By Aderemi Maruf

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, has revealed that the Federal Government rejected the N22,500 minimum wage proposal by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

Ngige stated this on Wednesday while being interviewed via the phone on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“The governors have not even done enough. I told them that this N22,500 is even rejected by the Federal Government,” he said.

The governors forum had on Tuesday unanimously agreed to pay Nigerian workers N22,500 as the new minimum wage as against the current N18,000.

Chairman of the Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, insisted that the decision of the governors was based on the current realities on the ground.

Ngige however said, “The national minimum wage is a national legislation being driven by the Federal Government of Nigeria in pursuance to item 34 of the Exclusive Legislative list.

“But you don’t go and make a law which people will disobey at the initial.

“If you make a law and hoax a figure that is not agreeable, which people don’t have the capacity or ability to pay because the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says in those negotiations, the principle is the ability to pay.”

By Aderemi Maruf

The governors of the 36 states of Nigeria have agreed to pay N22,500 as the new minimum wage to workers.

The governors, under the umbrella of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) came up with the decision in Abuja, Tuesday evening, after a three-hour meeting.

The workers’ unions had threatened to embark on an indefinite strike from November 6 if government would not resolve their N30,000 proposed minimum wage.

Chairman of the Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said the decision followed an emergency meeting of the governors where they deliberated on the new minimum wage after a briefing from the forum’s representatives at the Tripartite Committee.

Governor Yari also said that the meeting did not take a position that would only reflect a figure, but also a sustainable strategy based on the ability and capacity of the states to pay.

Gloria Ajala, a student of Lafiaji Senior High School, has won the Lagos Spelling Bee competition.

Gloria, who was also a representative of Lagos Island East LCDA in the competition became the Governor of Lagos State for one day.

Congratulating the winner after she emerged on Tuesday, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, said Gloria would be given scholarship by the state government to pursue any course of her choice in any university in the country. She would also be sponsored together with her ‘cabinet’ to attend a cultural exchange programme in Finland.

The deputy governor also commended the 2018 edition of the Spelling Bee competition, saying it has been highly educative and competitive.

“I am very impressed with the performance of the competitors in the grand finale of the primary and the secondary school categories,” she said.

Adebule, however, noted that the competition has experienced improvement in the areas of presentation and vocabulary development. She attributed the improvement to the various policies and programmes initiated by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration to encourage learning.

Grace Ikhariale of Tin Can Island Senior High SChool and Oluwatosin Akinbodewa of Iworo Ajido Senior Secondary School finished in second and third positions, respectively.

Another video has emerged and currently trending on online from unknown sources, involving the Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje in black Kaftan collecting bribe from a contractor as the Editor-In-Chief of Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar denies the current release.

Findings by PRNigeria indicate that the embattled Publisher of the Daily Nigerian who had recently honoured the invitation of the Kano State House of Assembly investigating the alleged bribe scandal revealed that Jaafar Jaafar tendered several videos to the lawmakers hence he could not have released the trending video on Ganduje.

“I swore an oath with the Holy Quran before tendering the several videos at the Kano State Assembly and I could not have been responsible for the current video trending on social media. Therefore Daily Nigerian did not release any other video after the appearance before lawmakers,” Jaafar said.

Before the appearance of the publisher at the Kano State House Assembly, Daily Nigerian had published two videos showing the governor receiving bundles of dollars and putting them into his white dress known as ‘babanriga’ in the northern part of Nigeria.

The latest trending video from anonymous source shows Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano state, allegedly receiving kickback from contractors, speaking audibly on those who have paid and others outstanding.

The unedited trending videos exposed the names of contractors, projects and the voice of the purported bribe giver. It also has the translation in English with dates and timelines. This time around Governor Ganduje appeared in Black Kaftan with his clear voice and that of the bribe giver.

Unlike the previous videos officially released by Daily Nigerian, the latest trending videos are suspected to have been released by other parties who could have had access to them after copies were released on request to critical stakeholders, especially security agencies and Kano State House of Assembly.

Nigerian pop star, Ayo Balogun popularly known as Wizkid, has joined the list of highest paid artists in the world following his performance at a royal wedding in India.

The artist is said to have performed during a royal wedding at one of the world’s top private residences, Umaid Bhawan Palace in India.

He was reported to have been paid 50 million Rupees ($681,200, N245.9 million) to give a live performance, and he got Indians dancing to Soco, Fake Love and more.

According to a post made by @AfricaFactsHub, the Nigerian pop star has joined the list of the highest paid artistes in the world after being paid such huge amount:

“Wizkid becomes one of the Highest Paid Artists for Bookings in the World, as he performs at a Royal Wedding at one of the world’s top private residences, Umaid Bhawan Palace in India.

