image: guardian.ng

I arrived Abuja Airport (Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport) on Thursday and departed Abuja Airport today. How was that possible? Isn't the airport closed?

This past Friday and Saturday were the dates for our quarterly Excel and Business Data Analysis training in Abuja. So I had to pack my bag and training materials on Thursday, and head to Abuja. I had booked a 9:00am flight to Kaduna as the Abuja Airport is closed for runway repairs. As expected, Air Peace was on time.

I got to Kaduna by 10:15am. And there the surprise came. At the arrival wing of the airport, there were airport officials directing us to free buses to Abuja. The Federal Government has provided buses to convey passengers freely from Kaduna to Abuja and vice-versa.

The only issue is that the buses will take you from Kaduna Airport straight to Abuja Airport, no stop along the way and accompanied by a Police escort van. Also they've been ordered to drive annoyingly slow.

In effect, I got to Abuja Airport on Thursday.

After the training class on Friday and Saturday, I had to catch my return flight today in Kaduna. I took a cab to Abuja Airport, went to the departure wing and just as if I was going to board a plane, my luggage was scanned. Only different bit was there were no airline ticketing stands but a bus stand where you write your name and flight details and are then directed to board the next available bus to Kaduna. Again, free of charge. With escort and driving at a speed that makes the two hours journey three hours.

The buses are from Chisco Transport Company. And they were just as comfortable as having a plane ride, if you ignore the speed which must have been a government directive. It made it obvious that our Igbo brothers are business geniuses.



I would want to encourage anyone wanting to buy a new car to check out Innoson. I am not saying this to give an emotional support for "Made In Nigeria" but because I have seen the high quality, almost non-Nigerian like, products/services our Igbo brothers create when they put their industrious mind to it.



image: mildredwarner.org

I spent a good part of Wednesday reading Development Economics by Professor Debraj Ray. Debraj Ray is one of the few scholars focusing on development economics. And development economics is the aspect of economics that analyses how developing countries are different and how they can achieve sustainable economic development that will catapult them into the developed countries category.



His book was a huge eye opening for me on why Nigeria is where it is today and what are the most important issues for us to tackle if we want to transition from a low-income developing country into a high-income developed country status.

He carefully explained that the biggest problems developing countries have are weak systems -- political, market and infrastructural. That this lack of systems set off a vicious cycle that create inefficiencies and a wide gap between the have's and have not's.

That the absence of a strong independent legal system put justice out of reach of the common man and undermines the police system. People would rather sort out their issues in crude ways than let the police and legal systems be involved.

That the absence of credit markets, developed insurance markets and commodity markets create an inefficient agricultural sector where there is a very wide gap between what farmers make and what consumers pay at the final consumption end. This limits the transitioning of the subsistence farmer to a bigger and mechanized farmer as he is left with barely enough profit to cater for his family let alone acquire more land and high-tech equipment.

And the pattern continues through the health sector, financial sector, education sector and other critical sectors of the economy.

Without strong systems developing nations get stuck.

Culled from: http://registration.global-solutions.international/scholarship/scholarship-application

Apply at: http://registration.global-solutions.international/scholarship/scholarship-application

Application for the Young Global Changers Scholarship Programme


Are you an early-career researcher, entrepreneur, technology expert or journalist passionate about changing the state of the world for the better? Have you already developed tools, insights or mechanisms that address global issues and help to improve people’s lives?
Then you might be a Young Global Changer – and this scholarship is just right for you! Come to Berlin from 28 – 31 May 2017, attend the Think 20 Summit GLOBAL SOLUTIONS and share your work, thoughts and ideas with great minds from think tanks, business, politics and civil society.
In order to be eligible, your focus of interest should fit into one or several of the overarching topics of the Think 20 Summit GLOBAL SOLUTIONS.

