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Expert urges firms to boost capacity against cyber attacks

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Expert urges firms to boost capacity against cyber attacks


The President, Fintech Association of Nigeria, Dr Segun Aina, has stressed the need for organisations to up skill the capacity of their employees to identify and defend against cyber-attacks.

Aina said this during the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Lagos State Branch, Bankers & Stakeholders Night in Lagos on Thursday.

He said that investment in initiatives and infrastructure to protect against cyber-attacks was low, which has resulted to an increase in the cybercrime rate.

Aina, who is also the Chairman, Global Banking Education Standards Board, said that cybercrime was the biggest threat to banks in the digital age and might lead to another global financial crisis.

According to him, banks’ losses to fraud in Nigeria increased to N15.15 billion in 2018, which constitutes an increase of 539 per cent, compared to the N2.37 billion recorded in 2017.

He said that internet and technology-based sources of fraud accounted for 59 per cent of fraud cases and 43 per cent of actual losses.

“According to the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), cybercrime will cost the world six trillion dollars annually by 2021, from three trillion dollars in 2015.

“Global spending on security awareness training for employees is predicted to reach 10 billion dollars by 2027, up from around one billion dollars in 2014,’’ he said.

“In today’s environment, embracing the digital system is no longer something good to do, it is a mandate for survival.

“Banks must take actions today to guarantee survival and competitiveness tomorrow,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Uche Olowu, President of CIBN, said the era of digital banking has gained traction, and is projected to cross nine trillion dollars by 2024.

“In view of these developments, banks who wish to survive need to rethink their business models in order to stay relevant.

“As we all know, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of its National Financial Inclusion Strategy aims to significantly increase financial inclusion rates from 58.4 per cent recorded in 2016 to 80 per cent in 2020.

“Banks who choose to operate under the current banking model would hinder the advancement of this policy.

“On the other hand, banks who choose to stay ahead of the curve can leverage on digital banking to further enhance the efforts of the Apex bank.” he said.

Olowu said that the impact of the initiative was crucial not only for survival in the changing banking terrain but for economic growth and development.

“In rethinking their banking models, the banking industry should consider further adoption of technological advancements such as Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and collaboration with Fintech Firms in increasing coverage and access points,’’ he said.

Olowu, therefore, urged banks to remember their core services and evolve more innovative ways to offer services outside of the traditional ways.

 

 

 

Oluwafunke Temitope Ishola: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Health

Expert says COVID-19 provides Nigeria opportunity to invest, improve health sector financing

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A Development Finance Specialist, Mr Princewill Eziukwu, on Tuesday said Coronavirus (COVID-19) was an opportunity for Nigeria to invest and improve its health sector financing.


Eziukwu told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the pandemic had exposed countries that failed to critically invest in their respective health sectors.

He said that for over a decade Nigeria had invested less than five per cent of its annual budget to the health sector.

The financial expert said that with improved health sector financing, strengthening accountability mechanisms and public-private partnerships, Nigeria would be better prepared for future emergencies.

“Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with an avenue to evaluate the way we have been doing things.

”It has also provided us with an opportunity to re-assess the government’s preparedness to address future pandemics,” he said.

Eziukwu said it was imperative that health policymakers took advantage of the pandemic to improve health financing mechanisms, correlation between health and economic growth and increased attention to disease prevention.

He said  larger impact of the pandemic could be broadly grouped a national health emergency.

He said that this was because of its rate of spread and the diversion of human and financial resources from other critical health challenges such as Ebola, Malaria and .

Eziukwu said that coronavirus could overwhelm the health system in little time as was currently the case in Nigeria and other affected countries.

He further said that the neglect of other health challenges could  lead to  loss of already gained grounds in the fight against them.

He said that the economic challenge presented by the pandemic could be quite devastating particularly for emerging economies in Africa.

“As at June 2, Africa had about 108,121 confirmed cases with a death rate lower than the rest of the world.

“However, the continent can be said to be worst hit considering other factors.

“One key factor is the mono-primary commodity export in most African countries, of which price falls will lead to a great loss of income in these countries.

“Another factor is the dominant informal sector in the economies.