“He was reportedly paid 50 million Rupees ($681,200, N245.9 million).’’

Meanwhile, Wizkid who confirmed his trip to India on his instagram on Tuesday, stated: “Thank U India! Met some amazing people, performed at an amazing wedding and created some amazing memories with my boys’.

The artists started his recording music at age 11 and in 2009, he signed a record deal with Banky W’s record label, Empire Mates Entertainment, and he rose to prominence in 2010.

Wizkid achieved international recognition following his collaboration with Drake on the global hit, “One Dance”, which reached number one in 15 countries, including th USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

He was ranked fifth on Forbes and Channel O’s 2013 list of the top 10 richest/bankable African artists and in 2014 he became the first Nigerian musician to have over one million twitter followers.

The pop start also became the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records for his contribution to Drake’s hit song, “One Dance”.

The Oyo State Government has ordered the payment of outstanding salaries to the state civil servants and teachers.

A statement on Monday by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun, said the payment approved by the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi, would cover the salaries of September and October 2018 which were the outstanding arrears.

Mr Arulogun said the state government was committed to the well-being and welfare of the people of the state, noting that the payment was an indication of Mr Ajimobi’s steadfast commitment to the welfare of the workforce in the state.

He noted that the governor was also passionate about the welfare of the workers in the state, pledging that the governor would put in place a machinery that would ensure that workers in the state got their salary on or before 25th of every month.

“Before the economic meltdown, the Senator Ajimobi administration used to pay on or before the 25th of every month,” he said.

“During this period, workers in the state also received a 300 per cent increase in salaries between 2011 and 2015 as well as 13th month salaries for three years consecutively.

“There is no doubt that this administration is strongly committed to the welfare of the people and efforts are being put in place to ensure that salaries are no longer owed.”

He charged workers in the state to be diligent and dedicated to work towards ensuring financial sufficiency for the state.

As at 2016, unpaid salaries had reached arrears of seven months. Monday’s approval is in keeping with the promise made by the governor that he would clear all arrears as the economy improves.

Apple Inc on Tuesday is expected to unveil updates to its Mac computers and iPads that include facial recognition features that have been available in the iPhone line-up at an event in Brooklyn.

Analysts expect a new versions of Apple’s iPad Pro, its higher-end tablet computer that competes with the Microsoft Surface, with thinner bezels and more screen space, along with the face unlock system found on Apple’s newer iPhones.

They also expect updates to the firm’s Mac line-up such as redesigned MacBook Air, Apple’s 999 dollars entry-level laptop.

Apple introduced new iPhones and Apple Watches last month, but the older product lines accounted for 45 billion dollars in sales in the most recent fiscal quarter. In comparison, iPhones brought in revenue of 141.3 billion dollars.

“They really wanted to show the world they haven’t forgotten about the iPad and the Mac,” said Mika Kitagawa, a senior principal research analyst at Gartner.

In July when Apple reported its most recent quarter, the company had its worst quarter of Mac sales since 2010, with unit volumes down 13 per cent year over year.

And iPad unit sales were up only one per cent versus a year earlier, and revenue for both was down five per cent from the prior year.

But some of that dip in Mac sales was explained by timing – Apple waited to release new Macs until July, when it had in previous years offered them in June.

More broadly, Macs sales growth has outpaced the PC market and the iPad has been the most successful tablet in a market that simply turned out to be smaller than Apple hoped when it released the device in 2010.

While Apple has held prices down on some items like its entry-level iPads for schools, analyst do not expect it to do so with iPad Pros or Mac laptops.

With Mac laptops in particular, consumers increasingly use phones or tablets for quick computing tasks and only reach for a full-fledged computer when they need extra horsepower.

Apple is unlikely to cut corners to drop the price of its entry-level laptops, analysts said.

“With Apple, ‘cheap’ is always more expensive than everybody else,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies.

Apple is likely to pick a price where “you don’t feel like you’re breaking the bank, but you don’t feel like you’re compromising your experience.”

(Reuters/NAN)

A 26-year-old Nigerian, Hauwa Ojeifo, has been nominated for the ‘Generation Change Award’ at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Award.

The MTV EMA Generation Change Award is a new category created to elevate and empower the fearless, original young people who are changing the world.

The Generation Change Award would be presented during the MTV EMA Awards, which holds in Bilbao, Spain, on November 4.

Ms Ojeifo is the creator of a walk-in and mental health crisis helpline and an anonymous women-only mental health support group, called Safe Place.

