Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURS AND SME CONFERENCE NETWORK

Several small business enterprises and startups across various sectors of the economy on Friday, 16th August 2019, converged at NG-HUB by Facebook Lagos, to participate at the Digital Entrepreneurs and SME Conference. The Conference, an initiative of Insightlite International Company aimed at enlightening entrepreneurs and small business owners on how to balance the traditional model of business processes into digital processes.

The conference attracted various notable individuals and organizations including the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Upperlink, Adnaira, and Proville. Notable individuals such as Mr. Oluwatoba Obaniyi, the Vice President of NIRA, who was the guest speaker and Mrs. Edith Udeagu, the Executive Secretary of NIRA, were also present at this remarkable event.

The Keynote Speaker, Mr. Oluwatoba Obaniyi, in his presentation, explained the importance of innovation and the internet, stating exclusively that a business that does not innovate dies. Mr. Oluwatoba further gave important reasons why businesses need to be online, some of which include the ease of reaching potential target customers, reduction in operational cost and the ability of the internet to target a global market. He also stated the importance of businesses owning a functional mobile responsive website and a business mail registered on the .ng domain as against only social media accounts.

Mr. Blessed Ola Saint, the visionary and founder of the Empower Africa Project, gave an in-depth analysis on what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria. He urged entrepreneurs to display self-confidence and possess optimism in any project they embark on. Mr. Ola Saint further stated the importance of collaboration and thanked the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) for always being responsive and available to support and drive the fulfilment of this campaign.

The conference was a success, as many entrepreneurs present expressed the motivation to take their businesses online and utilize the digital opportunities available to upscale their businesses. After an organized photo session, Miss Moyosore, the Executive Director of the Empower Africa Project, gave the vote of thanks and a few closing nuggets to the impressed audience.

GLOCALISATION AND BRANDING SUMMIT, LAGOS 2019.

Brands and Communications experts gathered at the second edition of the Glocalisation and branding summit, held on the 9th of August, 2019 at the Edmark D'Podium Events Center, Ikeja in Lagos. The theme of this year’s edition was “Positioning Nigerian Businesses for Local and International Markets”. The event was part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Vivacity PR and brought together global and local brands to explore areas of synergy, discuss financial options, impacts of technology and social media on branding and techniques that would make brands stand out and generate required revenue.

The opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Ade Atobatele, CEO Gbosa Gbosa Technology. Mr. Atobatele urged all business owners to pay attention to their branding. He urged all Nigerians to collaborate amongst fellow Nigerians to avoid the issue of foreign exchange.

Goodwill messages were delivered by an array of dignitaries including Mr. Tola Johnson, Special Adviser to the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on MSMEs; Mr. Mohammed Ismail, Bank of Industry; Mrs. Tosan Mabuyaku, Assistant Director, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); Mr. Simon Deji Alfred representing the Director General of the Industrial Training Fund and Mrs. Ayodele Olojede, Group Head Emerging Business, Access Bank. They all stated a few of the steps their respective offices have taken to help small business. Some of these steps include the initiatives by Access Bank and Bank of Industry to make loans more accessible to small business owners, the Business Incentive Strategy (BIS) initiative of the Corporate Affairs Commission under which they were able to reduce the cost of registering businesses for MSME to five thousand naira (N5,000), active capacity building through various training by the Industrial Training Fund and the establishment of shared facilities by the Federal Government where MSMEs can have access to world class equipment at a token price.

Mrs. Eyitayo Iyortim, the Chief Operating Officer, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) was also in attendance to represent Mrs. Edith Udeagu, the Executive Secretary of NiRA as one of the speakers. She encouraged small businesses to bring their businesses online to promote its growth. Mrs. Iyortim also stated a couple of reasons why small business owners should register and use the .ng domain name for their website. Some of these reasons include; a website is proof that the business can articulate properly, SMEs need to be local, there is a higher propensity to find the business first online if it is a .ng domain name due to search engine optimization, it shows that the business owner is a proud Nigerian, it prevents capital flight, helps businesses  define their target audience and so on. She also outlined the steps to be taken to register .ng domain domains, describing the 3R model and how to find NiRA Accredited Registrars online. It was a well-attended event.

FGN PROPOSES 5% ONLINE PURCHASE TAX

As part of the plans to raise more revenue to fund a record budget, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is considering a 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) specifically for online purchases.

