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FG exploring better strategies to deepen diversification of the economy, says Onu



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The Minister of Science, technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has indicated that his ministry is exploring more strategies to deepen the diversification of the nation’s economy which he said has already been diversified due to policies of the Federal Government

Onu gave the indication at the validation workshop on the draft revised 2022 National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy in Abuja on Thursday.  

The Minister said that the Federal Government has approved five additional policies to help move the nations economy from being commodity dependent to an innovation driven economy.

According to him, “Our professionals, contractors and manufacturers are given preference in procurement by the Federal Government. Gradually many Nigerians are now buying made in Nigeria products. Our economy is now diversified and we are all working hard to deepen the diversification. Nigeria is changing in a positive way. Good things are happening in Nigeria. “

On the STI policy review, the Minister said that it should be constantly updated to accommodate new technological changes for today and the future.

He said the STI policy gives direction to every area of national life which includes; Human capital development, agriculture, Industrial growth, Women and Youth empowerment, job creation, national security etc.

Onu explained further that the fourth Industrial revolution has given Nigeria an opportunity to catch-up with the world, further emphasizing that Nigeria must catch-up with the rest of the world, and even aim to overtake the world in the race for STI.     

Earlier Prof. Willie Siyanbola, who delivered the policy review and overview, said that the drive of the policy is to develop and utilise STI to build a large, strong, diversified, sustainable and competitive economy that guarantees top quality of life to Nigerians.

The UNESCO representative for Nigeria, Dr. Enang Momah, said that the review of the policy was strongly reviewed alongside the Ministry. 

She added that Nigeria needed to have a robust STI policy that will drive economic diversification and development.  

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Science and Technology

NIMC Self Service App launched recently poses no threat of data breach, says expert




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The Self Service application recently launched by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Barnksforte Technology Limited, an indigenous Technology company has reassured Nigerians of the formidable security features embedded in the application.

This is coming against the backdrop of needless concerns raised in some quarters regarding the safety of the application

The Chief Executive Officer, Barnksforte Technology Limited, Mr Dayo Bankole, allayed fears generated on the application, noting that necessary security measures had been put in place to ensure that the integrity of the application was thorough, with no gaps for security breach or compromise.

According to him, the self-service mobile application, which is a giant stride in digitalization of biometrics enrollment, was developed by NIMC in partnership with Barnksforte Technologies Limited, a local ICT company.

He said it was unfortunate that some persons for selfish reasons would discredit such a laudable innovation that had the capacity to change the narrative across Africa and the world at large.

He further said the narrative that Nigeria’s database would be compromised by foreigners using the the self service application was not only mischievous but an attempt to undermine NIMC’s capability.

He assured Nigerians that their biometrics were safe, adding that the choice of the current NIMC director general, an expert with proven years of experience was not a mistake.

Bankole expressed disappointment with masterminds of the wrong reports about the effort of government to place Nigeria on world stage in terms of technological advancement.

He said rather than carry out due diligence on the features of the application before going public, they were quick to put out reports to dissuade Nigerians from keying into the renewed hope agenda of the present government on that regard.

The CEO said if those behind such reports had made enquiries, they would have realised that the application process was only part of the whole package, adding that there was a formidable backend technology to verify every information provided by an applicant.

The technology expert further said that NIMC was collaborating with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and other local technical partners to ensure that one of the basic requirements for enrollment for NIN for diasporans, the international passport number, must be provided by applicants to be able to apply.

“The application is the front end identity solution and all data is sent directly to the NIMC database which is also well secure.

“So, no diasporan will be able to generate NIN without validation from immigration data base through the passport number and this helps with the confirmation that the applicant is a Nigerian citizen.

“NASDRA, a Pakistani technology company is behind the identity of Nigeria as a country and they have lunched the self service for their Diasporans about 2years ago after the lunch of contactless by the then President through the Minister of Digital Economy and they are doing well,”he said.

He said beyond the provision of international passports, there were multiple layers of safety measures like data encryption being deployed to prevent security breach if any.

Bankole said “To guarantee the safety of the application, the necessary physical, technical and administrative controls have been implemented.