Benefits of the programme:

-    Travel to Berlin and attend the Think 20 Summit GLOBAL SOLUTIONS from 28 – 31 May 2017. Accommodation will be provided and scholarship holders will receive a lump-sum to cover travel expenses
-    Become part of the G20 process and engage in the development of powerful narratives for one or more of the GLOBAL SOLUTIONS of the Conference
-    Meet Nobel Laureates and pitch your ideas to world renowned thinkers
-    Take part in dedicated Young Global Changers events on 28 and 31 May 2017
-    Link up with outstanding Berlin-based initiatives, entrepreneurs and scientists on a guided tour through Berlin
-    Become part of an exclusive network of like-minded Young Global Changers and build long-lasting relationships
-    Get access to quality journalism and receive a free subscription to Berlins leading newspaper in either German or English

Is a Young Global Changers Scholarship right for me?

Applicants must fit the following profile:
-    Early-career researcher, entrepreneur, technology expert or journalist/blogger
-    Able to attend the Think 20 Summit GLOBAL SOLUTIONS and dedicated Young Global Changers activities from 28 – 31 May 2017
-    Working on an idea or a specific project that you believe can change the world – or at least parts of it
-    Able to pitch your idea or project (in English) to a high-level audience
-    Willing to actively engage in creating a sustainable narrative for one of the GLOBAL SOLUTIONS that will be developed during the Conference

How to apply:

-    Please fill in the application form below (in English) and upload your CV and a short project or research description of max. 350 words
-    Tell us how and why this idea, project or initiative contributes to a better world and which specific topic of the GLOBAL SOLUTIONS Conference it addresses
-    Tell us why you want to be a Young Global Changer
-    If you are applying for the journalist programme, please submit two work samples. If work samples are not available in English, please submit a brief abstract in English with corresponding links to the original source
R is, arguably, the world's most popular programming language for data analysis. It is an adaptation of S language developed by Bells Laboratories strictly for statistics and data analysis. S language became very popular and R grew out of it as the open-source implementation of S language in August 1993.

The popularity of R is due to its open-source nature and the huge community contributing packages to it that handle all types of common data analysis work. You can read more about R at http://www.r-project.org/ and a more detailed history of R at http://www.r-project.org/about.html

Python, on the other hand, is a general purpose programming language. It is used for all types of programming from building websites (web applications) to computer programs and data analysis. It was created by Guido van Rossum in 1991. It is also an open-source language, benefiting hugely from a large community actively contributing to it. You can read more about Python at https://www.python.org/about/ 


image: medium.com

R and Python are the two most popular languages for data analysis. And anyone serious in becoming a data scientist must be proficient in at least one of the two. I recommend that you have average knowledge in both and then become an expert in one.

Both languages have libraries. More often called packages in R. They are already built algorithms that help you achieve specific tasks. More like Excel formulas, though way more robust in nature. You load them into your R or Python work space and can access the functions they provide.

A common need you will encounter is creating graphs/charts. In R, the most commonly used package for that is ggplot2 and in Python you would use Matplotlib.

To start using R and Python, you will need to install them. 

For R, you can download R at https://cran.r-project.org/ and it is recommended to install RStudio to make using R enjoyable. RStudio is an IDE (integrated development environment) and can be installed at https://www.rstudio.com/  With those two installations, you are set to begin analysing data with R. And they work whether you have a Windows PC, or Mac or Linux.

For Python, it is recommended that you download Anaconda at https://www.continuum.io/downloads. It is regarded as the best distribution of Python for data analysis work. And as for an IDE to use, there is no obvious best as RStudio is for R. Some people are a die-hard fan of Jupyter Notebook (formerly IPython Notebook), luckily it comes pre-installed with Anaconda. Others love Spyder (again, comes pre-installed with Anaconda). And there is PyCharm, you will have to install that at https://www.jetbrains.com/pycharm/. For this training series, I will be using Rodeo downloadable at https://www.yhat.com/products/rodeo, it is an RStudio lookalike. That way you won't have to stress yourself too much in getting used to the IDEs. Once you become familiar with RStudio, you will become more comfortable with Rodeo and vice-versa.

In the next sections we will dig deeper into carrying out simple data analysis tasks in both R and Python.

