The Federal Government has entered into a partnership with an American multinational technology company, Microsoft, to accelerate digital transformation in Nigeria.
Microsoft said it had identified three key pillars to help build strong foundations for a digital economy in Nigeria: connectivity, skilling and digital transformation.
Six regions in the country have been earmarked for the development of high-speed internet infrastructure, following discussions with the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and local partners.
Microsoft President, Brad Smith, was quoted as saying, “We believe in the future of Nigeria, and we are excited as a company to add to our investments.
“Together, we have an enormous opportunity to put technology to work, create jobs, to foster the technology ecosystem across Nigeria, and to use technology to preserve the best of the past and take us into the future.”
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said, “With over 80 million registered internet users, there is no question that Nigerians have fully embraced technology, the internet, and their various uses. But there’s still so much to be achieved.”
Microsoft’s said its Airband team would work closely with local partners to improve broadband connectivity in these communities while also assisting with the design and implementation of hyper-scale cloud services.
Microsoft has also committed to upskilling five million people in Nigeria over the next three years. To help reach this goal, 1,700 trainers will provide blended online and in-person training courses to the country’s youth as well as government workers.
“Government will also be given the tools to digitally transform skilling, education, and employment methods to match job seekers with the right employers. In doing so, we hope to create over 27,000 new digital jobs in the next three years,” Microsoft said.
It added. “The final pillar, digital transformation, will initially be made up of two initiatives.
Microsoft, in collaboration with local partners, will support the design and implementation of cloud-based tools to further enable government’s fight against corruption.
“Microsoft will partner with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apply technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to help identify potential risk, highlight them, and reduce corruption.
“The second initiative will help protect Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, as Microsoft will look to deploy artificial intelligence tools to safeguard these treasures for future generations,” the statement added.
“Through a newly formed partnership with the National Institute of Cultural Orientation, Microsoft will support the organisation’s efforts to preserve and revive Nigeria’s three major indigenous languages: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo.”
$1bn investment recorded in auto industry – Minister
The Federal Government has recorded more than one billion dollars’ worth of investments in the automotive industry. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said this in Abuja on Tuesday when he featured at the 20th edition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration scorecard series organsied by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
“Over one billion dollars in investment has been recorded in the automotive sector and we are ready to move on to the next phase for the automotive industry,” the minister said.
He said the review of the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) was almost completed, adding that the plan was going through validation process.
Adebayo restated the ministry’s commitment toward enabling business environment to attract and retain investments.
According to him, the ministry and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) are committed to attracting and protecting investments that genuinely benefit Nigeria and its citizens.
He said that the revised Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) would boost investment.
“Nigeria has successfully revised its model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) to include a specific provision for investment facilitation, which institutionalizes the principle of assisting investors in completing their investments.
“We are proud to offer Nigeria’s first investment policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.
“This strategic statement, which will outline our priorities, aims, commitments, and expectations, is a turning point for the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment and Nigeria as an investment destination,” he said.
Adebayo, who said that Nigeria had Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) with Singapore, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to attract and retain investments, said the ministry was developing more.
“We have IPPAs with Singapore, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia to attract and retain investments. The president ratified both accords on Sept. 16, 2022 and we are developing more IPPAs,” he said.
Adebayo said the ministry also distributed 5,571 acceptance certificates worth N7.7 trillion to 2,665,800 firms.
“The acceptance certificates allow businesses claim tax reduction when computing Company Income Tax.
“We also issued more than 130 Production Day Certificates, a crucial Pioneer Status Incentive step,’’ the minister said.
To further accelerate industrialisation, Adebayo said that the ministry was expediting the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) across the country.
According to him, the special economic zones will increase infrastructure availability and provide fiscal incentives for value addition.
Pay customers with N100, N50, CBN orders commercial banks
The Central Bank Of Nigeria has directed all commercial banks to pay customers over the counter in N100, N50, N20, N10, and N5 notes, regardless of the amount withdrawn.
Bankers Committee issued the directives to all commercial banks in the country on Monday, and announced the discontinuation of old notes payment of N1000, N500 and N200 across the counters.