She has been nominated alongside four other persons namely Xiuhtezcatl “X” Martinez, Sonita Alizadeh, Mohamed Al Jounde and Ellen Jones.

Martinez is a climate activist/ hip-hop artist leading an environmental movement while Mohamad is a 17-year-old Syrian refugee who built a school in a refugee camp in Lebanon when he was just 12 years old.

Sonita uses her rap lyrics and powerful voice to help end child marriage while Ellen is a 20-year-old LGBTQ+ rights activist from the UK.

The organisers noted in a statement that the nominees are tackling some of the world’s toughest problems in substantial ways.

Hauwa would also join Nigerian music superstars, Davido and Tiwa Savage, who have been nominated in the Best African Act category at the MTV EMA.

Speaking ahead of the awards ceremony, executive vice president and managing director for Viacom International Media Networks and BET International, Alex Okosi, said young people around the world are stepping up and playing a huge part in driving solutions to make the world a better place.

“We are excited for Hauwa Ojeifo to be representing Africa among this amazing group of nominees for this powerful and important award,” he said.

The 2018 MTV EMA will air live on November 4 at 9:00 p.m. CET in nearly 180 countries across the globe.

Organizations across the African continent have been increasingly moving their applications to AWS.

Enterprises such as Absa, Investec, MedScheme, MiX Telematics, Old Mutual, Pick n Pay, Standard Bank, Travelstart, and many more are using AWS to drive cost savings, accelerate innovation, and speed up time-to-market.

African startups choosing AWS as the foundation for their businesses include Aerobotics, Apex Innovation, Asoriba, BusinessOptics, ColonyHQ, Custos Media, DPO PayGate, EMS Invirotel, Entersekt, graylink, HealthQ, JourneyApps, JUMO, Luno, Mukuru, NicheStreem, Parcelninja, Simfy Africa, Zanibal, Zapper, and Zoona.

The African Public Sector, including researchers, museums, and health sciences organizations, are also choosing AWS.

For example, The National Museums of Kenya (NMK), is using AWS to digitize their most precious and valuable artifacts, which make up one of the largest collections of archaeology and paleontology in the world.

Absa, one of the largest and most innovative banks in Africa, welcomes the news of an AWS Region. “AWS has been Absa’s primary cloud provider for the past three years.

The reduction in latencies that will accompany their expansion to South Africa will further enable us to scale our cloud consumption,” said Andy Baker, CIO at Absa. “We no longer deploy bespoke hardware, SAN storage, or high-cost proprietary database solutions. Instead, our new tech stack utilizes low cost, fully automated, logically partitioned, open source software, with real-time security and application monitoring.

AWS’s track record of delivering enterprise ready and South African regulator-approved services to Absa has given us confidence to deploy services aimed at further reducing our operational costs and improving our cyber risk profile.”

Another well-known South African enterprise using AWS for their mission critical workloads is MiX Telematics, a global provider of fleet management, driver safety, and vehicle tracking services and solutions.

“We started working with AWS in 2015 and decided to go ‘all-in,’ including migrating our full fleet and mobile asset management stack to AWS and shutting down our on-premises data centres over a period of 18 months,” said Catherine Lewis, Executive VP (Technology) at MiX Telematics.

“Through moving to AWS, we have been able to speed up innovation and increase system reliability, while reducing the time to get new ideas into production from months to minutes. While we already use AWS globally in Ireland, Australia, and the U.S., an AWS infrastructure region in Africa will accelerate our innovation even further, improve our service, and ultimately reduce the costs of supporting our base of over 700,000 vehicles. We are also in the process of migrating over 7,000 costly Microsoft SQL Server databases to Amazon Aurora and Amazon RDS PostgreSQL, and adopting new technologies, such as AWS’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning services, to help more intelligently manage vehicle efficiency, improve driver safety, and ultimately enable us to drive greater value for our customers.”

Pick n Pay is one of the largest retailers in Africa, with over 80,000 staff across 1,560 stores, and is moving their eCommerce and data analytics systems to AWS.

“By moving our eCommerce and mobile customer application to AWS, from our previous managed services model, we estimate we have saved significantly on our total cost of ownership over the past year,” said Chris Shortt, General Manager of Information Services, Pick n Pay.

“The relationship, performance, reliability, and cost savings has been positive and has led us to move our SAP Business Warehouse systems to certified AWS X1 instances. Selecting AWS highlights the differentiated, cloud-first thinking they bring to us as opposed to more traditional, and less agile, service providers. The scale, security, speed, and customer focused nature of AWS is something we’ve become accustomed to and look forward to expanding our use of their services as the South African Region becomes a reality.”

