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Investment potential: NITDA sets up South East Zonal Office in Enugu

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• NITDA opens S'East zonal office in Enugu

…as state gov’t collaborates with agency on digital skills, ICT for youth

In anticipation of Enugu State becoming a major investment hub in the country, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has added to the growing number of corporate and multilateral institutions that have established presence in state in the past few months, taking advantage of the investment friendly disposition of Governor Peter Mbah, and the improved security in the state.

The Advocate reports that shortly after the Enugu State Investment Roundtable which drew the attendance of international creditors, donor agencies, potential investors and foreign missions, the British High Commission in Nigeria, on Monday, September 11, announced the opening of its visa centre in Enugu on the request of the governor and other stakeholders interested in doing business in the state.

The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, disclosed on Wednesday that approval has been given by the agency to set up a regional office in Enugu State, stressing that the decision was inspired by the investment potentials in the state.

The Director General, who was represented by the Director of Zonal Offices, Babajide Ajayi, said during a courtesy visit to the governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, at the Enugu Government House on Wednesday, that the governor had repositioned the state as a destination for investment and business possibilities.

The NITDA DG further revealed that their visit was necessitated by their desire to collaborate with the state in achieving its strategic objectives and vision, noting that the partnership would elevate the state in line with the governor’s mission and vision of making the state attractive for investors from different sectors across the globe.

“We are here in Enugu State to look at how we can actually deepen our collaboration with the state government. We don’t want to just stay in abuja and do things in isolation. We want to work with the state government, we want to collaborate with you. We want to connect with the stakeholders in the state in the ecosystem, and we also want to share our strategic vision with the state and see how the state can also tap into our vision. In addition to this, we want to explain how we can further partner with the state and the ecosystem to drive digital economy.

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“We want to actually hear from them and see how we can move the state forward with regards to ICT,” he added.

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On his part, the Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy, Dr. Aristotle Onumo, commended Governor Mbah for the strategic steps his administration has been taking in the area of technology, maintaining that the decision to site the agency’s zonal office in the state was a milestone and result of the commitment the governor had shown in his effort to “engage and move Enugu State, especially young people to breathe and have something meaningful doing”.

According to him, the responsibility of government was beyond job creation to engaging the people, lifting them out of the pit of poverty and improving the human capital index, adding that these responsibilities could not be achieved without collaboration.

“It is on that note that we as an agency are keying in to that government programme of poverty alleviation, job creation, entrepreneurship and also supporting start-ups. And that is why we are here for this conversation with the Enugu State stakeholders and His Excellency the Governor particularly and also see how Enugu State Government will benefit from the agency’s programme. We have the focus and the goal to develop about 1 million talents to empower our youths. We want to engage the youths to leave criminality and crimes through digital economy,” he stressed.

Reacting to the visit, Governor Mbah said the state was ready to collaborate with the agency on the training of youths in the state on digital skills, information and communication technology (ICT) which would make them self-reliant, create wealth for themselves and get others engaged.

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He said the state was already positioned to take advantage of the business-friendly environment which his administration had deliberately put in place such as derisking investment flow, harmonizing the land tenure system for investment, removing barriers and bottlenecks that could discourage investors and equip the youths as a viable workforce.

The governor informed the agency of his government’s efforts to expose the youths to the emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, mechatronics, virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, fintech and others, which are presently driving the global economy, stressing that the state would be glad to partner with the agency to achieve its objectives.

“We recognise that a lot of the skill set that the youths have today may no longer be relevant to the emerging future. And this emerging future requires our young people to be upskilled digitally so that they can embrace the emerging possibilities it affords. So we know that the world is now moving into robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and agumented reality,” he added.

The governor, who appreciated the federal government for choosing Enugu for its regional headquarters, further said his administration would partner with NITDA to train and upskill a minimum of 40,000 youths in the state annually as a way of empowering them and ensuring they could become major players in the digital space.

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Speaking on the role of technology in phasing out the brick-and-mortar method of trading which was becoming old-fashioned, Mbah said plans were already being perfected to equip young ones in the state with fintech and cyber security skills to enable them integrate into the digital market, saying “we are going to equip them with the skills that allow them to do e-commerce so that they will be able to have their market base in the entire globe”.

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He stressed that the economy of the state would not only be driven by technology, it would help the administration achieve its strategic objectives of growing the economy seven-fold from $4.4 billion to $30 billion, and eradicate poverty from the nook and crannies of the state.

“We are going to drive that growth with technology and not magic. The exponential growth projection can only come through technology. We have already started doing it. If you look at our governance structure, we have migrated our services to digital platform. Currently, we are digitising and we started with the 11 ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), and we are looking at extending it to the 109 MDAs that we have in the state. We have already intervened in our land administration and management system. People are able to apply and obtain their certificate of occupancy within 72 hours. And when I say 72 hours, my team members will always interrupt and say ‘no, it’s 48 hours’. I don’t think there is any city in Africa where you can apply and get your certificate of occupancy in 72 hours,” the governor added.

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Binance, OctaFX, Coinbase, others blocked over forex crisis (FULL LIST)

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Binance, OctaFX, Coinbase, others blocked over forex crisis (FULL LIST)

The Federal Government has moved against online platforms of Binance and other cryptocurrency firms over alleged manipulation of the forex market.

Binance is a digital assets platform which serves as a window for peer to peer transaction allowing users to advertise interest to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

On February 5, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs) to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions.

The regulator also warned local financial institutions against dealing in crypto assets or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.

CBN cited concerns over money laundering, terrorism financing, cybercrime, and the volatility of cryptocurrencies as reasons for the ban.

In December 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria changed its stance on crypto assets and asked banks to disregard its February 2021 ban on crypto transactions.

