Nigeria’s aspiration to be a leading player in the world now controlled by human capital development rather than natural resources has been hinged on the successful development of the information and communications technology sector (ICT) through policies that encourage indigenous companies to flourish. The was the summation of ICT stakeholders at the Nigeria Information and Communications Technology Reporters’ Association’s (NITRA), quarterly forum with the theme: “Local Content Development in Nigeria’s ICT Sector: Stimulant for National Economic Recovery” held on Thursday in Lagos.
Chris Uwaje, director-general, Delta State Innovation Hub, in his keynote address 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 was underfunded and unprotected and therefore urged the government to ensure that 10 per cent of its national budget was earmarked for the development of the ICT sector in the country. He explained that local content development was 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.
On his part, the Association of Information Communication Technology Local Content (ICTLOCA), coordinator, Cornerstone Akinbo said , “the overall effect of Executive Orders and NOGICD Act is that they have created strong foundation upon which to build our vision of promoting and protecting creators, developers, entrepreneurs and business within the ICT Ecosystem.” Pointing at the stimulants for national economy through local content, Akinbo said policies and guidelines, Consumer Protection Act, transfer of knowledge (multinationals and Nigerian business community), collaboration between bodies (CPN, BOI, NITDA, NOTAP, ISPON, ATCON) was key to building the public-private partnerships.
Speaking earlier, Emma Okonji, chairman, Nigeria Information and Communications Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA),stated that the incursion of financial technology (Fintech) players into the country’s financial sector has led to digital disruption in the banking sector.
He decried the lack of support and patronage from government agencies and organisations towards these startups who have developed home grown technology solutions with the best of quality that are commercially viable in addressing specific and organisational challenges in the country, to foreign software and hardware solutions.
He said, “Since the incursion of financial technology (fintech) players into the country’s financial sector that has led to digital disruption in the banking sector, we have witnessed the growth of several fintechs and technology startups.
“The fintechs and startups have developed home grown technology solutions with the best of quality and are commercially viable in addressing specific and organisational challenges, but they lack support and patronage from government agencies and organisations who still prefer foreign software and hardware solutions, to the detriment of locally developed products.”These novelty projects have been delivered under the remarkable leadership of the vice chancellor, Prof Ozumba and mostly working with a triple helix concept.
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