The Federal Government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (Nitda), a parastatal of the Ministry of Communication Technology is set to enforce the use of Made-in-Nigeria IT products by government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Mr. Inye Kemabonta, Director, Standards and Regulation, Nitda said the agency was working through the National Technical Committee (NTC) on IT Standards to ensure that made-in-Nigeria IT products meet global standards and that Nigerians would have no more excuse not to patronise made-in Nigeria products.
The committee would also consolidate the Nitda campaign for Nigerians to buy made-in-Nigeria products in IT and provide the enabling framework for the development of the indigenous IT sector. The NTC was established by Nitda as a specialised organ for IT standards development in the country. The Minister for Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson inaugurated the committee in November last year.
To this end, Nitda would next week in Lagos hold an IT stakeholder workshop for the purpose of fine-tuning draft standards and guidelines for made- in- Nigeria IT hardware products. The Director-General of Nitda, Prof Cleopas Angaye, is expected to use the occasion of the workshop to remind the MDAs that the Federal Government mandatory policy which requires the public sector to procure low-end Nigerian IT products is still in force.
Nitda has created an Online Public Complaints Platform to track any disregard for the policy and to monitor compliance to minimum standards by product manufacturers in accordance with section 6 of the NITDA Act of 2007. Recently, government announced a plan to establish a N1 billion Software Innovation Fund to fast-track the development of made-in-Nigeria software by the youths. The fund commenced with seed money from the government.
Angaye had during the final review of the draft policy on software development in November 2011 said Nigeria could earn about $6 billion from software if properly harnessed especially as the software industry is not a capital intensive sector, noting that ICT has been accepted globally as a major tool for sustainable socio-economic development, he said software was the engine for this powerful tool.
“It is however disheartening to observe that these investments have been mostly on imported software. A recent disclosure by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) shows that Nigeria loses about $1 billion annually to software importation. Whereas Nigeria software industry is potentially a $6 billion industry and could surpass revenue from the oil industry,” Angaye said.