The Director General and CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Pantami, at the Nigerian Software Stakeholders Roundtable on Tuesday, reiterated that the Federal Government will not dole out funds to acquire software and other technological apparatuses, especially those that can be locally developed.
Estimations varies on how much Nigeria spends on importation of foreign software annually. However, the figures run into billions of dollars.
To this end, Dr. Pantami underscored the meeting an important one as the Federal Government is assiduously working hard to diversify Nigeria’s national income and to harness efficiencies that will deliver better governance to Nigerians.
TechEconomy.ng brings to you the full speech of Dr. Pantami’s at the meeting: “It is clear that ICT is at the center of these efforts. I’m delighted to note that second only to the Oil and Gas sector, ICT is at the forefront of driving a local content initiative, which is anchored on ensuring Nigeria leverages on local capacities to develop the economy, utilize national resource and create opportunities for Nigerians.
“Notably, software development is a shining example of Nigeria’s capacity to effectively proffer solutions to complex problems, create opportunities and develop a pipeline of young entrepreneurs who we celebrate every day.
“In administration of Government today, the effect of projects like the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS),Integrated Payroll and Personnel Systems( IPPIS) and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) demonstrates how germane ICT is to a properly and efficiently run government.
“The exploits of Nigerians in Financial Technology (Fintech), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools and mobile application development is acknowledged globally. Recently, an International report produced by Hackrank placed Nigeria in the top 50 software developing countries in the world.
“This is notable, but clearly isn’t good enough for the effort and potential we have witnessed in the last three to five years. We can do better and should do better, this is exactly why we are gathered here.
“The Executive Order 3 On Support of Local Content Procurement by the Federal Government and the Presidential Executive Order 5 for Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content In Contracts and Science, Engineering and Technology, issued yesterday, 5th February 2018 by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, further strengthens the Regulatory Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT 2013 in support of the development of indigenous software capabilities.
“Particularly, the recently issued Order mandates MDAs to engage professionals in planning technology projects like software development and deployment.
“The Order also empowers agencies like NITDA to provide comprehensive database of verifiable skills and capacities in ICT to ensure only indigenous companies are considered for procurements where capacity is available locally.
“Therefore, with this opportunity and support from the current administration, we are here to discuss as a stakeholders in our country; hubs, private sector, government agencies, academia and trade groups in ICT, all vital to the development of our software industry what we must do to take advantage of these Orders as capital to grow our capabilities to service the world.
“Our deliberations today will set the tone for the development of a roadmap that will highlight top level activity and allocate responsibilities to all stakeholders in developing this space.
“At NITDA we are committed to coordinating these efforts. We have demonstrated our willingness by enforcing the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT 2013 at all cost.
“Recently, we have taken severe and legal action against violators of the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT. I am happy to inform you, that we have begun to witness tremendous results in ensuring public sector patronage of local entrepreneurs. I want to commend and acknowledge the support and partnership of ISPON who have also championed efforts to ensure MDAs who have sought to patronize foreign software where local alternatives exist were unable to do so.
“I assure you that NITDA will do all it can within its powers to ensure no single kobo of the Federal Government will be spent on acquiring technology that local and capable alternatives exist. We have charged our local content office (ONC) to continue to be vigilant in surveillance and to be agile in driving enforcement of the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT.
“I will not say more at this time, it is important that deliberations begin in earnest, I look forward to the conversations today and the collective ideas we shall share for action. Let us move our country forward”.