“These essential measures serve as defence against myriads of threats, creating protective fortress for the platform.”

The technology expert further said the application was designed with strict adherence to the provisions of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Regulation on data protection and data privacy in Nigeria, following the business requirements of NIMC.

He explained that contrary to the belief in some quarters that no country had explored self service mobile application before now, countries like India and Pakistan had deployed the technology.

Bankole said the application would give applicants the opportunity to enroll, modify, validate, and obtain digital Identity adding that in addition to other details, another basic requirement for successful application was facial capturing, adding that none of the applications would pull through without it.

He stressed that the application also had features that allowed for certain checks and balances such as eliminating multiple registration.

“The Self Service mobile application was designed in strict adherence to the data security and data protection law, with the National Space Research and Development Agency(NASDRA) managing NIMC’s back end.

“So, Nigerians do not have anything to fear as all security concerns were put into consideration while designing the application,”he said

Bankole commended President Bola Tinubu and the Acting Director General of NIMC, Abisoye Coker-Odusote for rolling out the initiative as part of the new administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

According to him, it is not an accident that Nigeria is gifted with a selfless president, who would stop at nothing to ensure that Nigeria competed favourable among the comity of nations.

He said with the application, Nigerians in the Diaspora would not require to travel back to Nigeria to enroll, modify, validate or obtain digital Identity.

He also added that the application eliminates the bottlenecks around delays in the enrolment process and modification of the NIN, thereby increasing the turnaround time for applications.

Bankole said while the self service mobile application was designed for Nigerians in the Diaspora, there was agent based solution designed for Nigerians within the country,

“The application among its numerous benefits would help liberate Nigerians in the Diaspora from extortion and racketeering, while creating room for NIMC to generate foreign exchange, which would go into the government’s coffers.

“A London based Nigerian commended the initiative while recalling that he had paid 120 dollars to registere his NIN and later paid for verification,”he said.

On the enrollment process, the technology expert said the process was seamless once downloaded from Google Play Store or IOS.

Other steps according to him are authentication, adding that “those with NIN, it is the key to access the self-service enrollment.

“Those without NIN are accommodated through secure emails, adjusting the process accordingly.

“The process entails one device, one enrollment for enhanced security and it is to prevent multiple enrollments on a single device.

“In view of that we have fortified the application with security measures, preserving its integrity and thwarting fraudulent activities.

“There is also dual authentication for comprehensive security

“It is Our two-factor authentication and approvals, using Contactless Face Biometric and Contactless Finger Biometric, enhance security and user authenticity.

He further said, another feature is the provision of international passport number, adding that” Diasporan adults use their Nigerian International Passport numbers as crucial identifiers, streamlining the process.

“The integration with the Nigerian Immigration Service via secure APIs bolsters this method’s accuracy.

“There is also provision for child enrollment. So enrolling Diasporan children is thoughtfully designed.

“Here, parents with NIN play a pivotal role and integration with the NPC ECRVS system ensures additional validation for children.

“Also there is rigorous backend approval for scrutiny and validation

“Our stringent backend approval process ensures thorough scrutiny and validation before granting a valid NIN to Diasporan applicants.

“This combined with existing security measures and guarantees legitimacy.”

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Science and Technology

Artificial intelligence: Spendify Technologies Promote Financial Inclusion in Africa with App




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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

SPENDIFY Technologies, an online finance technology company has launched a generative Artificial Intelligence product code named “OLA” to address crises arising from limited access to financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Addressing newsmen at a press conference in Lokoja, Mr Philip Etim, founder of Spendify Technologies described “Financial inclusion” as a crucial enabler for the attainment of many of the goals in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said available data had revealed that approximately 66% of sub-Saharan Africans are considered underserved and have limited access to financial services.

Etim said that the innovation which would also address and general financial exclusion crisis will be utilized on the Spendify mobile app and web platform and useable on personalized individual WhatsApp.

He said that the new features on the Spendify Mobile app reduces the gap by ensuring better money management for all, through educating users on financial literacy.

