‘Data Hosting Outside Nigeria Amounts to Economic Loss’

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Emma Okonji

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has condemned the rate at which corporate organisations and some government agencies, export their data outside the country for hosting in foreign lands.

He said such foreign hosting of data constitutes monumental economic loss, running into billions of naira.

The minister, who made the disclosure when he visited Rack Centre Limited, a Tier 111 data centre in Lagos, encouraged the company to expand its operations and capacity, in order to accommodate more data from organisations in Nigeria, including government agencies, who currently host their data outside the country.

He, however, commended Rack Centre for its world class Tier 111 Data Centre, which he said could be matched in standards and quality, with foreign data centres.

“Organisations like Rack Centre need the encouragement of Nigerians and the Nigerian government to increase its data centre capacity to accommodate more data from other organisations and government agencies, in order to discourage Nigerians from hosting their data outside the country,” Shittu said.

According to him, “today we still have a lot of organisations, including government agencies that still host their data outside the country when we have a world class data centre at the Rack Centre that addresses all security issues associated with data hosting. Millions of naira have been lost to Nigeria in the area of exporting data outside the country for hosting purpose. “

“So if we have enough capacities at the Rack Data Centre, I see no reason why Nigerians should be spending so much money to host organisation’s data outside the shores of the country. So I encourage Rack Centre to expand the storage capacity and I also encourage Nigerians to take advantage of what we have in the country, instead of looking elsewhere outside the country, which of course amounts to developing other economies at the detriment of the Nigerian economy,” Shittu said.

Highlighting key areas on how best to encourage Nigerians to partronise existing data centres in the country, the minister said government would continue to draw the attention of Nigerians to support local content policy, which demands that organisations and industries in Nigeria, including government agencies, must patronise locally developed products from Nigeria.

He said government would create the enabling environment for business to thrive and that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one area of business that is lucrative and dynamic that needs government attention and support.

“I have visited Korea, Japan, United States of America and other world industrial areas, I have come to realise that what drives those economies is ICT and we must begin to replicate that in Nigeria. Most countries that are developed never had oil. They focused on ICT to grow their economies, and ICT is one industry that does not need huge capital to begin the business, since it is a thing of intellectual property. So the Nigerian government is prepared to develop ICT because it is one sector that could generate so much money that Oil, Agriculture, and Mining cannot give us,” the minister said.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Rack Centre, Rack Centre, Mr. Ayotunde Coker, applauded the minister for his observation and comments and explained that the company has already doubled its capacity from 199 racks to 225 racks to enable more ornnisations host their data with Rack Centre.

“We can also expand our capacity to 600 racks, depending on demand, because we have the facilities to do that. Going forward, we intend to build a world class data centre capacity of over 3000 racks in the next four years. We have the blue print and we can to provide that capacity for the country,” Coker said.

The Group Co-CEO of Jagal Group, Rack Centre’s parent company, Mr. Maher Jarmakani, said: “Jagal Group is committed to continual increase of the capacity of the Rack Centre as it views data as being strategic to the development of not only Nigeria but the African continent.”