By Yinka Okeowo
The Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, recent call on the National Assembly to enact a holistic law to criminalize breach of the Executive Orders 003 and 005 on local content in information technology, may not be unconnected with staggering statistics that shows the country may spend about N120billion importing hardware and software by year 2020.
The Executive Orders that Shittu was referring to are designed to give local software industry and practitioners chance to improve their skills and products with minimal stifling competition from foreign firms.
Shittu said that “Local content must be elevated to such a level as to save our economy. What more can be economic sabotage if actions that cause massive loss of jobs foreign exchange are not redressed?”
Noting that local content does not mean excluding foreign participation in the Nigerian economy, the Minister assured that NITDA was committed to the implementation of the local content program and the executive order on local content.
Substantiating the Minister’s position, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said “considering that about 80% of ICT hardware and software consumed in Nigeria are imported, by estimation, Nigeria would spend about 120 billion by the year 2020 on the importation of foreign technologies.
He lamented the influx of foreign technologies into the Nigerian market has made the nation a dumping ground for substandard technologies.