By Kester Omu
Stakeholders in the Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology sector have come up with 27-point recommendations, which they believe will help to revamp the shrinking indigenous software industry.
These recommendations formed part of the resolution issued at a 3-day stakeholders roundtable on the use of the Nigerian software in the financial/banking services sector held in Lagos last month.
This Roundtable was jointly organised by the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) in partnership with CWG Plc, Nigeria’s biggest system integration company.
The objectives of the Roundtable, according to the organisers were to promote awareness for the development and utilization of local Technology Solutions in various sectors of the Nigerian economy; to discuss the challenges confronting the local Technology Solution Providers and to identify specific areas where NOTAP and NITDA can intervene to create an enabling environment to enhance local vendorship.
Signed by the organisers, the resolutions cum recommendations from the roundtable with the theme “Adoption and Development of Local Content Technology as Growth Driver for the Nigerian Economy” are:
- NITDA should come up with the database on National ICT needs, noting the indigenous competencies, capacities and capabilities to facilitate the process of a gradual winding down on the importation of software Solutions.
- The academia and Research Institutes (RIs) should collaborate with indigenous ICT firms/companies to develop market driven software to support national economic growth.
- ICT Firms and professionals in either software or Hardware should register with their respective professional bodies who in turn should register with NOTAP for consideration in the implementation of Executive Order 05.
- Foreign Software owners should be encouraged to incorporate technical trainings/capacity building in Nigeria as part of their commitment to strengthen the indigenous competencies,
- Software tax should be introduced on imported software so as to discourage importation of foreign software.
- The Ministry of Education and NITDA should start from the bottom up with the provision of encouraging the development of ICT ecosystem,
- Collaborations at all levels/stages in the development of standards, packaging and marketing of the indigenous software products are highly encouraged by relevant organisations.
- ICT firms are enjoined to support the government policies geared towards implementing the local content policies of the regulatory agencies.
- NITDA should be empowered to establish ICT development fund for the development and standardization of indigenous ICTs,
- NITDA in collaboration with relevant agencies to spearhead the establishment of a Software Clearing House and enforcement of the Software Performance Benchmarks(SPB),
- Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)and Bank of Industry(BOI) are encouraged to create funds/grants to compliment FDI funds for the development and growth of ICT in Nigeria.
- It was also recommended that the merger/consolidation of indigenous ICT firms be considered as option to strengthen capacities and competencies,
- Establishment of Joint Ventures Companies(JVCs) with foreign entities as it was done in some ASIAN countries be encouraged as a strategy to domesticate foreign technologies in the country,
- NOTAP and NITDA should proactively carry out investor education in our software ecosystem.
- Government should invest in Engineering, Science, Technology and Mathematics to encourage development and growth of Nigerian digital society.
- End users (Banks and financial institutions) should collaborate on raising funds for the development and deployment of indigenous banking applications by investing a certain percentage of their turnover on software development.
- NOTAP & NITDA should set timeline for ensuring that outside the core banking software applications, other applications should be sourced locally,
- Indigenous software developers should embark on developing market driven software solutions in order to meet the customer’s needs,
- Indigenous Software developers should take advantage of the benefits inherent in the Nigerian Copyright Commission to protect their innovations,
- Local content issues should be viewed from the security point of view not commerce
- NITDA and other stakeholders should to set up a National IT think Tank made up of industry, government and academia,
- NITDA and NOTAP and Stakeholders in the ICT sector to organise a National Coding /software competition(Annual Software Hackathon),
- NOTAP, NITDA should Nigeria IT /software investment fair.
- The Ministry of communication should retool government processes with digital tools .
- NOTAP and NITDA should accredit Local vendors to work with OEM.
- All ATS fees should be designated in Naira.
- Local vendors should be made to be responsible for procuring software for end users.