It also urged people to use their alternative channels for transactions, while those insisting on new naira notes were advised to use Automated Teller Machine (ATMs).
The directives came on Monday, following a meeting of the bankers committee in Lagos.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in a statement on Sunday extended the deadline for old naira notes from January 31 to February 10, 2023.
Emefiele also noted that he obtained permission from President Muhmammadu Buhari to effect the extension.
According to him, the extension, ‘a seven-day grace period’ was as a result of measures put in place to ease the scarcity.
The decision is coming after CBN had previously insisted that it would not extend the deadline.
Famous 4×4 Grenadier coming to Nigeria, courtesy Coscharis Motors
Coscharis Motors has announced its readiness to introduce the popular rugged off-road vehicle, Grenadier, to the Nigerian auto market.
This follows the naming of the auto company by INEOS Automotive as its official retail partner in Nigeria.
Nigeria is the sixth market in Sub-Sahara Africa to join the brand after South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana.
A statement on Monday by Abiona Babarinde, the auto firm’s General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communications, said, “The first Grenadier demonstrator vehicles are expected to arrive in Nigeria in early 2023 with customer deliveries expected to commence within the first quarter.
“All after-sales servicing will be conducted at a dedicated workshop also located in Lagos.”
Commenting on this partnership, the President/CEO of Coscharis Group, Dr Cosmas Maduka, said, “We are proud that INEOS Automotive has appointed Coscharis Motors to represent its brand in Nigeria. “This milestone marks another step in the evolution of our company. With our history and experience of the Nigerian market, we know that the INEOS Grenadier is going to be a serious player in the off-road segment.
“We have no doubt that the Grenadier has what it takes to handle Africa’s tough terrain and that it is the perfect option to meet the specific demands of those who need a capable, refined, and reliable off-road vehicle in the region. We look forward to the first customer test drives and hearing public feedback, because this vehicle is definitely going to stir things up in Nigeria.”
The statement quoted Tim Abbott, INEOS Automotive’s Head of Region South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa, as saying, “We are carefully selecting our partners across the SSA region, to find people who know their local market and customers, and also understand our brand.
“Coscharis Motors shares our belief that the INEOS Grenadier is the perfect vehicle not only for Nigeria, but for the continent. Our shared passion for off-roading, along with their excellent reputation in the automotive industry, makes it the perfect partnership for Grenadier in Nigeria.”
Coscharis says the Grenadier has been developed to be refined on the road and extraordinarily capable off-road.
“The Grenadier is powered by a choice of two straight-six, 3.0-litre BMW engines. Both the BMW B57 diesel and B58 petrol powertrains have a proven track record, regularly appearing in top ten world’s best engine lists since 2016. They have been used in everything from sports cars to SUVs.
“The two power units bring BMW’s sophistication and refinement to the Grenadier, but they have been enhanced by INEOS Automotive’s engineering team. As well as providing powerful acceleration on tarmac, they also deliver peak torque at low revs – sustaining it through the rev range – for optimal off-road performance,” it states.
It also notes that the carefully calibrated characteristics help the driver to confidently manage the vehicle’s momentum and grip without stressing the engine, ensuring full control when tackling tricky terrain.
It adds, “The refined turbo petrol engine produces 286PS (210kW) and 450Nm (332 lb ft) of torque, while the twin-turbo diesel generates 249PS (183kW) and 550Nm (406 lb ft), for even greater pulling power. Start/stop is built-in, increasing range and preserving air quality when the vehicle is stationary.
“While it is every inch a rugged 4X4, it ticks all the right boxes on the road, too. The chassis combines a five-link suspension setup with Brembo brakes and Bridgestone tyres, meaning the Grenadier is composed, well- mannered and fun to drive no matter what the terrain.”
The firm also reveals that by the end of this year, INEOS Automotive plans to have a network of more than 200 sales and service sites for the Grenadier spanning over 50 countries, including established dealer groups, 4X4 specialists and agricultural equipment dealers.
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