Nigeria 2017 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Adebola Akindele, Group Managing Director of Courteville Business Solutions Plc, on its AutoReg solution, its collaborations with the government, and solutions for the private sector.

Adebola Akindele
Adebola Akindele has extensive banking and audit experience spanning over 20 years across various banking institutions. In 2014, Akindele was awarded an honorary fellowship from Ravensbourne College, UK, for his outstanding impact on the educational system in Africa.

How has your AutoReg solution changed the situation for roads and traffic in Nigeria?

We launched our AutoReg vehicle solutions in 2007, and this was the first time a system was established in Nigeria to deliver a set of government objectives for vehicle control. It meant we were able to fully capture government revenue through vehicle taxes using an accountable and transparent process. The system delivered a robust and credible service for vehicle owners. This kind of system allows informed decisions to be made in structural planning to make wider aims easier to achieve. Prior to our involvement, the best registration process was in Lagos, but even there it took between two weeks and infinity to get vehicle licenses renewed. We wanted to achieve a reasonable and sustainable turn-around time. What we achieved was a maximum turn-around time of five minutes. In Lagos alone, from 36 processing outlets we created almost 1,000 within one year, as well as an online portal. We have transparency as well as access to reliable information about vehicle owners. Everyone is now comfortable with this system and Lagos State now collects more than five times the volume of collection when it was being manually operated. We have since introduced AutoReg into 25 states in Nigeria. Having this vehicle license registration process makes it impossible for stolen vehicles to be transferred to new owners.

What other solutions have you worked on in collaboration with the government to improve accountability, transparency, and security?

One of our other software solutions is the Regulated Products Administration & Management Solution, which was initially built for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC) System. The platform gives NAFDAC a platform for seamless approval of the sale of food, drugs, and other regulated products for sale in Nigeria. It used to take upward of nine months to get an approval, but now it can take less than a 90 days. This service was recently adjudged the best ICT solution by the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO).

What solutions do you offer to the private sector?

We are working in education with our P-SEAMS service offering. This is a tailored school management online solution that automates the administrative processes in a school with a unique feature that allows parents to monitor what is happening with their child's education. P-SEAMS also facilitates smart allocation of resources within a school. The Egole shopping e-commerce platform is another offering that is designed to address the critical challenges limiting the growth of SMEs, including the need for accountability and transparency in financial management. We initially designed SMELite in conjunction with a particular commercial bank that controls a major share of the banking market in Nigeria. Companies approach us for customized applications designed but our largest service is website hosting, design, development, and other such services under our Webpeople product. We have designed and developed over 2,000 websites along with hosting services over the past three to four years and we believe we are the largest provider of these services across West Africa. We design websites for as little as NGN15,000 including design, development, buying the domain name acquisition, and hosting for a year.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

We are positioning our systems, resources, and strategy to take advantage of 2017. The economy has come down and it is struggling to get back up again, but this is where we find opportunities. We have positioned our business so as not to be too affected by foreign exchange issues, materials and resources coming from abroad, and internal government policies. This means we can continue to expand. We are also hoping to strengthen our presence in economies outside Nigeria.