Stakeholders say N3m intervention fund for software development paltry
Information and communications technology stakeholders have described the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N3million intervention fund for the development of indigenous software as a joke compared to the enormous resources required to develop software.
They wondered why software development intervention fund is paltry N3million compared to other sectors such as textile, Nollywood among others in view of huge contributions software development is capable of generating to the economy.
Dr. Yele Okeremi, president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), debunked insinuations that ICT stakeholders are not engaging enough with government as reason for the amount CBN set aside for software development in the country.
According to him, “we are engaging well with government which has resulted in Executive orders to encourage use of ICT local content. More so, smart governments should look for people that will develop the country; our government has been pedestrian in the support for indigenous software. When government talk about innovation, they don’t understand what innovation is. They see innovation as developing of APP only.
“If government is serious to develop indigenous software, increasing intervention fund to N100million will not achieve great result but market access will. By market access it means government and its agencies buying indigenous software which in turn will grow Nigerian companies to be able to invest more than N100 million for research and development in critical areas of software.
“We have the ingredients to build Software Empire which are human capital and governance structure. As at today, we have private companies that have showed proper governance structure.
“What government is doing is towing away our resources. If we buy home-made software it will change the entire dynamics of the ecosystem. Government needs to create enabling environment for the sector to grow, it is beyond Executive orders without monitoring it implementations.
“Even if CBN raises the intervention fund to N100 million it will only have impact on certain category of companies. I understand the concerns of CBN which is the high risk profile of software development process, but they don’t understand the capacity to de-risk profile through creating mega companies that can afford to take risk on smaller companies,” he added.
Chidi Ibisi, executive director, Business Development, Broadbased communications, decried the amount CBN made available for software development which according to him did not show enough commitment to growth of ICT in the country.
“Government has put broadband penetration target of 70 per cent without making available fund through which operators can access to deploy infrastructure.
Alternative, they need to create enabling environment for foreign investment to come into the country,” he said.