FG Pledges Support for Omatek to Reduce Power Consumption by 85%

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Emma Okonji

The federal government has expressed its determination to collaborate with Omatek Ventures to maximise power by reducing consumption rate by 85 per cent.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu made the pledge when he visited the production factory of Omatek in Lagos yesterday.

According to the Minister, Nigeria has more population than South Africa, yet it generates less electricity than South Africa. He explained that for government to provide enough electricity for Nigerians, it (government) must first reduce its power consumption in order to save power that could be used by other Nigerians.

“I am impressed that Omatek has ventured into solar energy and its factory is producing and installing solar energy with light emitting diodes (LED) bulbs that reduce power consumption by as much as 85 per cent. The federal government will support Omatek on this project to ensure that enough power is saved for onward distribution to the growing population of Nigeria, since our power generation has dropped” Ogbonnaya said.

He added: “Omatek needs the support of government in the area of science and technology because no nation has ever been truly great in the world without science and technology. Nigeria should aspire to be a truly great nation in technology innovation in the world. The challenge with Nigeria is that government has neglected the importance of Science and Technology in nation building for too long,” the Minister said.

He called on Nigerians and government agencies to patronise local products from Omatek and other Nigerian companies that are into local production. “No nation has ever succeeded by not looking inward. Every great nation has looked inward to patronise their locally-developed technological innovations and other products and as such, Nigeria is looking towards that direction as well towards encouraging patronage of locally-developed products,” the Minister said.

He however, identified lack of funding and effective coordination as bane of technological development in Nigeria, stressing that the current administration is keen in ensuring that it deepens research and development that would unlock the nation’s economy prosperity through effective partnership with indigenous players in the industry.

Having been in existence for almost 30 years, Omatek has diversified its operations from just manufacturing computer devices to venturing into the manufacturing of solar and hybrid technology solutions and LED bulbs, designed to address the power vacuum in Nigeria.

While conducting the Minister, his entourage and other stakeholders on a tour of the different lines of production in the factory, the Group Managing Director of Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki, said while power generation and distribution have been a major issue in the country, leveraging solar power solutions would play a significant role in dealing with the issue of power vacuum in the country. Seriki told the Minister that the company has further expanded its investment in latest and modern solar factory in order to provide the assistance needed towards ensuring that the federal government delivers adequate power supply to Nigerians.

Explaining the readiness of Omatek to play a key role in the power provision for the country, Seriki demonstrated that the 50KVA three-phase off-grid solar solution commissioned earlier in its factory would provide a 24/7 power.

This, she said, will result in 85 per cent reduction in power consumption for factories, banks, telecoms firms, government and other organisations that require big solar power installations.
She said the Omatek Lagos factory currently assembles locally the 12watts, 20 watts, 500 watts power solutions.

NITDA, Nigerian Consulate in UAE Move to Boost Investment

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Nigeria foreign mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through its Consulate in Dubai have identified an Investment Information Helpdesk (IIH).
The IIH is a critical resource tool that can be used to help prospective offshore investors get adequate answers to their enquiries in real-time on how to invest in and enter Nigeria’s economy, particularly the ICT sector.

While comparing notes on fast-tracking the ease of doing business in Nigeria for foreign companies through the UAE, acting Director-General of the NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji,and the acting Nigeria Consul General, Dubai, UAE, Ambassador Babagana Wakil, both agreed that it was imperative to set up an IIH at the consulate in Dubai where prospective investors seeking answers on the entry requirements to doing technology related businesses in Nigeria could be quickly availed of such information directly from an equivalent IIH in NITDA, Abuja.

According to a statement, the officials agreed to engage the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and other related statutory bodies.

“Happily, most if not all of these bodies are already working as partners with the NITDA for the promotion of local content and investment opportunities for ICT in Nigeria,” Olatunji said during a recent working visit to the Consulate as part of Nigeria’s participation at the Gitex Technology Expo holding later this year in October 16- 20 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

“Nigeria’s participation in past Gitex expo has elicited a lot of interests and attention from prospective investors in the Middle East and Asia. They come here to the consulate to seek further clarifications on the ICT sector in Nigeria. As expected, we direct the questions to the Foreign Ministry.

“But we recognised that the ICT sector is highly dynamic and feeds on fast response. I believe there is an urgent need to have a quick response approach to these enquiries to assure the prospects that they are dealing with the right channel and that the country is ever ready to guide them,” Wakil explained

In response, Olatunji, said the NITDA considered an IIH both necessary and strategic at providing fast confidential assistance services as they relate to investment in Nigeria to prospective investors who come knocking at the embassy in Dubai particularly if such enquiries have to do with Nigeria’s IT sector.

“Part of the fallouts of our involvement in last year’s Gitex includes an ongoing partnership between Nigerian IT firms and their foreign counterparts. Those deals were arranged as a result of our participation in Gitex.

“This Information Helpdesk will therefore help to further extend the value of our outcome in participating in international investment related events such as this. I am happy that the foreign mission has agreed to work with us on this,” said Olatunji.
The Gitex Technology Expo is holding October 16- 20 at the Dubai World Trade Centre and is regarded as the 3rd largest of such expos in the world. More than 165, 000 trade visitors last year from over 115 countries.

Shopping Malls Construction on the Rise in Nigeria, South Africa on Decline

Construction of shopping malls in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is on the rise, while in South Africa development of new malls has tremendously declined.
Despite its large economy and high population – over 170 million people – the West African oil producing nation has lagged behind on the shopping mall construction craze that hit the continent over the last decade.

Nigeria has just a handful of formal shopping centers each with more than 10,000 square meters of leasable space. But that’s changing as several large malls are under construction.
The country has more than 100,000 square meters of leasable area in modern-format shopping centers and will be adding another 180,000 square meters of retail space by the end of 2016, according to a Broll Property Report.

By the end of last year, Nigeria had about a dozen Western-style shopping malls catering for people living in urban areas, The New York times reported.
Just last week a $50 million shopping mall was commissioned in Ikeja, Lagos, after the local government settled a dispute with residents of the area over the relocation of an open air market,Construction Review Online reported.

The emergence of malls — and mall culture — in Nigeria and other African nations like Kenya reflects broad trends on the continent, including a growing middle class with spending power.
But as Nigerian malls come online, in South Africa – the continents second largest economy and the most industrialized – the sector is facing an oversupply.

With over 2,000 malls and counting, the country has the seventh highest number of shopping centers in the world, covering over 23 million square meters — more than all the countries in Europe, according to Bloomberg.

South Africa has 60 percent of shops in the country in formal retail supermarkets, compared to just two percent of Nigeria’s, according to Ventures Africa.
Newer mall in South Afr

ica, like the recently opened Mall of Africa, are now diverting consumers from existing one and retailer are following them there. High street shops are also losing their clients as brand new shopping malls in smaller towns draw retail spending from street shops.

As a sub-sector, the retail segment of listed property in South Africa has outperformed all other asset classes over the last 10 years. But this could be could be coming to an end, according to Andrew Costa, the chief operating officer at Accelerate.

Costa told Construction Review Online that in 2015 South Africa’s retail sector adapted to lackluster consumption expenditure with retailers consolidating stores.
He explained that the longer-term retail sector in the country was also adapting to changing the retail patterns by introducing online shopping and a stronger emphasis by shoppers on better and convenient shopping.