If I was the photo type, I would be bombing you today with pictures of me as a guest lecturer at Lagos Business School, taking the Executive MBA students on ___ Wanna take a guess? Try your luck!

image: hotels.ng

I managed to go thoroughly out of scope of their syllabus for the module I guest lectured on, but they were roundly impressed and happy. They kept clapping for me after my session, I thought they were just been courteous. Then after another session with a separate batch, it became obvious that they were genuinely clapping in appreciation. My host had to make them stop clapping, and they resumed after a while.

It was a very pleasant experience for me. And they have requested I come back again and again. I will try to play hard to catch, learned that from the ladies. They were a very pleasant audience. Gave me attention like they paid me directly and needed value for their money ('cos that's usually why my training participants give me rapt attention).

I had better start pitching Harvard Business School for guest lecturing slot. What have I to lose? I might even gain a nice "get lost" reply. It will do me some good, too much praises isn't very good. One need to find some disappointment to balance it all.

You asked and I have delivered. And I want to say a big thanks to everyone who kept asking and nudging me do to this -- I am happy to say its done.

Everyday, it automatically updates with the close of trading day price (for now set to 12 midnight, will adjust to late afternoon). It also shows the historical price from as far back as year 2002. That is something you won't get on any other platform for free. And the best part is that it is very interactive, I built it more like I do dashboards for very high paying clients.

It also allows you to compare the important financial statement lines of the stocks you are interested in: from Revenue, Net Profit, Return on Equity, Return on Assets, Total Assets, Gross Margin, Cashflow from Operations, Cashflow from Financing, Cashflow from Investing, Net Cash Flow, Current Assets, Current Liabilities to Total Liabilities.
And all very visual.
It has a scroll bar that shows you the latest closing price of all the stocks.
At the backend, I have a program that populates an Azure SQL database table with the closing prices for the stocks. I already have a stockpile of the annual reports of the companies from as far back as 2001 (you can check them out and download for free at https://www.slideshare.net/olafusimichael/presentations). Each year, I update the financial statement metrics from the Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow.

Important Notice

Due to the hard work involved, I only cover the most active stocks on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. If there is any you would like to see that isn't there, do let me know and I may include it. Also there is an error in the Total Assets and Total Equities line for a couple of the bank stocks, I am working on making the correction. Other than that, all is working great (hopefully) and I use it for my own stock analysis. And that is the big edge, it is like I am sharing my quantitative stock analysis model with you all for free and in a very beautiful (to see and use) dashboard.
There are no 2016 financial metrics in yet. I am still gathering all the 2016 annual reports. Some companies have made theirs available online in the last two weeks, some are yet to. Maybe I won't wait till I have them all before I start the financial metrics extraction. I have already gotten for GTBank, First Bank, Total Nigeria, Access Bank, Dangote Cement, Cadbury, PZ and a few other companies.
The whole set-up (programming, hosting, virtual machine, SQL server etc) costs me money and I often pay freelance finance analysts to help share the work of extracting the data from the PDF annual reports into our standardized model. One day, I will put a door that opens only to paid subscription in front of it. So enjoy while its free!


There is a lot of textbook arguments on Excel vs Python vs R. In fact, a few weeks back I used to be part of that argument. I took sides with Excel. And I had my solid reasons.

But now I don't take sides anymore. I focus on a bigger picture, a picture I became aware of only after I transitioned for reading textbooks and doing video tutorials on Python and R to carrying out live interesting projects with them.

In this webinar I will be sharing my experience on using them all and what practical insight you too need to have to move from those textbook arguments to seeing the big picture. And most importantly, I will be showing you that big picture.

You shouldn't miss this webinar.

Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Date: Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Venue: YouTube Live

You should set it up in your calendar with reminders so you won't miss this special edition.

See you!
image: zinpropertysolutions.com
If you live in Nigeria and earn your income in Naira, one big enemy you have is inflation. What one million naira bought five years ago now sells for two million naira. But the same one million naira left in a regular Nigerian bank savings account for the last five years will be about 1,174,000 naira.

