Stakeholders hinge fourth industrial revolution on local content development

Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu.

For Nigeria to partake fully in the next industrial revolution, which is the fourth, local content development must be a priority.This was the submission of stakeholders, who gathered at the weekend for the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) President’s Dinner.
With the theme: “Fourth Industrial Revolution-A Golden Opportunity,” stakeholders posited that Nigeria failed to achieve more in the last three industrial revolutions is no more news, “but the news now is what to be done to ensure we do not miss in the Fourth revolution, which is already at hand.”
Most of the speakers, including the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, pointed towards same direction, which is local content development.They said, enough of foreign dominance of Nigeria’s ICT sector!.Throwing the first salvo, the ISPON President, Olorogun James Emadoye, said the Institute believes that Nigeria can record some significant achievement in the world software business and global market, if Nigerians supported local content.
Emadoye said: “we must remove the conditional statement ‘if’, we must support local content, we must ensure that the letter and the spirit of Executive Orders 003 and 005 are brought to the fore, and remain our guiding principles in all our business transactions, in the overall interest of our national development.”
He decried the unquenchable preference for foreign goods and contractors, adding: “officials at all levels of government seem to believe that foreign products and personnel are always better than local ones.
“There was no plan on ground to gradually give a chance to local producers and contractors to improve on their skills. These depressing historical facts have continued over many decades. The recently signed Executive Orders by the President will finally begin to give local software industry and practitioners a chance to improve their skills and products with minimal stifling competition from foreign firms.”
According to him, there should be equitable conditions if the foreign giants want to work with indigenous players, and harped on the need for the Federal Government to expedite action on the implementation and enforcement of the various executive orders on local content.
He said the advancement of Nigerian local content in software development, contracts, science, and overall ICT space was essential yesterday, germane today, and will remain an indispensable factor in Nigeria’s history, “if we are to change the current reality where Nigeria is recorded amongst the poorest nations of the world.
“The most important resource in any endeavour has been widely recognised as the human resource. Every other resource, processes or even automation, in most cases, are objects that are under human control.“We cannot thank God enough that he has endowed us with smart, strong and enterprising people. Other nations are looking for Nigerians in every sphere of human endeavour to help build their system.
“Nigerians are doing exploits in every nook and cranny of the world, which of course has become a global village without boundaries, made possible by technology of which software is the domain,” he said.
Emadoye also called on Government to enthrone a National Software Policy Strategy and related Legislation, and indeed, all well-meaning Nigerians to give the country a chance to develop for the sake of our children and the generation unborn.
“We just cannot continue the same ways that have failed us. It is time we changed our ways. Software-Nigeria is the sustainable way forward for our national accelerated development in the knowledge economy, which is currently driving the 4th industrial revolution,” he said.
President and Chairman-in-Council, Computer Professional (Registration Council of Nigeria) (CPN), Prof. Charles Uwadia, argued that software is at the heart of Information Technology and computing, and that implementation of local content policy is very import because, “it is about the future of our children. If we don’t implement it, we will continue to have brain drain in the country.”
President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, noted that software is going to rule the world, and to this end, government should create enabling environment for people to go into software development.
“Software development will help to solve unemployment in the country,” he added.From his perspective, the President Association, Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, stressed the need for more collaboration among industry bodies.He said the software market is still dominated by foreign countries, adding, “if we must play big in the next industrial revolution, there must be a conducive environment and priority must be accorded indigenous operators.”He called on ISPON to work with ATCON so as to be able to move the industry forward.

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