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.

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