Stakeholders worry as MDAs import software
Nigerian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector has continued to grow beyond bookmakers’ predictions. However, despite the high number of ICT professionals in Nigeria, adequate attention has not been given to the issue of developing and building local contents.
Recently, it was reported that some ministries will be spending a significant part of their budget on the importation of foreign software.This is amidst concerns over wastage and penchant for technology importation of locally available technologies.Worried stakeholders in the sector have urged the federal government to do everything in its powers to support local content in ICT.
Chris Uwaje, Director General, Delta State Innovation Hub, called on federal government to create national strategy on software development as well create a park where people can work and come out with productive output.He noted that Nigerian technology space is underfunded and unprotected and thereby urged the government to ensure that 10% of its national budget is earmarked for the development of ICT sector in the country.
He explained that local content development is a topical issue in the country, stressing that local content is when a product is developed in Nigeria by Nigerians or anywhere else in the world but the product does not require foreign remittance.Uwaje, commended Systemspecs for developing Treasury Single Account for the federal government, noting that they deserve national merit award for harmonizing government accounts into one.
He also called on government to build knowledge labs in our schools to ensure bottom up growth for our children in ICT development. Nodding in agreement, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, director general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), assured stakeholders at a recent event that his agency will encourage local software.
“I assure you that NITDA will do all it can within its powers to ensure no single kobo of the Federal Government will be spent on acquiring technology that local and capable alternatives exist.“We have charged our local content office (ONC) to continue to be vigilant in surveillance and to be agile in driving enforcement of the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT.
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