And it gets worse when you project this over 20 or 30 years. You retire and find that your retirement savings which is 20% of your salary all throughout your 35 years of active work is now not enough to enjoy a comfortable life after retirement. Inflation has laid its corrosive hands on it.



Nigeria Inflation Rate from 2007 to 2017 (source, Bloomberg)
It is against that backdrop of high inflation rate and almost forever weakening Naira that I have carefully thought out my investment strategy.

When I began my investment journey, I made the classic mistake of thinking that what applied in the US markets, upon which all the investment books I read were built on, directly applied to the Nigerian markets. I even took seriously Jim Cramer's advice, in Jim Cramer's Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World, on how to time the market by analysing trends and technical signals. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Phil Town's Rule #1. I read many other popular books on investing.


They gave me a lot of theoretical knowledge and real-world use cases but no practical result. I couldn't apply most of what I learned due to the under-developed nature of our financial markets and the huge information asymmetry. Ultimately, I had more losses than gain until I changed my perspective.


For a global investor, Nigeria is a frontier market. One you don't put all your investments in except you are a private equity fund manager with focus on frontier markets. And I have just as much return expectation from my investments as any global investor would. Why then should I put all my investment in the highly volatile Nigerian financial markets?


The moment I took on the perspective of a global investor, I began using an asset class investment strategy. I invest in US markets, hedging both my inflation and weakening Naira risks. I switch between stocks, bonds and Gold depending on which is relatively undervalued. Currently US stocks are overvalued and trading at historical high P/E ratios. Last year December, I moved out of US stocks into bonds and emerging market index fund. Some analysts say it is more advisable to move to Gold rather than bond as the US interest rate hikes will damage bonds. That would be valid if I was buying long term bonds.


Then I have the remainder of my investments in the Nigerian markets, between our stocks and the money market. Currently, I am 95% stocks versus 5% money market for that remainder. The reason is that stocks are hugely undervalued. I don't mind losing out of the high return rates on the money market, I will patiently wait for the rally in the stocks market.


And as per the stocks I am invested in, besides the money I have in ARM Discovery Fund which I opened in my early investing days and occasionally keep funding due to the better-than-peers returns they make, I am invested in three companies on the Nigerian stock exchange (NSE): Nestle, First Bank and Mobil. I avoid companies with low trading volumes or in the penny-stock category and focus on the market leaders in non-correlated industries.

Why Nestle?
Nestle has the best fundamentals of all the major manufacturing companies in Nigeria. 

Up until the FX issue affected its profit last year, it was the perfect company for a long term investor. Now it is highly priced (has one of the highest PE) but it is due to an exceptional issue so I am not perturbed. Also I have the institutional wind in my favour, going through all the foreign Exchange Traded Funds with investments in the NSE, the only companies I have seen them invest in besides the banks are Nigerian Breweries, Dangote Cement and Nestle.


Why Mobil?
The downstream oil sector has historically proven to be inflation proof and, more recently, recession proof. The industry has been growing with the increased economic activities (GDP) over the years. It is the only industry that didn't get bashed seriously by the NSE crash (2008 till now).

I had made up my mind to invest in the best in the industry. Two companies were heads and shoulders above the others: Total Nigeria and Mobil Nigeria. Total is bigger by revenue. I went with Mobil because Mobil had the best fundamentals. Best ROI and most efficient in the industry. It is the GTBank of the Oil industry. Luckily, NIPCO acquired it and lead to a good bump in its price. Now it may not be attractively priced compared to Total.


Why First Bank?
This was a tough investment choice. GTBank has all the fundamentals and investors' love. However, the things about the banking and finance industry is that total assets is the strongest metric. Not even profit. The industry is so regulated that there is very little creative exploits Nigerian banks are allowed to make. The biggest differentiator in the long-run is total assets available to play with. And First Bank is the biggest bank in Nigeria by assets.