The situation, according to him, exacerbates poverty, hampers personal financial management and hinders economic growth at large and on the short and long run.

He said that the application which helps individuals to manage their little available resources effectively with budgeting, tracking expenses and income and investment targets people from all social strata including students.

“The application features a chat-based platform, budget manager, in-built financial educator and an Artificial intelligence (AI) tool that detects spending trends and alerts users on deviations from their budget.

“In this current state of high inflation and high cost of living, with the use of spendify mobile applications on your phone, be it android, iOS and web, one can easily budget, tracks expenses and income, get reminders on outstanding bills or debts and get real-time reports by simply asking to OLA”, he said.

Etim stressed that the Spendify Mobile app is user-friendly, and can be downloaded across all devices adding that the app’s cloud-based architecture ensures users’ data is encrypted and stored safely in the cloud.

“The app offers much more than just expense tracking. It enables users to change their financial habits, monitor their financial status, personalized advice, receive financial tips and performance reports to aid their journey towards financial stability.

Ameh Friday Onuche, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of the company, also speaking, stated that the Fintech company was pioneering personal financial management features by utilizing generative artificial intelligence.

Onuche said that the AI is being used to bridge significant disparities in the field of personal finance adding that this innovative approach sets Spendify apart as the first Fintech organization to offer such comprehensive capabilities.

Ayodele Aransiola, Product Manager and the Developer Advocate, in his remarks said, “Our mission is to remove the obstacles that prevent individuals from efficiently handling their finances.”

“We understand the challenges posed by managing multiple apps, dealing with high costs, and lacking essential financial knowledge. By addressing these barriers, we empower individuals to effectively manage their money and achieve financial well-being”.

The mission of Spendify Technologies is to increase financial inclusion and literacy, and improve users’ financial habits, commitment, and control. A personal financial infrastructure for underserved in Africa, promoting financial literacy and inclusion.

Spendify Technologies, which completed the 2020 Forbes Digital Startup Accelerator Program, was founded by seasoned professionals with years of experience in finance and software infrastructure development. (Ends)

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Science and Technology

Tech Giant Cisco, kicks off Cyber Security Training in Imo




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Tech Network Security giant, Cisco will be providing cyber security week-long training in Owerri starting 14 October, 2022 at ICAPS, along egbu road, before Owerri Mall.
The training which is part of Imo State plan to become Nigeria Digital Capital, is being provided as part of IMO State Digital Cyber Security week which is in partnership with Cisco.

The Commissioner for Digital Economy and E-Government, Dr. Chimezie Amadi made the disclosure in Owerri while addressing Imo Ecosystem/hub leaders on Thursday in an initial briefing and introductory conversation on the Imo digital plan of the Imo state government.

Dr Amadi expressed excitement and readiness to work with young people and communities who are already doing great work around the digital sector.
He said that the Imo State Governor have been bitten by a digital bug, hence his decision to digitalise Imo State and provide all the necessary support and resources required to achieve a Digital Imo State.

The Hon Commissioner assured the Ecosystem/ Hub leaders of his commitment to bring his wealth of knowledge, experience and network to ensure that Imo youths are up skilled and connected to global opportunities.

He promised to also use government and other platforms and partnerships to market talents from the Imo Ecosystem.

He used the opportunity to invite the entire imo youths to the official flag off and training program of the Cyber Security week which is in partnership with Cisco, today 14 October, 2022 at ICAPS, along egbu road, before Owerri Mall.

Also present in the meeting is the Special Adviser to the Imo state governor on Public Enlightenment, Prince Eze Ugochukwu who expressed readiness to work with the Imo Ecosystem/ hub leaders to ensure seamless information dissemination and interaction with the government.

Ecosystem leaders present in the meeting are; Ikenna Okechukwu, Founder Bedrock Initiative; Chukwuma Anurunkem, Founder Imo startups Community, Nicole Njoku, Managing Director MELAN CONSULTS, Chidi Duru Founder of CODEANTS, Excel Ajah, founder Social Media Fest, Iyke Chukwure, founder Urbanize Africa, Uchenna Akujobi, Executive Secretary OCCIMA and a few others

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