Senate Probes Alleged $3b Fraud, Financial Waste at NPA
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Senate Committee on Marine Transport has been given four weeks in investigate the allegation of “monumental recklessness and financial waste” at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The agency is under the leadership of activist, Hadiza Bala Usman, who is the Managing Director of the NPA.
At the plenary on Wednesday, Senator Omo Ovie Agege cited orders 42 and 52, appealing to the Senate, through the Committee on Marine Transport, to move quickly to the stop alleged monumental recklessness and financial waste in the Nigerian Ports Authority.
The lawmaker said the alleged fraud was carried out through series of contracts awarded to different companies in 2005 purportedly to dredge the Calabar channels in Cross River State. He said till now, the project was yet to be carried.
According to Senator Agege, “In continuation of NPA’s manifestly questionable and reckless financial commitments, Lagos Channel Management (LCM) Limited and the BCM, through the NPA, have respectively requested for the sums of N23 billion and N20 billion in the NPA’s 2017 budget.”
He said further that, “Although these joint ventures were supposed public-private partnerships (PPP) conceived to reduce financial burdens on the Federal Government, the NPA has expended over $1 billion and $2 billion respectively on LCM and Bonny Channel Company (BCC) Limited from 2005 till date, but significant dredging is yet to commence on the Calabar channel notwithstanding that it is an economic gateway to the North Central and North East geo-political zones of the country.”
He said records from the LCM, BCC Limited, and the Calabar Channel Management Company (CCMC) Limited, which are into joint venture with the NPC revealed the alleged fraud.
“In spite of the so far unjustified huge financial commitment of the NPA to these supposed PPP joint ventures, empirical facts, evidence and data, including current Admiralty Charts from Lloyds of London clearly confirm that the depth profiles of the channels, particularly the Lagos and Bonny channels, remained significantly the same at 13 meters between 2005 and 2016, notwithstanding the purported claims of daily maintenance dredging of the channels by the JVs – a curious situation which must be looked into no matter any form of siltation,” the Senator said.
Senate President Mr Bukola Saraki, while commenting on the issue, said “these were the issues we will be bringing out from agencies so as to fight and protect the interest and rights of our people.”
Airtel Employees Donate Routers to Lagos Secondary School
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Some routers loaded with 100GB of data and a two-month roll-over access fee have been donated to a government-owned secondary school in Lagos, Kuramo College, by employees of Airtel Nigeria.
The items were given to the school by Airtel employees under the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, Employee Volunteer Scheme Initiative.
The routers, specifically donated by the Airtel Information and Technology team, are expected to aid digital learning in the school and boost the knowledge of the students.
“Airtel aims to empower young minds by equipping them with the connectivity to imagine and unlock a world of knowledge and opportunities.
“For Airtel, it is no longer about being a smartphone network but giving people a reason to imagine so that people can explore the possibilities powered by technology and connectivity.
“The world is evolving; young Nigerians now have access to unlimited possibilities and can now create their job titles and descriptions, which is why we now have YouTubers, social media Influencers and the likes,” the Director of Information and Technology at Airtel Nigeria, Mr Seun Solanke, said.
He encouraged the students to maximize the provision of connectivity to back up their future imaginations with the right information and resources to ensure a bright future.
The activities under the Airtel Nigeria Employee Volunteer Scheme, said Airtel management, aligns with the company’s commitment to bridging the digital divide in the country and enabling students to leverage the power of the internet, as the distribution of routers with data plans will ensure that students have uninterrupted access to educational resources, research materials, and online learning platforms, regardless of their socio-economic background.
Zoho Grows User Base to 90 million, Posts 65% Upmarket Growth
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
More and more people are embracing the products of Zoho Corporation, a leading global technology company, as the company now boasts more than 90 million users across more than 600,000 global businesses of all sizes.
Also, the organisation has recorded a three-year CAGR of 65 per cent in mid-market and enterprise segments, representing one-third of the entire business.
This is because of the steady upmarket growth Zoho is recording across the Middle East and Africa region, with its seventh office in Nairobi, Kenya, officially launched.
It was observed that Zoho is witnessing an uptick due to its investments in go-to-market services, new products, platform extensibility, privacy and security to improve the customer experience and enable success.
The Country Manager for Zoho Nigeria, Mr Kehinde Ogundare, said, “With our strong DNA as a technology platform company, we have been able to steadily improve our maturity and readiness for large organisations by investing in adjacent areas.”
“Our humble roots in SMB have helped us systematically build powerful software with strong everyday usability.
“Across our products, extensibility, usability, packaging, and go-to-market approach, Zoho aims to be the simplest enterprise software vendor in the market,” he added.
Speaking further, he said, “Today’s announcement serves as a testament to that goal, helping our customers adopt more of our software, add new capabilities, extend our platform to suit their granular workflows and get ready for the future.
“Whether customers buy our software for one department or the entire organisation, one workflow or a collection of customer journeys, the experience with Zoho will be far simpler than with any other large vendor.”
Zoho said it aims to expand EBS across skills, industry depth, and regional presence to help enterprise businesses manage their technology stack better in today’s economic climate. EBS provides expertise to large organisations across solutions engineering, account management, and customer success.
The platform accepts payment in over 15 currencies worldwide, facilitating global procurement efforts for enterprise organisations with regional operations through unified multi-currency invoicing.
Airtel Unveils ‘A Reason to Imagine’ Brand Campaign
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A new Africa-wide brand campaign focused on building a deeper emotional connection with young people, including Nigeria’s globally acclaimed productive generation, has been launched by Airtel Africa Plc.
The leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services disclosed that the campaign includes a new strapline for Airtel, A Reason to Imagine.
It is driven by the insight that in Africa, imagination is the only qualification that matters and showcases Airtel Africa’s role in harnessing this potential by delivering relevant solutions to consumers that enhance digital and financial inclusion.
The A Reason to Imagine campaign highlights the status of Airtel as an enabler of young people’s dreams and ambitions, whatever these might be. To this end, the campaign seeks to celebrate the energy, creativity, and innovation of Nigerian youth.
“Africa’s young people are now, more than ever, owning their passions boldly, chasing their dreams with all their heart, and living on their terms. At Airtel, we see this growth as a beautiful thing.
“Our new brand purpose represents our commitment to the future. It is about youth, about excitement, about fun, and most of all, about imagination,” the chief executive of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Carl Cruz, noted.
On his part, the Group Chief Commercial Officer of Airtel Africa, Mr Anthony Shiner, said, “It’s a well-understood fact that youth are central to achieving Africa’s potential.
“More than 60 per cent of Africa’s population is under 25, and empowering this new generation is transformative for the continent’s future.
“Through this campaign, we are reaffirming Airtel Africa’s commitment to advancing the progress of Africa’s young people by providing the connectivity to turn every situation into an opportunity.”
The Reason to Imagine brand campaign is Airtel Africa’s most ambitious yet. It comprises a series of television commercials and a combination of market-specific print, online, outdoor, and mobile creative executions.
The current title sponsorship of The Voice Africa is an example of how Airtel Africa is giving the youth a reason to imagine by partnering with The Voice to bring the show to the continent.
The Voice Africa showcases exceptional African musical talent in a show featuring a high-profile panel of coaches and TV hosts.
One of the 100 selected talents will eventually be crowned ‘The Voice Africa’ in a live show on free-to-air TV stations across the continent and Airtel TV. This is one of the initiatives that Airtel Africa has invested in to promote youthful talents and expertise in the education, sports, and innovation sectors.
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