Unfortunately, it seems most investors are not factoring that in and have greatly discounted the oil industry loan exposure of the bank and other recent happenings that are temporary to bring very low the bank's share price. I bought it mainly because it gives the most potential value among the big four banks. I avoid industry minor players.

image: britishcouncil.org
All culled from: https://www.britishcouncil.org/future-leaders-connect/about

Apply at: https://www.britishcouncil.org/future-leaders-connect/apply

Future Leaders Connect offers its members the opportunity to be part of a long-term worldwide network of emerging policy leaders. You will have the chance to discuss some of the biggest global policy issues in the Houses of Parliament in London, develop your leadership skills, learn from inspirational policy leaders and make positive policy change in your country and beyond.

CONNECT TO A RESIDENTIAL PROGRAMME OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

You will take part in a residential development programme over a number of days. Based at a world class dedicated residential leadership development and conference centre, The Møller Centre at Churchill College in Cambridge. Here you will enhance your existing leadership skills and learn policy making best practice. Working as an international group, together you will combine your individual expertise to collectively address some of the world’s greatest global challenges.
Additionally, during your stay in the UK, you will have the opportunity to meet and engage with UK Parliamentarians, visit world leading institutions and attend private meetings with inspiring leaders and policymakers.

CONNECT TO THE UK HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT 

Finally your visit will end with a one-day immersive conference in the UK Houses of Parliament themed Fast Forward: Preparing for the World Ahead of Us. The conference will be an interactive day of discussions and debates with UK Parliamentarians addressing some of the world’s most urgent issues.

CONNECT TO A LONG-TERM NETWORK OF EMERGING LEADERS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

You will stay actively connected to the network once you return home, taking advantage of opportunities to further develop your skills and to share and learn from your peers across the global network.

BECOMING A MEMBER OF FUTURE LEADERS CONNECT

Why should you apply to become a member of the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect?
  • Become a member of a long-term network, connecting with other future leaders from across the world
  • Access to a nine day programme of leadership and policy skill development
  • Enhance your professional development
  • Opportunity to have your voice and ideas heard in the UK Houses of Parliament
  • Attend private meetings with some of the UK’s most senior leaders
  • Visit world famous leadership institutions
  • Learn from senior policy experts and campaigners
  • Access to future opportunities from the British Council
Each year we will recruit more members for Future Leaders Connect. In 2017 there are 50 spaces available. This year we will welcome applicants from the following countries; Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, and the UK.
Although India and Egypt are taking part in the programme they are not taking part in the open call. Applications from these two countries may have a different eligibility criteria and application process.


Next week, we will be holding our special Business Data Analysis and In-depth Excel training in Abuja. If you are interested or know someone who is, registration inquiries are best sent to my email, mike@urbizedge.com. If you prefer phone calls, with some luck, I can be reached at 0808-938-2423.

The outline is as follows:

1) Data Manipulation in Excel 
We’ll show you, from a consultant expertise level, how to manipulate data in Excel. From data preparation/cleaning to data formatting the professional way. We’ll cover both the science and the art of data manipulation in Excel, and share very useful keyboard shortcuts and expert tricks that will speed up your productivity in Excel.

2) Data Visualization and Presentation in Excel 
A picture is worth a thousand words. And in the business world, it is often the only way to not bore your audience and pass the valuable message you’ve uncovered in your data analysis. We will teach you the foundations of data visualization – from the different types of charts to when to use each of them. Then we will work through business samples to learn the art part of doing data visualization right. You will learn the rules of business data reporting via charts and gain from our industry wealth of consulting for businesses in this vital area.

3) Large Data Analysis: Pivot Table, Pivot Chart and PowerPivot 
You should never say you know Excel if you don’t know how to use Pivot Table. It is that important. It is Excel’s premium tool for analysing large data – sales data, inventory data, HR data, transaction data and most business operations data. We are going to cover from the basics to the very advanced use of Pivot Tables. We will show you how to create dynamic reports with Pivot Table; how to overcome some of its layout issues; how to turn off the distracting controls in your final report; how to create calculated fields; how to create Pivot Charts; and the special tricks only a full-time Excel consultant can show youthat will turbo-charge you Pivot Table skills. Then we’ll show you how we analyse data of up to (and even above) 30 million rows in Excel. Yes, in Excel. Heard of PowerPivot?

