‘How Buhari can develop, strengthen ICT sector’
WITH 51 days to his swearing as the new President of Nigeria, General Muhammad Buhari, has been urged to make Information and Communications Technology (ICT) a priority in his developmental agenda for the country.
For effect, ICT experts want Buhari to see local content development, as a key issue, if he must succeed successfully. They equally urged the new administration to employ largely, the services of IT professionals, which are numerous in the country.
Speaking to The Guardian, the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, observed that in transforming the economy and Nigeria, as a whole in the dispensation of governance, local content should be key.
Adebayo, an engineer said: “The new administration will do well by making local content a key issue. Protection of local industry and creating a very strong local content policy in ICT will make the sector more vibrant and further contributes to economic development.”
Towing the line of Adebayo, Chairman of Mobile Software Solution and a former President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Chris Uwaje, said President Buhari should ensure the approval and legislation on national software policy for Nigeria to drive the Local Content Act 2010.
Uwaje said President Buhari should be viewed as a CEO, challenged with the task pf governing the 180 million Nigerians, adding that he can only succeed in the new mission if he applies Infotech, which and where will be supported by IT professionals based on the fact that “if a child is sick, he will not be taken to the carpenter, but to a medical doctor because of the expertise the doctor will bring to the table.”
The former ISPON president wants the new regime to establish the office of the Chief Information Technology Officer of the Federation. Uwaje said this is necessary because of national security issues.
“Buhari should ensure that all boards of the Federal, State and Local Government Areas with the executives, judiciary and legislature are incorporated to ensure the appointment of IT experts on their boards for him to succeed”, he stated.
Uwaje said the new president must establish a litmus package for the IT industry so as to be able to build commensurate capacity for global competitiveness.
To the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Lanre Ajayi, it is highly essential for the new administration to focus on developing local content.
Ajayi, also an engineer lamented that the ICT consuming nation status of Nigeria has hindered the projected growth of the sector.
According to him, Nigeria still import devices, IT infrastructure, equipment, among others, “Buhari should set up activities in local content development. There is need to take a cue from the oil and gas sector, where they have increased participation of local firms.
“In the ICT sector, such is minimal. There are four big GSM firms, but only one is from a local entrepreneur. There is need for the new administration to encourage local investors to play big.”
He said manufacturers should be encouraged to set up factory in Nigeria, stressing that this will prevent the country from maintaining the ‘Consumer Nation’ status.
The ATCON boss also wanted the Buhari administration to fast track development in broadband penetration in the country.
According to him, there is already a National Broadband Plan; the new administration should fast track its implementation.
In a related development, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has congratulated the President Elect, on what it described as his historic hard earned victory at the March 28 election. NCS also commended President Goodluck Jonathan for placing the nation’s interests first by conceding the election and congratulating President-Elect, Buhari on his victory.
A statement from NCS, signed by its President, Prof. David Adewunmi, stated: “we hail the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian people who have again demonstrated their commitment to democracy through their participation in a peaceful and keenly contested election process that has been commended globally.
“NCS counts on President-Elect Buhari to lead Nigeria by enthroning innovation, productivity, merit, transparency and good governance in addressing the nation’s numerous developmental challenges.”