In the startup space, Entersekt, an authentication and mobile application security company, is leveraging the scalability of AWS to support world-renowned financial services organizations including Absa, Capitec Bank, Nedbank, Swisscard, and more. The company is using AWS to send fully encrypted data from their banking customer’s on-premises environments to the cloud. This high level of security helps Entersekt’s customers across 45 countries to secure over 150 million transactions per month, drastically reducing online and mobile banking and payment fraud rates.

“As a South African headquartered company and long-term customer, we are proud to be among the first to welcome the news of an AWS Region,” said Schalk Nolte, CEO of Entersekt.

“Our customers are large financial institutions for whom even minutes of downtime are unacceptable. They experience significant spikes in transaction volumes during the course of a month and AWS provides the elasticity and availability they demand, without having to build, operate, and protect a system of this kind themselves. AWS has ensured extremely high service levels even as transactions continue to double every six months. An AWS infrastructure region in South Africa is great news as it will give us the opportunity to continue this rapid growth and offer South African financial institutes localised data control and protection with increased system performance and reduced latency.”

Another startup using AWS to speed up their work is South African-based Hyrax Biosciences. Originating from the South African National Bioinformatics Institute at the University of the Western Cape, Hyrax Biosciences has developed a technology on AWS called Exatype that rapidly and accurately tests HIV and tuberculosis drug resistance.

“When we were developing Exatype, we naturally turned to AWS because it allows us to provide patients with secure, timely, and reliable results. We knew that with the ability to quickly scale up our technology on AWS, our solution had the potential to influence the lives of millions of people,” said Professor Simon Travers, Co-Founder and CEO of Hyrax Biosciences.

“Currently 10 percent of patients on HIV antiretroviral treatment do not respond to the drugs provided to them because of drug resistance. The Exatype system solves this problem by showing clinicians which drugs would be most effective for each individual patient in order to increase their response and improve treatment. Traditionally, it can cost as much as $300 to $500 to do a single resistance test. Now, thanks to AWS, Exatype can do this at a fraction of the cost. HIV still affects millions of people, so knowing an AWS Region is coming to South Africa is great news as it will help us to speed up research and take us a step nearer to ensuring all HIV positive people get the standard of care they need.”

AWS also has a vibrant ecosystem in South Africa, including AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners that have built cloud practices and innovative technology solutions on AWS. APN Consulting and Technology Partners in South Africa helping customers to migrate to the cloud include Autumn Leaf, BBD, Dimension Data, EOH, First Distribution, Silicon Overdrive, Servol Software, Symbiotics, Synthesis Software Technologies, and others.

In the first half of 2020, Amazon Web Services will open an infrastructure region in South Africa that will consist of three Availability Zones.

Currently, AWS provides 55 Availability Zones across 19 infrastructure regions worldwide, with another 12 Availability Zones across four AWS Regions in Bahrain, Hong Kong SAR, Sweden, and a second GovCloud Region in the U.S. expected to come online in the coming months. For more information on AWS’s global infrastructure, click HERE .

“Having built the original version of Amazon EC2 in our Cape Town development center 14 years ago, and with thousands of African companies using AWS for years, we’ve been able to witness first-hand the technical talent and potential in Africa,” said Andy Jassy, CEO, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Technology has the opportunity to transform lives and economies across Africa and we’re excited about AWS and the Cloud being a meaningful part of that transformation.”

The new region is the latest in a series of AWS investments in South Africa. In 2004, Amazon opened a development centre in Cape Town that focuses on building pioneering networking technologies, next generation software for customer support, and the technology behind Amazon EC2. AWS has also built a number of local teams including account managers, customer services representatives, partner managers, solutions architects, and more to help customers of all sizes as they move to the cloud.

In 2015, AWS opened an office in Johannesburg, and in 2017 brought the Amazon Global Network to Africa through AWS Direct Connect. In May of 2018, AWS continued its investment in South Africa, launching infrastructure points of presence in Cape Town and Johannesburg, bringing Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, AWS Shield, and AWS WAF to the continent and adding to the 138 points of presence AWS has around the world.

The addition of the AWS Africa (Cape Town) Region will enable organizations to provide lower latency to end users across Sub-Saharan Africa and will enable more African organizations to leverage advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile services, and more to drive innovation. Local AWS customers will also be able to store their data in South Africa with the assurance that their content will not move without consent, while those looking to comply with the upcoming Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) will have access to secure infrastructure that meets the most rigorous international compliance standards.