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Google Unveils Paid offering For Gmail Users, Two Other Things And A Trivia

This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today.

1. Google unveils paid offering for Gmail users

Tech giant, Google has unveiled a paid offering targeting small business owners.

The new offering comes as an upgrade to their Gmail accounts for greater calendaring, video chat and email newsletter functionalities.

According to the tech company, Google Workspace Individual, for instance, starts at $7.99 monthly and will include a temporary $2 discount.

The development also adds to the company’s expanding efforts to have users subscribe to some of its services such as YouTube and Google Photos in exchange for more support and features than are available for free.

Should Google record massive success in this new front, the subscription sales would help Google grow revenue beyond advertising.

Workspace Individual is, however, expected to launch soon in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Japan.


Tech Trivia: What does PDF stand for?

A. Portable Document Format
B. Printable Document Format
C. Perfect Document Format
D. Powerful Document Format

Answer: See end of post.

2. Kenyan Sky Garden secures $4m Series A funding round

Kenyan e-commerce startup Sky Garden has announced securing a US$4 million round in Series A funding.

Sky Garden was launched in May 2017, and the new founding is expected to see it accelerate its growth.

The startup, since inception has operated as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for mobile commerce built specifically for African businesses.

According to local media, its easy-to-use online marketplace allows informal traders, SMEs and established businesses to sell their products.

Earlier in 2018, Sky Garden raised a US$1.2 million seed funding round.

The new raiser totalling US$4 million in capital comes as a Series A round featuring SANAD Fund for MSME, Aavishkaar, UNCOVERED FUND and KSK Angel Fund, the latter founded by Japanese former AC Milan footballer Keisuke Honda.

3. Egyptian matchmaking app Hawaya hits 4m user milestone

After expanding to 12 other countries, Egypt-based matchmaking app, Hawaya, has hit the four million user milestone.

With a vision to use technology to enhance traditional matchmaking process, the startup was founded in April 2017 by Sameh Saleh, Shaymaa Ali, Tamer Saleh and Aly Khaled.

Barely four years later, Hawaya has quickly grown in popularity, and has already facilitated more than 18,000 marriages across the world.

Recently, the startup launched a new version of its app with new features.

Some of the countries where the startup currently operates include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as France, Germany, the United Kingdom (UK), Indonesia, Malaysia, the United States (US), and Canada.

Saleh, who spoke on the venture, explained that the goal was to help singles find love through social interactions on the app.

He said: “Through innovation, tech, and cultural respect, Hawaya prides itself to be a progressive app that aims to destigmatise the taboo of online matchmaking, and empowering women to take their time and spark a real connection with the love of their lives.

“It does that by removing the pressure to settle down quickly with someone unsuitable and by offering a platform where real singles can start real love stories, based on serious intentions and commitment.”

Tech Trivia Answer: Portable Document Format

Portable Document Format (PDF), standardized as ISO 32000, is a file format developed by Adobe in 1993 to present documents, including text formatting and images.

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Bauchi pays N3.418bn in outstanding gratuities

The Bauchi State Pensions Board has announced that, from May 2019 to date, the state government has paid N3,418,288,11.68 in outstanding gratuities owed to retired civil servants.

The Chairman of the Board, Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, made the disclosure at the ongoing ministerial press briefing in Bauchi, held at the State Secretariat.

Although Senator Kariya did not specify the total gratuity backlog, he noted that it exceeds N20 billion.

He stated that since the inception of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration in 2019, a total of 4,273 people have retired, and 677 have died while in service, out of 4,948 files processed.

“The Board processes the files of civil servants due for retirement. We are the custodians of the processed files of all state civil servants who have retired,” the chairman stated.

Senator Adamu, however, said that in order to avoid further accumulation of pension and gratuity liabilities, the state government intends to commence the implementation of the proposed contributory pension scheme on June 30, 2021.

“As a sign of commitment, His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, appointed a 20-member committee, including a staff member of Messrs Premium Pension Ltd for technical guidance under the chairmanship of Mr. Abdon Dalla Gin (Special Adviser on Civil Service Matters).”

“In line with the Terms of Reference to the Committee, a final report with a draft bill has been carefully produced, tapping from the 2004 Act, 2014 revised Act, and previous efforts of successive state administrations like the 2005 and 2017 draft bills, and was presented to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, as appropriate.”

He recalled that Governor Bala Mohammed had presented the report to the State Executive Council for consideration and approval, following which a draft bill was forwarded to the State House of Assembly for further legislative process in line with the laid down constitutional procedure.

“After gathering the necessary stakeholders’ input, the State House of Assembly then ratified the draft and returned the same to the Executive Governor for assent. Consequently, on August 5, 2022, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, assented to the bill enacted by the State House of Assembly.”

“It was named the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme. The law also provided for the establishment of the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Commission.”

“The state governor approved the constitution of another high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, the Secretary to the State Government, to facilitate the full implementation process of the new scheme in the state.”

Kariya further explained that prior to this development, the state government appointed two firms of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), who have now engaged stakeholders in a massive sensitization, advocacy, and enlightenment of the scheme across the state.

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Two-storey building collapses in Abuja

A two-storey residential building in Phase 2, site 2, Kubwa Abuja has collapsed

The building collapsed on Saturday morning at about 7:00am.

It was learnt that the building was formerly a hotel, Al-Hilal, but was converted to a residential apartment.

It was gathered that several people are currently trapped in the rubble.

As at time of filing this report, emergency responders and security personnel were at the scene.

 

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Police to enforce e-CMR compliance from July 29

The Nigeria Police Force have given all motor users 14 days to register their vehicles with the newly-introduced digitalized Central Motor Registration (e-CMR), which will end on July 29, to begin the enforcement of its compliance in order to checkmate the rate of vehicle-related crimes and other offenses.

In a press release, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, informed that the move is part of the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to enhance the security of lives and property and significantly boost the nation’s safety.

The release further stated that the exercise is an advanced form of helping security agencies, mostly the Police Force, in their investigations and operational activities to combat vehicle-related crimes, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and other social vices.

It also stated that the introduction of the e-CMR digitalized system will help streamline the documentation and verification process for vehicle ownership and related transactions.

“Following the directives of the IGP, services such as change of ownership, change of license number, change of engine, and change of chassis/body would become seamless as the e-CMR system would ensure the validation of vehicle genuineness and ownership, enhancing the ability to track and recover stolen vehicles effectively, and preventing the purchase of stolen vehicles by innocent buyers.

“Prior to the enforcement itself, the IGP has ordered full publicity of the e-CMR and its enforcement to all members of the public, intimating them of the requirements, processes, and the enforcement procedures. Members of the public are urged to obtain the digitalized CMR certificate online at https://cmris.npf.gov.ng.

‘For further inquiries, individuals can contact the CMR Command Centre at FHQ Abuja (08117777666, 09169892000) and FHQ Annex Lagos (08117777555, 09169891000). Technical support is also available at cmftech@npfcmr.ng,” the release partly stated.

Following this new development, the Nigeria Police have enjoined members of the public to participate in the exercise by ensuring that all vehicle users comply with the new directive, maintaining that the initiative, which is in line with modern technology, remains a strategic approach to enhance public safety and national security.

ACP Adejobi further stated that the enforcement of the e-CMR is necessary to ensure a safer and more secure environment for vehicle ownership and to decimate the trend of vehicle theft by greatly reducing the possibility of selling stolen vehicles in the country.

“We therefore urge all vehicle owners and users to embrace and participate in this initiative promptly for optimum safety and security,” he stated.

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