4) Business Data Analysis 
In this section, we teach you the secrets that separate the analysis experts from the people with head/academic knowledge Excel. It is one thing to know the different tools in Excel and it is another completely different thing to know how to expertly mix them together to creatively deliver value at high speed. As full-time Excel chef, we will show you the secret ingredients that make companies consult us even when they have Excel super users in their organization.

5) Executive Dashboards and Reporting 
This is the level self-knowledge will not get you to. How do you create an uncrowded insightful visualization for a report with 37 rows? Then how about for your sales analysis report of many rows and columns? How do you show the different interactions in your data? In short, how do you bring your data to life and take it from a boring confusing mass of text to an interactive exciting visualization? You have to come to get the answers.

6) Excel to PowerPoint 
Management level reports are best presented in PowerPoint. When you’ve got a delicate story to tell, you have to guide your audience through a one idea/insight a slide PowerPoint. We won’t teach you how to design slides but we will teach you how to make your chart slides speak very loud. You will also learn the tricks of linking your PowerPoint charts to Excel. It will help cut down the hours you spend on weekly/monthly PowerPoint reports. We will also show you how to embed Excel files in your PowerPoint slide. No more sending separate Excel files when you can embed them right on the very slide you reference their data.

7) Excel VBA 
Forget about all you’ve heard about Macros or VBA. Let’s show you how easy and exciting it is to break into the Excel VBA world.
image: amazon.com
Ever caught an unreasonable feeling to buy something? Well, today, I had one such feeling. Nothing I did to resist it worked. Not even GTBank's restriction on my Naira MasterCard for international purchases cured me of the unreasonable feeling. After two hours of battle, I succumbed and used MallForAfrica to buy the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

image: amazon.com

I should get it in two to three weeks time.

In another news, totally unrelated to the Kindle fever, I am committing to a new business priority: productivising our services. I am going to scale down my non-scaleable activities. So, more no's to consulting projects till my new team is ready and yes to building new training contents.

I am currently focusing on building R and Python course contents -- text manuals, video tutorials and practice files/data. It is going to take a lot of upfront work and initial slow progress. I am willing to embrace the revenue sacrifice that will come with focusing more on it.

Last year opened my eyes to how easily I can become overwhelmed and the limitations I force on the business by trying to do everything myself and taking up too many one-off projects. This year I am working on fixing those issues.

I am glad that the team experiment has begun. And I am sure that it will work out though I don't know the final form it would take in the end. I am glad that I have been lucky to have team members that accommodate my bad leadership skills and are pro-actively driving themselves to make the most of the current structure. God is very nice to waste on some of us the very gifts other more deserving people seek. I have people who are excellent team mates.

Finally, I would like to warn you that in a couple of weeks, or, hopefully, days, you will begin to see an increase in frequency of R and Python data analysis tutorials. You will be the first beneficiaries of my R and Python training classes.

I hope you stick with me through it all. Thanks!


There is a lot of textbook arguments on Excel vs Python vs R. In fact, a few weeks back I used to be part of that argument. I took sides with Excel. And I had my solid reasons.

But now I don't take sides anymore. I focus on a bigger picture, a picture I became aware of only after I transitioned for reading textbooks and doing video tutorials on Python and R to carrying out live interesting projects with them.

In this webinar I will be sharing my experience on using them all and what practical insight you too need to have to move from those textbook arguments to seeing the big picture. And most importantly, I will be showing you that big picture.

You shouldn't miss this webinar.

Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Date: Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Venue: YouTube Live

You should set it up in your calendar with reminders so you won't miss this special edition.

See you!
Today, I watched the movie Rush.

image: uphe.com

It is one of the most brilliant films I have watched this year. And surprisingly, it is a true life story. It is about two race car drivers who were Formula One rivals. They both were world champions but one was world champion longer. The reason? That one was in it for the long-term, he never let a single win get too much to his head while the other celebrated his only win as if it was everything.

