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ICTLOCA seeks consumption of local ICT wares


President of ICTLOCA, Adewale Akingbade

To explore opportunities in oil, gas sector
Making reference to the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010, the Association for Information Communication Technology Local Content, also known as ICTLOCA, has called on the Federal Government to encourage deliberate consumption of local Information and Communication Technology (ICT) goods and services in the public and private sector.

ICTLOCA, which decried the growing apathy towards locally Made-in-Nigeria ICT goods and services, noted that it is high time the industry with support from the government finds a lasting solution to the challenge.

The group was specific about exploring the opportunities in oil and gas sector, especially local content goods and services.

Recently speaking in Lagos at the ICT Community Roundtable, with the theme: ICT Local Content: Dissecting Challenges and Proffering Solutions, the President of ICTLOCA, Adewale Akingbade, said the industry must work to put a stop to capital flight, especially in the ICT sector.

Akingbade noted that the association has the mandate of ensuring that all laws and policies of government put in place to promote local content in ICT and provide job opportunities for members of the ICT community are effectively implemented.

At the meeting, which had in attendance, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo; representative of the President of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Jide Awe; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Patrick Obah; President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association, Revd. Sunday Folayan; Lagos Zonal Controller, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Henry Ojiokpota, charged the Federal Government on the need to make the environment conducive for business.

Speaking on the telecoms sector, Adebayo said the industry see local content growth in the context of the development and consumption of applications developed in the industry.

He called for concerted efforts among stakeholders that will guarantee adoption of locally made goods and services.

In her keynote speech, Executive Secretary, NiRA, Edith Udeagu, noted that for the greater part of the last four decades, the Nigerian oil and gas industry had been dominated by major international oil companies with large numbers of expatriate workers being deployed to carry out projects in various onshore and offshore locations in the country.

Udeagu said the preponderance of expatriate workers had resulted in paucity of jobs, skills development, capacity building, and utilisation for the indigenous workforce and in the long run, a lack of sustained national economic development.

Making reference to NOGICD Act, Executive Order 3, among others, Udeagu said effective implementation of the above Order, Act and policies should result in the deliberate utilisation and patronage of local ICT goods and services by Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) of government and companies in the Oil and Gas sector.

In the communiqué issued at the end of the roundtable, the conference, among other things, wants NCDMB to ensure that the websites of Nigerian companies bidding for contracts must be hosted locally and that they use a .ng domain name.

ICTLOCA also charged NCDMB to provide access to yearly Nigerian Content Performance Report relating to ICT contracts in the oil and gas industry and other relevant information that will assist the association.

In the areas of the applications development, the body urged NITDA to certify local ICT Software and certify local software vendors.

ICTLOCA also wants enforcement and monitoring of local content laws and policies of government on the promotion of local content in ICT by CPN, NITDA, NCC and other relevant government agencies.

It urged NCDMB to maintain a database of the formal and informal ICT skills and capabilities, with open (statistics) data access to all stakeholders. It stressed the need for government, through the NCDMB, to identify, support and fund young innovators in the ICT industry and implement intervention programmes to correct the identified skills/competence gap.

Other recommendations are that NCDMB in collaboration with NITDA, NCC and other relevant government agencies should support existing ICT hubs to be more efficient, sustainable and relevant to the needs of the industry. Also, the government, through the relevant regulatory agencies, should sanction all offenders of local content laws and policies; NCDMB to organise relevant trainings and seminars for ICT practitioners to enlighten them on project tendering and ICT Jobs and Service contract awards processes and implementation in the oil and gas sector. Similarly, the NCDMB should consider the possibility of unbundling jobs in the oil and gas sector to create opportunities for local ICT SMEs to partake in projects that are relatively within their financial capability.

ICTLOCA wants NCDMB to collaborate with it and NCCF-ICT to immediately conduct a survey to determine the quantum of ICT goods and services utilised in the sector, the percentage provided by Nigerians and foreigners and the skill set required majorly by local ICT practitioners to undertake the provisions of ICT goods and services in the sector.

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