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Angst as foreign software gulp $20bn from Nigeria


Dr. Yele Okeremi, new president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON)

Dr. Yele Okeremi, new president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has warned that Nigeria cannot continue to snub indigenous development, insisting that the wealth of any nation depends majorly on human capital that is well harnessed.

This is coming on the heels of the growing discontent over the increasing importation of foreign software from countries including Estonia, Sweden, India, among others.Experts claimed that the software industry in Nigeria is worth over 20 billion dollars annually and over a trillion dollars worldwide.Okeremi, also chief executive officer, Precise Financial Systems, said that ERP and financial accounting solutions, which could have been handled by local players for government, are handled to foreigners.

He stressed that to eradicate corruption at all fronts, “the easiest way is automation, which indigenous players in the country have mastered. For Nigeria to advance, we need to develop our local content and make it marketable, but first patronised by the government.”

The local industry generally exudes much optimism but there is a pervading air of disillusionment which developers blame on absence of government support for the industry.There are thousands of indigenous software in the Nigeria market but they all get swallowed up as foreign brands. Nigerian made software provide solutions for school management, cyber café management, human resources, banking and micro-finance, the stock market and many other areas of human endeavours.

Though a few have enjoyed patronage in the banking sector, stock market, and micro finance institutions. However, they still suffer discriminations when compared to that of their foreign counterparts even as foreign software is still dominant in the market.Those from abroad get the lion share while local software are still lagging behind.Foreign solutions practically dominate corporate Nigeria, particularly the banking and oil sector where IT has been remarkably integrated into their operations.

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ISPONYele Okeremi
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