I was greatly touched by lessons in that movie -- from being focused and in for the long run to having a good grasp of your field.

It taught me to stop envying the people whose success are quicker and bigger than mine. Rather I should never stop improving. Not that my aim should be to beat them or make every more successful young person a rival, but that it is all unnecessary sadness to envy people who will soon flame out. Not all young very successful people flame out, but most do. And as you can't know the seven out of the ten who will flame out, it's in your best interest and motivation to assume everyone will, including you if you don't put in extra-ordinary effort forever.

I learned to also never let the voice of passion override that of logic. What ever is logically better is better regardless of the emotions around. Never let your lifestyle balloon because of fashion or trend or what people will say.

Finally, it reinforced my belief that in the end what will separate us all is consistent results. There will be two camps: those who keep talking about the good old days and those who keeping making history. I want to be in the later camp.

What about you?
Today, I woke up to a good news. Microsoft approved my "Nigerian Market Data" Excel App.




So it is now globally available via the Office App store. If you use Excel 2016 or Excel Online, you can install and try out the app.

Below are the installation steps for Excel 2016.



And if you use Excel online:


Upon successful installation, you will find the add-in under the Home menu as the last item on the right.



It is the first version and I plan to radically improve its design and add to the functionality. You can help shape future updates by installing it, using it and letting me know your feedback.

Thanks!
image: pacetv.ng

Last week, I joined the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS). I can now add the MNCS acronym to my name. Unfortunately, it was not enough to register with Federal Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC). They would only accept membership of a professional body that is backed by a Federal Government Act. Not even my telling them that I found NCS on their registration page online as part of the professional bodies to join as requirement for registering with FRC changed anything in my favour.

They coldly told me to go join CPN or NIM. CPN is like the COREN for computer professionals and it stands for Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria. NIM is Nigerian Institute of Management.

I gave gave them both a call. Took a lot of online digging around to find phone numbers to call that got through and got picked. The CPN folks were more direct: "N10,000 for form. N80,000 for some training program and N97,000 for induction conference." The NIM folks were less transparent: "Just go pay for the form and we will evaluate what category you fall under and whether you would need to do an exam or not." All my "how much" questions got dribbled.

So I decided to go with CPN. The fees are unreasonably high to me but it seems like a general thing among all the bodies that have an enabling Act. And when you compare their requirements with that of ICAN and COREN, they look like a bargain. I have already paid for the form, filled it and would be going to submit it tomorrow. It is a burden the law has saddled us with.

Now I know why they say running a business is not cheap. There are too many overheads. Rent, tax, regulatory fees, annual fillings, and now professional bodies registration and annual fees. Next time someone prices our services ridiculously low, I am officially going to flare up.

I am still battling the tax people. They don't want to agree that we made operational losses in the first two years of our business. It's really difficult for people who have not run a business before to understand that there is an ocean of difference between revenue and profit. I had to pour my life savings into the business in the first year and put back a large portion of salary due me back into the business in the second year. It was last year that the business generated net profit. But for them, it is "you can't tell me that you are not making money.". Are we CBN? And is revenue same as profit? I think they should all take a foundational course on business finance.

Anyway, I have kickstarted the FRC registration. I had to beg them to give me more time to register with CPN. They suggested I hold off the registration till I had registered with the appropriate professional body but I knew better with government agencies. The song changes super fast. If they told me that what I read on their website is not valid, I can be sure that my registration fee would soon be invalid if I hold off submission of the forms till I get CPN registration.

I have already spent about N38,500 to join NCS. Spent N10,000 on FRC registration form. Spent another N10,000 on CPN registration form. NCS still requires me to pay some N50,000 soon for the induction conference in Abuja. And since I am expected to be there in person and for five days, I can add the airfare to Abuja and hotel and feeding cost to that bill. Then CPN is expecting me to fork out N177,000 more. I only hope that their own induction conference would hold in Lagos.

I am almost tempted to say it's a crazy world for entrepreneurs.