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‘Investment in knowledge-based economy imperative for growth’


Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunj

Director-General of NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunj

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has reiterated the need for Nigeria to invest massively in a knowledge-based economy to get the country out of recession.The acting Director-General, NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, said Nigeria had so far done very little over the years to develop its local technology and business knowledge-base, but rather depending extensively on foreign knowledge to run too many aspects of the economy.
Olatunji, represented by the Director, Software and Outsourcing Department, NITDA, Christopher Okeke, made the observations during an accreditation award ceremony to certify Integrated Corporate Services (ICS) Limited, as an accredited trainer in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).“The nation’s refusal in time past to invest in knowledge base is one of the critical reasons the nation is in recession. The time to start making serious investment in knowledge base is now,” he said.
He pointed out that NITDA is committed to the advancement of BPO knowledge in Nigeria, adding that this why it launched the BPO certification trainer accreditation programme in 2014.“We are pleased to announce that Integrated Corporate Services (ICS) Limited has met all the pre-qualifications requirements and have been duly approved for accreditation. We have also partnered with the private sector to conduct BPO trainings which help candidates prepare themselves for BPO certificate examinations,” he added.    
He said it is time to develop Nigeria’s local technology and business knowledge-base across all sectors of the economy, adding that the present challenges facing the economy have exposed the truth that belies the nation’s extensive reliance on foreign knowledge to run nearly every aspects of the economy.
He said as a country, Nigeria depended on foreign technological partnership, saying that this situation robs the country of its precious foreign exchange, perpetuating capital flight.“We need to know how to run world class businesses in our local parlance while achieving 100 per cent local content. To do this, there is a need to introduce and develop a large pool of knowledgeable workforce that understands global business and technological systems,” he said.
He noted that BPO is a critical business and technological strategy is urgently needed to help businesses develop greater efficiency while also significantly improving growth and profitability.He stated that BPO has helped to boost local economies such as China, India, Philippines, Mauritius, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and Ghana, maintaining that the BPO industry gives the service providers ability to gain knowledge and provide critical services to principal organizations in exchange for value.
He pointed out that the world has become a smaller global village, maintaining that there is no running from the impact of the business process outsourcing.Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director, Integrated Corporate Services (ICS), Peter Akindeju said it is no longer news that the economy is in recession, saying that what maybe news is the potpourri of solutions to the challenges faced by the country and not the problems facing Nigeria.

He advised that more time should be spent developing solutions to the problems of the nation and not the endless recounting of the challenges facing the country.He advised that while government continues to be responsible for finding best-fit policies for mapping the direction of the economy, no efforts must be spared in galvanizing critical economic actors to deliver whatever they can, in spite of the challenging economic environment.
“This is how we ensure that we, as a nation, do not stay in this recession for much longer. It is in this light that Integrated Corporate Services Limited has committed scarce resources to developing a veritable platform for advancing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) knowledge and practice in Nigeria,” he said.
In his words, “While outsourcing has been with us for a long time, there still remains a wide gap between where we are and where we ought to be, given the size of our economy.”According to him, globally, BPO is a multi-billion industry, maintaining that it is the leveler of the 21st century, making it possible for otherwise third world countries to catch up to well advanced countries.
He said Africa accounts for less than 10 per cent of the world’s BPO output, saying that despite this fact, African countries like South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya and Mauritius are taking the lead in outsourcing services provision in Africa.

He lamented that currently in Nigeria, the outsourcing industry has been largely limited to mere supply of equipments or provision of human resources, adding that the need to graduate into the BPO space is critical now more than ever before.

He appealed to the NITDA to partner ICS to significantly improve the number of BPO certified professionals in Nigeria, saying that the more professionals in the country, the greater the nation’s capacity to present its BPO service providers to local and international businesses that are in need.
He decried foreign companies coming into Nigeria with foreign BPO services providers, stating that it is injurious to the economy and not suitable to achieve sustainable economic growth.

“We at ICS remain committed to the course, as we encourage other businesses in the industry to join us in the effort to cultivate the requisite levels of knowledge in the technical, human, operations and financial processes of Nigerian businesses,” he said.  


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Dr. Vincent OlatunjiNITDA
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