigerians are ICT enthusiasts even makes it better. Investors can be assured of accessing a large pool of youthful and skilful employees at a fair-price, more cost-effective than engaging employees in other parts of the world” he said.

“Innovation is part of our DNA as Nigerians and there are several stories of innovation across the globe that has the imprint of Nigerians. HopStop, an online city transit App acquired by Apple for a whopping $1billion, was owned by a Nigerian-born Entrepreneur. In August 2018, a team of Nigerian teenagers won the first place in the junior division of the Technovation World Pitch Summit that took place in Silicon Valley. A Nigerian entrepreneur also developed Mekamon, the world’s first gaming robot, with the special ability to customize the gaming bot to perform personalized functions. He got a dream deal with Apple pricing each unit at $300 and putting them in nearly all their stores in the United States and the United Kingdom” Pantami added.

He pointed out that while African startups raised $560 million in 2017, Nigerian startups accounted for $114.6 million of the amount. “These investments and stories of innovation underscore the viability of the Nigerian startups and the capacity of Nigerians to conceive ingenious ideas. We invite you, our potential investors, to take advantage of this massive talent pool as you invest in Nigeria” he said.

Giving a total assurance to the potential investors, members of National Assembly present at the forum said they would do everything possible to terms of legislation to ensure that investors enjoy smooth operation in Nigeria. According to the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on ICT, Senator Foster Ogola, the lawmakers would be ready for suggestions on any area requiring legislation to address challenges confronting investors in the country.

Meanwhile, the organisers of GITEX, Dubai World Trade Centre have commended NITDA for its consistency in promoting ICT development in Nigeria. This feat earned the agency the DWTC award which was presented to NITDA’s DG at the end of the Africa Investment Forum in Dubai. According to DWTC has been playing significant roles in in the growth of ICTs in Nigeria and deserved a commendation.

-Culled from New Telegraph

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THE NATION

Breaking: Protesters clash at APC secretariat in Abuja over ‘Oshiomhole’

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Breaking: Protesters clash at APC secretariat in Abuja over 'Oshiomhole'

Protesters are attacking each other at the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party, in Abuja, the nation’s capital, over a yet-to-be ascertained issue.

The Witness understands that the protesters, who had also gathered to protest against Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman, on Thursday, turned on one another as they matched towards the APC secretariat.

Meanwhile, the timely intervention of officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Thursday, however, prevented what would have been a bloody clash between pro and anti-Oshiomhole protest groups at the national Secretariat of the ruling party.

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Reps investigate NIMASA, NDIC over unaudited accounts

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The House of Representatives has placed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, on full status enquiry.

This followed the non-submission of its audited accounts for years 2015 to 2018 to the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF).

The House Committee on Public Account took the action yesterday.

Also, the committee did not only place the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on full status enquiry, but also summoned the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, over the unaudited accounts of the corporation.

This was part of the resolution of the House Committee headed by Oluwole Oke at the continued hearing of the “Deliberate and Reckless Refusal By Non-Treasury and Partially-Funded Agencies to render their audited accounts from 2014 to 2018”.

Julius Dung, who represented the Auditor General of the Federation at the session, confirmed the non-receipt of the accounts from both organisations.

Last week, the committee summoned the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki, with the permanent secretary in the ministry, over continued shunning of the invitation of NIMASA Director-General Dakuku Peterside.

Others were also invited.

Peterside was still absent at Tuesday’s session.

Read Also: Reps urge Fed Govt to appoint more Supreme Court justices

But Gambo Ahmed, the agency’s Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, told the committee that Peterside was outside the country on an international assignment.

The committee rejected the excuse for his absence.

The committee rejected Saraki’s explanation for the non-submission of the audited accounts of the agency.

It expressed surprised when NIMASA claimed not to have a management account; hence, could not generate audited accounts for a number of years.

“We cannot submit an audited account from when we started. We must get the closing balance as at the last time we submitted the audit,” the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Bashir Jamiu, told the committee yesterday.

“Are you saying you don’t have a management account?” Oke queried.

“We don’t have,” he said.

The committee chairman asked if he was saying the agency did not have the balances to carry on with subsequent years.

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THE NATION

Presidency recalls sacked aides of VP Osinbajo

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Breaking: Presidency recalls sacked aides of VP Osinbajo

The Presidency has recalled some aides of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who were unceremoniously relieved of their duties late last year.

According to a report by Daily Independent revealed that instead of returning to their previous posts in the Pres­idential Villa, the aides have been rede­ployed to various ministries where they were assigned new roles by the supervising ministers.

Speaking on Tuesday evening, February 25, one of the af­fected Vice President Osinbajo aides, said some of them were recalled in December 2019 while some also got redeployed in Janu­ary 2020.

“We have all been recalled but not to our former posts. We have all been redeployed to ministries and we will be reporting to the ministers. We are no longer under the Office of the Vice President. It is not what we expect but it is better than what happened before when our ap­pointments were terminated abruptly.

“Some of us were recalled late last year while some of us got our letters in January this year. I have since returned to Abuja and resumed in my ministry.”

Another of the affected aides, who also spoke on the matter, said it took a serious intervention from prominent Nigerians before they were recalled.

“It was just divine because we have all lost hope. The me­dia also did not help matters as they were reporting that there is a rift between the vice president and the presi­dent and he may resign or be impeached.

“But we thank God for his grace and the intervention of eminent Nigerians including our then-boss, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who really fought for us to be recalled. I have also resumed in a min­istry”, she said.

Sacked Osinbajo Aides

The report said when Daily Independent contacted some ministries, some top officials confirmed that some of the affected aides are in the ministry. A top official in the Minis­try of Information and Cul­ture said, “Yes, some of them are with us here. They re­sumed in January this year”.

Another top official in the Ministry of Transport also confirmed that some of the af­fected aides were redeployed to the ministry.

The names of the affect­ed aides are Ajibola Ajayi, daughter of former governor of Oyo State, Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi. She was appointed Special Assistant (Legal) to the President (VP’s Office) in August 2019. She was a former SA to the President on Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) (VP’s office), from October 2015 to May 2019.

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