Global IT spending to grow 2.7 per cent in 2017
• Nigeria projects to spend $144b in three years
• Experts seek improved forex regime, economy
Worldwide Information Technology (IT) spending is projected to hit $3.5 trillion in 2017, a 2.7 per cent increase from 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. However, this growth rate is down from earlier projections of three per cent.
Research Vice President at Gartner, John-David Lovelock, observed that 2017 was poised to be a rebound year in IT spending, saying that some major trends have converged, including cloud, blockchain, digital business and artificial intelligence.
For more than a decade, global IT and business executives make use of these highly anticipated reports to recognise market opportunities and challenges, and base their critical business decisions on proven methodologies rather than guesswork.
“Normally, this would have pushed IT spending much higher than 2.7 percent growth. However, some of the political uncertainty in global markets has fostered a wait-and-see approach causing many enterprises to forestall IT investments,” Lovelock stated.
Already, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, had said that Nigeria was projected to spend about that $143.8 billion on ICT products and services by 2019.
Patanmi, who said locally manufactured or assembled computers represent less than eight per cent of all the computers used in the country, lamented that Nigeria loses about $2.8 billion yearly from the importation of ICT goods and services, including $1 billion spent yearly on software imports.
Therefore, Pantami called for private sector investment in the sector. “We strongly plead with our international manufacturers to domesticate their products in order to achieve a win-win relationship. The diversification of our economy has become imperative in the face of dwindling revenue from the oil sector.
“ICT provides a veritable option for diversifying our economy because it has the added advantage of being able to improve efficiency and enhance productivity in all the other sectors of the economy.”
Meanwhile, for the sector to play major role in the revival of the economy, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of New Horizon Systems Solutions, a Lagos- based ICT firm, Tim Akano, have canvassed improved foreign exchange regime in the country.
Teniola said the Dollar to Naira uncertainty has led to anxiety within the investment community, which also mean that foreign direct investment (FDI) needed to fund network expansion and capacity upgrades for members capital expenditure (CAPEX) programs have had to be put on ‘hold’.
“We need government to see that an enabling environment with clarity in policy formulation and execution that leads to transparency will encourage investors both domestic and foreign to bring funds to drive this expansion. Government needs to remove the fear, uncertainty and doubt that is prevailing in the economy in 2017 or there will be further contraction in the economy irrespective of crude oil prices on the global market.”
The ATCON president posited that until government allows telecommunication equipment to be on the preferred list of items that can access cheaper USD$ to the Naira, “it is hard to see where the further growth will come from in 2017.”
From Akano, taking the blood pressure of a patient is the first thing a doctor does when you get to the clinic, saying that this is because there is a one-to-one relationship between the amount of pressure in your veins and your overall wellbeing, the higher the blood pressure- the closer the patient is to hypertension, heart diseases, and ultimately, strokes. According to him, the same scenario is applicable to nation-states.
“As at today, Nigerian economy’s blood pressure test shows something like a systolic of 270 and a diastolic of 190, that is 270/190mm. With this level of stress, the Nigerian economy is dangerously regressing from hypertensive level, which is recession, to stroke level, which is depression.
“From depression, a partial or total paralysis, which causes destruction, is not impossible. In a word: Nigeria economy is on a life-support machine as we speak. Will it slip into coma? That is the question begging for answer and, therefore, to answer your question, all sectors of the economy, including ICT is being affected negatively as result of the recession. So, what I think is that there is a need for us to also put effectively leverage ICT to drive all sectors of the economy because it has become an enabler of any economic system and it will continue to be so,” he stated.
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