For Nigeria to achieve effective local content policy in her technology industry, the Federal Government must increase funding allocation to the sector as well ensure adequate protection of indigenous information technology firms.
Prof Chris Uwaje, former president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), made the call 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 in Lagos, recently.
According to him, part of the responsibilities of government is to fund development of innovations.
He said nations are developed through funding of innovative ideas that can provide solutions to social and economic problems.
Uwaje called for the establishment of national IT development fund to be distributed across the states.
He lamented that Nigeria currently lacks specific national framework or investments policy on ICT and there is need to redesign the structure of national economy, local contents in line with global trends.
Also, the Second Vice President, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the Managing Director of e.Stream Networks Limited, Mr. Muyiwa Ogungboye, emphasized the need for Nigeria to rework her investment and employment policies to enhance local contents delivery in the ICT industry.
He noted that government at all levels need to make ICT a top priority in Nigeria because, the sector contributes about 8% to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Ogungboye said the country should formulate an indigenous policy to address problem of unemployment.
He stated that government should urgently reintroduce the indigenization policy in the form of local contents policy, “if we are to reduce or eradicate the continuous unemployment of Nigerian youth whether skilled and or unskilled.”
He noted that the benefits of liberalizing the telecom and ICT sector would not accrue to teeming Nigerian population until the necessary action is taking by the Nigerian government at all levels.
Ogungboye said, “Ghana as a case study has one of the most protective policy for her citizen in terms of employment and investment and majority of the developed countries do not play lip service to the issue of employment of their citizens.
“As a matter of fact, they make sure that their nationality is considered for any employment opportunity before any other nationality is considered as goes for South Africa.
“Nigeria as a nation needs to quickly stop the idea of her citizenry not being given the first consideration even in their own land.
“And Nigeria should rework her investment and employment policies, he added”
Also, the Secretary, Association for Information Communication Technology Local Content, Adebunmi Adeola Akimbo solicited ICT stakeholders support for the ICS 2018 exhibition for local content.
According to him, ICS is a platform for stakeholder’s and professionals, initiators, innovators and creators of products and services with local content input and execution to interact.
He said ICS would be an annual project that would base solely to advocate, promote, and protect the use and adoption of Made-in-Nigeria products with relevance to the existing Acts and Orders.
The exhibition according to him is organised to bring together government Agencies and stakeholders in the ICT industry to consider and deliberate on the Themes and Sub themes to fashion out ways we can work together for effective implementation of all Federal Government Executive Orders and Acts on the promotion and protection of Information and Communication Technology related to Local Content.
Akinbo noted that the exhibition will serve as a platform to publicize and promote products and services provided by indigenous ICT practitioners in Nigeria.