“Contrary to what is obtainable in Western economies, African economies are still very nascent with the majority of its citizens operating in the informal sectors,” he said.

Eziukwu, said that the approach of locking down the economy had  caused hardship to many citizens, adding that the limited fiscal policy had also contributed to the hardship the citizens were experiencing.

“Many African countries have high debt to revenue ratios, of which a reduction in commodity prices will be unable to meet the basic operating and administrative costs.

“Also, there is limited health insurance in emerging economies which leads to high out-of-pocket health expenditure and these have further increased poverty rates,” he said.

Eziukwu said that some of the most hit areas of the economy during this pandemic were foreign reserves and currency values.

“Many emerging countries’ 12 months forward price is trading at approximately 50 per cent reduction when compared with the United States dollars and other currencies.

“It is reported that the Naira is currently trading at over N500 to a dollar in the foreign  exchange market.

“This is an over 42 per cent reduction when compared with the currency’s trading average of N360 before the pandemic,” he said.

Eziukwu said that the epidemic preparedness and health sector funding models had also been seriously tested at this time.

He said that African countries that religiously followed the 2001 Abuja Accord  were better positioned to withstand the economic impact of the pandemic.

The financial expert said that the  countries that failed to meet the Abuja Accord target were more vulnerable as a result of the pandemic which was already over stretching frail health systems.

“This pandemic has provided a critical juncture for policymakers to review all possible approaches to better health financing.

”There is no better time to understand and agree that health is indeed wealth and should take precedence in all budgetary and financing decisions of the government.

“It is expected that going forward, there must be a convergence between the private sector, donor agencies and the government.

”This convergence will be important in addressing the weaknesses the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified,” he said.

Eziukwu said that in April, Nigeria’s Finance Minister had rolled out several interventions to address the pandemic.

He said that the interventions among other things included N500 billion intervention fund to build and maintain various primary health care facilities across the country.

“While this is a welcome development, an enabling environment should be created and sustained.

”This enabling environment is necessary to assist the private sector to further invest in the revamp and management of primary healthcare facilities across the country.

“Doing such will bring Nigeria closer to achieving universal health coverage (UHC),” he said.

Eziukwu said that investing in infrastructure only would not be sufficient to address the weaknesses in Nigeria’s health sector.

He said that there was a need to reduce the burden of care for basic ailments on secondary and tertiary health facilities by improving and sustaining PHCs.

The expert said that during a pandemic, improving micro and medium scale enterprise investments would have to be another approach for all Central Bank’s development finance investments.

He said that on March 27, CBN rolled out several interventions aimed at assisting businesses facing challenges as a result of the lockdown, which was welcome. 

Eziukwu, however, othebserved that review of the requirements from the CBN revealed certain requirements that small-scale businesses would not be able to meet to access the funds.

To address this, he said, the CBN  should lower the requirements for accessing the funds and target high-impact job-generating sectors during the lockdown and after.

Eziukwu,  however, said that while this might have short term positive impact as a considerable amount of the funds would go into food purchases, in the long run, it might lead to inflation.

He said that targeted interventions should be critically encouraged at this point.

 

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

Develop friendly policy to enhance operation in gas, electricity industry- Expert

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Dr Ekpen Omonbude, Group Managing Director, Eraskorp Ltd., has called on the Federal Government to develop a friendly policy that would enhance operation in the gas and electricity industry for sustainable development.


Omonbude made the call on Monday during a Webinar organised by the Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research of Covenant University in Ota, Ogun.

The Webinar was organised to mark the country’s Democracy Day: entitled: “Post COVID-19: Natural Gas Utilisation and Energy Market Prospects”.

Omonbude said the Federal Government’s inability to generate funds, due to the dwindling oil prices at the international market, forced government to embrace more radical solutions like the removal of fuel subsidy.

He said that abolishing the subsidy announced earlier this year and other positive developments like the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation programme (NGFCP) and power sector interventions in the Siemens deal was a step in the right direction.

“However, there is the need for more aggressive push toward the use of gas as 80 per cent of power generation, currently comes from gas while oil and hydro (water) make up the rest,” the expert said.

Omonbude explained that a successful implementation of natural gas expansion would enhance gas utilisation in power development.

