Minister seeks sustainable solutions to increasing capital flights in ICT sector
As such, the Shittu has challenged industry gurus and experts to as a matter of urgency, find a sustainable solution to the issue.
Report has it that about $2.8 billion is spent yearly on importation of hardware and software products in the country.
The minister, who challenged stakeholders on this menace at the National Information Technology Merit Award (NITMA), organized by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in Lagos, noted that there was need to work together to engender accelerated development of the country’s ICT sector.
“I want to task the NCS to come up with private-public sector collaboration strategies that allow all stakeholders to come to a point where we can jointly development the industry,” he said.
He particularly noted that, aside the abysmal level of local content input in the nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) which has to be addressed collectively to address capital flight, good legislations are also needed to protect indigenous investors.
“Our legislative arm needs to enact a law that would incriminate violation of local content principles. It’s time for the National Assembly to enact law on local content and criminalise abuse of local content,” he said.
Acknowledging the role of such government agencies such as the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) in promoting local contents, Shittu maintained that the full force of law is needed to achieve more and curtail infractions.
The loss, experts said, is considered a big blow on the economy, as it amounts to capital and labour flights, thereby, impacting negatively on the basic economic metrics of the country such as the contribution of the ICT sector to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The whole spectrum of the ICT industry currently contributes about 10 per cent to the nation’s GDP.
Nigeria, despite being Africa’s largest telecom market with more than 140 million mobile subscribers and the continent’s largest economy, was recently ranked 15th in ICT development in Africa by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The 2017 ICT Development Index (IDI), by the ITU places Nigeria far behind Ghana, Gabon and Senegal in the adoption rate of ICT on the continent.
The full list showed Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Cape Verde, Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sao Tome and Principle, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Senegal respectively all ranked ahead of Nigeria in ICT development.
The Minister also identified the relevance of the NCS, which is the umbrella body for all ICT practitioners, interest groups and stakeholders in Nigeria in promoting local content as he charged the body to “help come up with ideas on how to make it happen.”
Earlier, the NCS President, Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, had earlier stated in his welcome address that the Society would continue to promote local ICT and extend benefits of ICT to the grassroots just as he stressed the important of NITMA to overall development of ICT ecosystem.
According to him, “One way of stimulating growth in the Nigerian ICT sector is by rewarding excellence and contribution. This unique national platform, NITMA, has been put in place to achieve this.”
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