ICT sector seeks policy implementation to spur local content
Stakeholders in the information and communications technology (ICT) have called for proper implementation of policies to enhance local content development.The executive orders 003 and 005 signed by the President Muhammed Buhari and the renewed vigour in pursuance of local content development by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) are some of the impetus to spur local content development.
Stakeholders however cautioned that these policies may not achieve its objectives if concerted efforts are not made to implement them.For instance, NITDA and Bank of Industry (BOI) are in a running battle over the BOI’s none compliance with directive on local content of its IT implementation.
Also some people see executive orders on local content as meant for public sector, while privately owned organizations which dominate ICT sector are not adhering to it.According to Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), ‘there is no clear local content policy in the industry that private operators must follow. We must address local content issue without which jobs will continue to go off-shores. It has also impacted on poor remuneration of Nigerians employed in some of the companies operating in the sector.’
Engr. Olusola Teniola, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) said that his association believes that the drive for local content should be the focus of regulators in the ecosystem.
“This has become necessary in view of some telecom servicing companies such as Ericsson, among others that have offshored jobs meant for Nigerians to other countries. We need to reverse this trend and create more jobs in the ICT sector.”
Yele Okeremi, chief executive officer, Precise Financial Systems, an indigenous financial IT services company, said that the executive order is a good step but expressed reservation over its implementation.
“The challenge with executive order is that of enforcement and sustainability. Executive orders can be signed by a sitting president and overturn by the next president, I think what the government wants to do is to begin a process and for it to continue is another issue. Executive orders are for executive arm of government that does not extend to other arms of government. We are looking at having a legislative act that will guarantee survival of local content, government should seek a way to ensure how this order can be legislation,” he said.
Deolu Ogunbanjo, president, National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMMS) said that outsourcing has messed up local content in telecommunications industry in the country and urged National Assembly to ensure that local content in telecommunications bill is passed into law just as the one in oil and gas.
“It is unfortunate that outsourcing which is designed to bring efficiency in service delivery and employment has turned out to bring poor remuneration and inhuman labour practice. MainOne went to South Africa and were frustrated by local content law in that country. Senate should focus on giving Nigerians local content law that will ensure that outsourcing does not punish Nigeria workers,” he added.
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