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Local software developers berate banks over non patronage

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Indigenous software developers have berated financial institutions in the country over lack of patronage of home grown core banking applications.

This is as Nigeria commercial banks spend some $400 million annually on foreign software license renewal.

They spoke at a stakeholders’ roundtable on the use of Nigerian software in the financial sector held in Lagos, organised by CWG plc in collaboration with National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).

Toye Soladoye, assistant general manager, Programing, Access bank, speaking on ‘Software Licensing and user experience’, said that the world is moving towards smart everything and that at the core of the digital transformation in the world is software development.

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He urged Nigeria to explore the opportunities in digital transformation and pay attention to software development by creating functional research and development policy.

He stated that the time is not yet reap for indigenous software to play in the core banking application of banks in the country, arguing that core banking applications are seen as the heart of their operation which needs not to be toiled with.

He advised Nigerian software developer to focus on other areas such as front end, middle ware, channels and data layers and show evidence of success before they can be considered for patronage by banks.

Responding, Bimbo Abioye, group managing director, Fintrak Software, disagrees with Soladoye claims noting that some organisations prefer foreign software to indigenous because of the desire to travel overseas for training as such training comes with financial benefits.

He urged NOTAP to ensure that every technical training for foreign software be mandated to occur in Nigeria to discourage some organisations from choosing foreign software over indigenous one with competence, and also seeks software import tax on foreign software as well as tax holidays for banks that have chosen local software.

He decries poor compensation for indigenous software where they are chosen in banks and other organisations.

“Nigerian buyers of our software want to price it down to lowest possible level, we want regulation to address this if we are to move forward,” he said.

Corroborating Abioye, James Emadoye, chief executive officer, BSSL Technologies, noted the strive indigenous banking software made in the mid-80s.

“Tara Systems developed banking software that was exported in the 1980s. When banks were undergoing computerisation, they were using indigenous software before interest set in and people began to look for foreign software that enable them to travel,” he said.

Adewale Adeyipo, chief executive officer, CWG PLC, said that for Nigeria to create a viable software ecosystem, it is essential to develop policies that empower local software companies through investment and also establish government-owned coding academies just as Rwanda has built a programming school that allows Rwandans have access to best global practices on software development.

“The Micro Finance Banks have since adopted some local solutions for their Core Banking Application which has been deployed to over 800 MFBs nationwide from 12 local manufacturers,” he noted.

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