He added that natural gas provided a scalable opportunity for big increases in generating capacity.

Also, Mrs Abimbola Ojo, the Senior Manager, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, urged Federal Government to expedite actions on laws in the petroleum sector that would have ripple effects in the gas supply industry.

“Much of the oil and gas prospecting and licencing requirements, which may stifle investments, need to be reviewed,” Ojo said.

She stressed the need for further restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to a full profit-driven and efficient self-financing organisation, capable of bankrolling domestic supply investments.

Also, Dr Obindah Gershon, Co-Chairman, Centre for Economic Policy And Development Research, said that Nigerians had consistently struggled to have adequate power supply to grow their businesses and be more productive.

Gershon said that was a result of the transmission lines, being the transport system that would facilitate light distribution from the point of generation, was inadequate.

“This caused the grid collapse and lack of liquidity, and fair pricing in the sector hindered investors from coming in to tackle the challenges,” he said.

Gershon said government had begun intervention that would ease the bottlenecks and disruptions of transmission.

Edited By: Mustapha Lamidi/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Foreign

Interview: Expert says China promotes trust toward building a safe, prosperous Asia

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China‘s participation in the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) has promoted dialogue, mutual trust and coordination in the region, an expert has said.


In a recent interview with Xinhua, Kazbek Maigeldinov, director of Center for Research and Analysis at the Institute for Eurasian Integration in Kazakhstan, recalled Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the fifth CICA summit held in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe in June 2019.

In his speech, the Chinese leader called on CICA members to build an Asia featuring mutual respect and trust, stability and prosperity, openness and inclusiveness, as well as cooperation and innovation.

To pursue that end, Xi proposed exploring a security and development path that fits Asian reality and the common interests of countries.

China has been actively participating in the CICA process, promoting security and stability in Asia and strengthening regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, he said.

Against the backdrop of rising trend of unilateralism and protectionism, Asia is also facing increasing uncertainty in regional landscape, highlighted by its array of traditional and non-traditional security challenges.

A strong and prosperous China helps safeguard the security and stability of the region, since China’s economy has been deeply integrated with the global one, said the expert.

Maigeldinov also voiced his support for China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying it is conducive to the peaceful development and prosperity of the entire region.

The BRI is based on mutual benefits and plays an important role in facilitating exchanges on politics, trade, finance, infrastructure and people-to-people communication among participating countries, said Maigeldinov.

The CICA, initiated by Kazakhstan and established in 1992, is a pan-Asian multilateral cooperation mechanism that seeks to promote peace, security and interaction in Asia. It now has 27 member states and 13 observers.

Noting that the CICA members have various development paths and different visions on regional and global issues, Maigeldinov said the mechanism has provided a multilateral platform to conduct dialogue, strengthen cooperation and cope with common challenges and security threats.

“Security problems of each Asian country, as well as the entire Asia, are closely interconnected with the international security,” said Maigeldinov, adding that the CICA seeks to become a bridge for communication and open up a more peaceful and prosperous future for Asia.

(XINHUA)

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Health

Expert advises women on eating healthy fruits during pregnancy

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A Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Dr Aisosa Ehigiator, has advised women to eat healthy foods and fresh fruits during pregnancy to ensure that both mother and baby remain healthy.


Ehigiator, who works with a private hospital, Estate Hospital, Benin in Edo, gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Benin.

He said that making healthful food choices was crucial for women when during pregnancy.

“Their diet will provide the foetus with the nutrients essential for growth and development.

“A nutritious diet plays an essential role in a person’s overall health, helping the body to function effectively and reducing the risk of some diseases.

“Most people are aware that a healthful diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthful fats.

“However, they may not realise that specific fruits are particularly beneficial during pregnancy.

“It is very important to eat fruits during pregnancy. It helps build immunity for both mother and child,” he said.

According to him, eating a healthful, varied diet is particularly important during pregnancy as the right nutrients can help the foetus to develop and grow as it should.

He said that an increased intake of vitamins and minerals could help a pregnant woman to keep her own body in the best condition possible.

“Snacking on fruit can be a great way to boost vitamin intake in addition to curbing sugar cravings,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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