Mr. Babatunde Fowler, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has been quoted to say that the Government may appoint banks as agents to deduct 5% VAT on all local online purchases. The deductions will cover all purchases processed with a bank card. The policy for VAT on online purchases are yet to be concluded, but Mr. Fowler disclosed that this could be in place by early 2020.

Crucially, the policy proposal also comes at a time when many online businesses have begun to scale back on cash “payment on delivery” options, nudging more customers to embrace online payments.

Already, mixed reactions have trailed the proposed plan by the Federal Government of Nigeria to implement a 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods bought online as some worry that the plan could discourage the growing digital economy and hamper the Cashless Economy initiative.

CONGRATULATIONS TO DR. ISA ALI IBRAHIM PANTAMI, THE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS

It is with great pleasure that Mr. Muhammed Rudman, President of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) with NiRA Executive Board of Directors and NiRA Management Team congratulate Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, MCPN on his appointment by the Federal Government of Nigerian as the Minister of Communications. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Isa  Ali Pantami was the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). He held this position from 26th September 2016 to August 2019 when he was sworn into office as the Minister of Communications on Wednesday 21st August 2019. His appointment brought so much joy in the ICT industry.

During his tenure as the DG/CEO NITDA, Dr. Pantami used his wealth of experience to craft a strategic roadmap on how to transform the country’s IT sector. The transformation was aimed at helping the country diversify from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based economy driven by technology and it focused on Regulation, Capacity Building, Local Content Development and Promotion, Government Digital Services Promotion, Cybersecurity, Digital Job Creation and Digital Inclusion. His leadership in NITDA brought about a paradigm shift and unprecedented achievements in the history of Nigeria’s IT sector.

Some of these laudable achievements at NITDA include;

  • Activation of NITDA’s IT Clearing House status that focused on ensuring efficient utilization of public resources, to prevent duplication or superfluous projects.
  • Development of local content, and ensuring that shared services are used where possible as well as prevention of failed IT projects while encouraging better project outcomes. The process captured over 750 IT-specific projects of Federal Government and resulted in saving over 16 Billion Naira.
  • Enforcement of NITDA’s Guidelines on Local Content Development as well as Presidential Executive Orders 003 and 005 which resulted in an unprecedented increase in the patronage of locally assembled devices.
  • Creation of business-friendly regulations that facilitated the establishment of AfriOne as an Indigenous IT company and an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in 2017. Few others are in the final stages of registration.
  • Enforcement of the Data Localization Regulation that resulted in the repatriation of substantial data assets of the Federal Government previously hosted outside Nigeria.
  • Strategic capacity building initiatives that resulted in the empowerment of Civil and Public Servants, Artisans, Women, Unemployed Youth and People Living with Disabilities.

NiRA wishes the Honourable Minister a successful tenure and looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Minister to further strengthen the ICT sector in Nigeria and promote the usage of the Nigerian Online Identity (.ng).

PRESIDENT’S SPEECH

We have in the past organized events, participated in several initiatives and embarked on projects in a bid to create awareness and keep the .ng brand in the subconscious mind of Nigerians and the entire world. Recently, we concluded the 2019 Web Hosting conference which attracted several participants from various parts of the country. Participants were enlightened on various aspects of web hosting and domain name registration by seasoned speakers from Garanntor Nigeria Limited, TF Host Nigeria Limited and Smart Web Nigeria Limited. We are grateful to all participants, our Accredited Registrars who exhibited and facilitated the program and our sponsors; Garanntor Nigeria Limited, Smart Web Nigeria Limited, Internet Exchange Point (IXPN), Medallion Communications, NITDA, UpperLink Limited, AdNaira  and Whogohost Limited for their support.

The Domain Name System (DNS) industry has become increasingly central for many businesses on the global scene and NiRA is continuously improving engagement within the global domain name industry through various initiatives such as the yearly sponsorship of NiRA’s top performing Accredited Registrar to international conferences. One of such conferences is the just concluded 7th Africa Domain Name Systems Forum held in Gaborone, Botswana from 22nd – 24th July 2019. NiRA was ably represented at the conference with the attendance of its Accredited Registrar, Garanntor Nigeria Limited.

In all, we are very much aware that the growth in domain name registration is a collective responsibility that more Nigerians should support. We seek the support of the General Public to spread the good word about .ng and join us to make the necessary impact that will project the .ng brand and ultimately grow our economy.

Muhammed Rudman

President, NiRA Executive Board