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Worries over capacity, strategy to back executive orders on IT


Yemi Osinbajo

Information and communications technology (ICT) experts have expressed worry over lack of capacity and strategy required to implement federal government’s executive orders in the sector.

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, vice president, had in May last year signed Executive Order 02 to support local content in procurement of IT products and services, while President Muhammadu Buhari early this month signed Executive Order 05 to improve local content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.

The Executive Order is expected to promote the application of science, technology and innovation towards achieving the nation’s development goals across all sectors of the economy.

The President, pursuant to the authority vested in him by the Constitution, ordered that all ‘‘procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007.’’

Yele Okeremi, chief executive officer, Precise Financial Systems, an indigenous financial IT services company, said that executive order is a good step but expressed reservation over capacity and strategy to back the orders.

He explained that information technology has two associated costs which are services and products, he noted that services are costly than products in essence could also be localized with strategic planning.

“As at today, we don’t have capacity to provide IT services locally. Our policy makers are mostly politicians that don’t have in-depth knowledge of the system and don’t carry out proper analysis of the subject matter before rolling out policies.

“Countries have implemented local content policy successfully, if we follow Korea example in automobile technology it will help us. Koreans started manufacturing cars through technology transfer agreement with Opel. In the agreement, Korean government insisted that Opel uses a Korean as second in command in the strategic sections of the process of manufacturing of Opel cars in Korean.

Amos Emmanuel, chief executive officer, Programos Software Limited, said: “For me executive order is like hypocrisy, former president Obasanjo had issued similar order in the past in relation to indigenous software and it was not followed by government agencies.

Today, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) is challenging some government agencies on contracts awarded to foreign companies to implement software for them which has local capacity,” he said.

He however urged indigenous IT services innovators to embrace new thinking in their approach to innovative services or products.

According to him, ‘these innovative services of the new thinking are capable of crumbling or disrupting bureaucratic and regulatory barriers that have hither to prevented locally developed technology from rising’.

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ICTYemi Osinbajo
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