SFG, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has secured the approval of Federal Government to clear all locally made information systems before they are purchased by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The approval, which was granted recently, also directed all MDAs to patronise locally made Personal Computers (PCs) that were cleared by NITDA or face sanctions.
In a circular titled Guidelines for the Purchase of Locally Assembled Computers, dated July 17, 2012 sent to all MDAs, the federal government said the objective was to give effect to the government policy on the procurement of Made-in-Nigeria Information Systems.
The guidelines were signed by Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim.
Government warned that any breach of the guidelines which were issued in accordance with the provisions of the NITDA Act of 2007, would be seen as a breach of the Act.
The guidelines which were approved during the Federal Executive Council meeting in April 2012 was expected to assist all MDAs to be appropriately guided on the minimum specifications and standards in procurement of locally assembled information systems.
Government also aims to achieve the development of an indigenous Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, wealth and job creation, expansion of the domestic market for Nigeria information technology products and acceleration of Information Technology (IT) penetration and adoption in Nigeria.
It is also governments hope that the policy will enhance Universal Access to IT in accordance with Section 6 of the IT Development Act of 2007.
According to the government circular the product under the guidelines include all Made-in-Nigeria information System components certified by NITDA and which meet a specified minimum standard. The guidelines however do not apply to high-end products such as server, routers, operating systems and data base software.
Under the guidelines, all MDAs are expected to obtain a technical advice from NITDA on the configuration of the Information System suitable for the purpose intended, 15 days to issuance of tenders by the MDAs.
They will also be expected to incorporate the specifications and configurations advised by NITDA in their bid and tender documents.
Agencies of government empowered to enforce government guidelines include, the organs and offices of government which exercise threshold responsibilities in public procurement process, the Bureau of Public Procurement, accounting officers of MDAs, ICT officers of MDAs and institutions legally mandated to undertake oversight function in the development and deployment of ICT in the country.
NITDA shall monitor compliance, according to the circular, which stated that all Local Original Equipment Manufacturers ( LOEMs) shall be required to submit to periodic assessment and facility visits by NITDA to ensure that the product and process standard are maintained.
Certification of all LOEMs products and processes shall be bi-annual with effect from 2012, while a consumer reporting interface and dedicated telephone lines already launched shall be maintained for the purpose of receiving report of breach of standard on the one hand and non-observance of the local content Policy on the other hand.