This latest restriction on crypto websites is aimed at slowing currency speculation activities in the country, with Binance stating that its platform is not for currency pricing.

Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, argued that Binance and other crypto platforms should be banned from operating in Nigeria.

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He said the cryptocurrency trading platform is facing restrictions in multiple jurisdictions such as the United States, Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Reacting, Binance said its firm does not operate as a price discovery platform and FX rates are determined by complex forces that have nothing to do with the company.

The trading company said it provides a market-driven peer-to-peer (P2P) platform that is not meant to be a proxy for currency pricing in Nigeria.

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The platform users have complained about their inability to buy dollars.

The platforms blocked include:

– Binance

– Forextime

– OctaFX

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– Crypto

– FXTM

– Coinbase

– Kraken

– Kucoin

– Bybit

There are also many other platforms used in the cryptocurrency transaction in Nigeria.

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Military warns Nigerians calling for coup over economic hardship

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Military warns Nigerians calling for coup over economic hardship
• Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa
The military has issued a warning to those calling for a coup against President Bola Tinubu’s administration on account of the hardship in Nigeria.

Nigeria is currently facing one of its worst economic crises in history, triggering protests in different parts of the country.

Some people have said if things do not get addressed on time, the military could stage a coup and oust the government of President Bola Tinubu.

Reacting to this, Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, said those insinuating such do not mean well for the country, warning that the law would catch up with them.

Musa said the Armed Forces would continue to do the needful to protect the country’s democracy.

He spoke while responding to questions from newsmen shortly after he commissioned the main entrance of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army and Officers Transit Accommodation, both at the Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

While admitting that the country was experiencing some challenges, he said coup calls were improper because nations achieve more and develop faster under a democracy.

“Whoever is making that call (coup) does not love Nigeria. We want to make it very clear that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are here to protect democracy. We all want democracy and we do better under democracy. And so we will continue to support democracy. And any of those ones that are calling for anything other than Democracy are evil people and I think they don’t mean well for Nigeria.

“And they should be very careful because the law will come after them. We can see that with democracy a lot of things are happening in Nigeria. Yes, we are going through trying periods, I mean in life nothing is hundred percent.”

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He emphasized that what is needed is for citizens to be patient and give their support to the Tinubu government to succeed and put the enemies of the state calling for a coup to shame.

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“Everybody goes through a trying period in life, and it is what you do with them. You can see the government putting efforts to ensure that we come out better. And it is when you go through difficulties and come out better you will really appreciate what it is to build a nation. And so we are going through our trying period, but I can assure Nigerians that it will get better.

“All we need is for all of us to put our hands together to ensure that we defeat those enemies of the government, those enemies of this country that don’t want us to succeed. We will surely succeed and the Armed Forces are here to support the Government in ensuring that we develop, we succeed and to see that there is peace in Nigeria.”

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Enugu govt withdraws fraudulent approvals obtained by property developers

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Enugu govt withdraws fraudulent approvals obtained by property developers
Executive Chairman ECTDA, Mr Uche Anya at the press briefing in Enugu on Thursday

Enugu State Government, on Thursday, decried what it called worrisome activities of some developers parading fraudulent approvals.

Executive Chairman of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority, ECTDA, Mr Uche Anya disclosed this while briefing journalists.

He said such fraudulent approvals have been withdrawn, vowing that the government would never succumb to blackmail.

Anya said, “it is very disheartening that in spite of all we have done, we are still facing challenges in our development control, we have some unscrupulous developers who call themselves investors, sabotaging our master plan, corrupting the system.

“We have instances where people secured approvals using the Certificate of Occupancy, C of O of a different area and passed it on for a property in another location.”

He cited a particular outfit operating in Independence Layout, a night club, which he said has a land title of a property in GRA but passed it on for another property in Independence Layout

“On top of that, they went out of their way and built things not approved.

“We have a similar instance opposite Fire Service, you will see a huge building that we don’t know what to make of it, whether to call it a hotel or complex or whatsoever, in variance to what was approved.

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“Then you go to the bank of Ekulu River, people who have jettisoned even the setback they signed up for and they are parading fake approvals, distorting our place, threatening our bridges, we cannot afford to have another collapsed bridge in Enugu. We must save Trans Ekulu Bridge at all costs.

“So we want to tell the world that we are not afraid of doing the right thing.

SEE ALSO:  UNILORIN expels four final year students, five others 

“We have withdrawn all the approvals that were fraudulently obtained and we intend to ensure that Enugu State, as much as we would do everything to encourage investors, will not allow unscrupulous people to violate our laws and end up blackmailing government officials.

“How on earth did someone get approval for a night club in Independence Layout using title documents of GRA?” Anya queried.

“All the people that have approval for one property and end up building up everywhere, we are also withdrawing such approvals.

“We need the world to understand that Enugu is a city of law and order and all our investment drives remain in front burner. All genuine investors have nothing to fear but those who want to corrupt the system have everything to worry about,” he added.

The ECTDA boss assured all genuine investors that Enugu State is open for investments.

He said, “we welcome people that want to make Enugu their preferred home. Enugu is home for all and this is what this administration is committed to.

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“Our 30 billion dollars investment drive for Enugu State is not a joke, and you can see that Governor Peter Mbah’s administration is not joking about it.

“You can see the massive infrastructural investment going on in all the places, you can see that we have paid attention to ease of doing business, the taxation system has been harmonized, this administration has zero tolerance for double taxation.

“You can see that E-government has taken firm root. For instance, we have eliminated corruption from our system of doing business.

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“In line with our ease of doing business, our land department is totally reformed, we can assure you that C of O in Enugu can be obtained within 72 hours if all your documentations are in order

“We also make it easy for every development approval to be processed and issued within 5 working days.”

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