The impact of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) on the growth of the Nigerian economy is immense hence the need for a Development Bank to drive the sector, says the President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) Executive Board, Rev’d Sunday Folayan
TechEconomy.ng recalls that around March 2018, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, stated that plans are underway by the Federal Government to set up an Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Development Bank that will provide funding for the industry in order to promote and encourage young entrepreneurs in the sector.
The Minister who was represented by former Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mr. Peter Jack, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during the launch of the Bayelsa Ecosystem and Ignition Week, organised by the Young Innovators of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Government, noted that the ICT Bank will among other services, reduced the dependence on commercial banks for funding and also offer lower interest rates and grow the ICT industry.
The industry has been waiting for further efforts by the Ministry to push for this agenda. Unfortunately, it has not even received a mention at the weekly Federal Executive Council meetings.
In core areas of the economy like Agriculture and Energy, ICT is steadily creating platforms and opportunities for accelerated development, Rev’d Folayan said, adding that the consistent growth of ICT and the various potentials and opportunities in Nigeria has not gone unnoticed by global tech brands, who continue to pitch their tents in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Government, through NITDA has put together a detailed plan for ICT development. There is still a lot to be done in order to implement the laid-out strategies in various areas of the policy document.
“In the Investment and funding section of the policy, two of the strategies designed to develop the growth of Technology in Nigeria require government to:
“(1) Provide appropriate fiscal incentives to encourage local manufacture of ICT equipment and development of software;
“(2) Adopt financing models that foster indigenous ICT entrepreneurship”.
He further argued that many of the Technologies currently being deployed in Nigeria are imported or adapted, due to a number of factors which include the non-existence of the required capital to pursue the core development of such Technologies in-country.
“IT organizations the world over benefit from huge investments in laboratories for prototype development and testing, which ensure that they stay ahead of themselves as they evolve.
“It also ensures that they remain responsive to the growing needs of their end users.
“The country has already recognized the need for Development Banks in other spheres of the economy and indeed has floated necessary incentives for investors in those areas.
“If ICT is to develop locally at a speed that will make the budding Technology Community evolve and become useful, it is now important to consider the setup of a Technology Development Bank in Nigeria. This bank will provide the much-needed seed for growing ICT research and innovation in Nigeria.
“This is my second call for the ICT Development Bank, the first being the 2018 Forum of the Nigerian Network Operators Group (ngNOG).
“If eventually we get to fund the ideas and innovations in the sector, the strategy will in no small measure contribute to the growth of the DNS Industry. The conversation has started”, he added.