‘Low Patronage of Local Software Will Stiffen Economic Growth’

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Emma Okonji

Software developer and producer of Notify App, a school management solution software, Mr. Abiola Oseni, has expressed concern that the Nigerian economy may experience stunted growth, should Nigerians and multinational companies operating in the country, continue to patronise foreign software at the detriment of locally developed software.

Oseni who expressed fears over the increasing rate of patronage of foreign software during an interview session with THISDAY, said such action, if not checked, could ground economic growth, especially in the area of local content development.

He therefore called on Nigerians to believe in homegrown software applications and patronise same, insisting that patronage will lead to improvement on the quality of the software solution.
“The mistakes that Nigerians are making by patronising foreign developed software, is that if they do not partronise locally developed software solution, then they are not giving the local developers the room to improve on their solutions. Unfortunately, the foreign products that they clamour for, do not meet their needs and the home demand, because those foreign software were developed based on the peculiarities of their own demand, and they do not consider the peculiar challenges that Nigerians have, while developing the solution,” Oseni said.

According to him, by the time Nigerians and the multinational companies that are currently operating in Nigeria, begin to patronise locally developed software solutions, the developers would continue to improve on their previous designs and modules, and that was how foreign software developers made their marks.

If the rising trend for the neglect of locally developed software continues, such act will gradually kill Nigerian economy, if little or no attention is given to local software developers.
“We need feedback, funding, and manpower development to grow the Nigerian software industry. If these are achieved, we will all have a better business environment, occasioned by better local software solutions that can compete favourably with foreign software solutions,” Oseni added.
Software developers in Nigeria have been groaning under poor patronage and they have cried out to government for possible bailout, a situation that prompted the federal government, to compel all government agencies to first consider patronage of local Information Technology (IT) products, before considering patronage of foreign products.

Although government meant well for local industries in the country by making such pronouncement, but government was reluctant to enforce it on companies and individuals who still patronise foreign IT products, including foreign developed software.

But just as local software developers are complaining of low patronage, the buyers are also complaining of low quality software developed in Nigeria and would not want to risk their businesses in the name of local patronage.

Reacting to the issue of low quality software products from Nigeria, Oseni told THISDAY that software development had always thrived on the platform of constant improvement on existing solutions, which he insisted, must come with support and patronage. He explained that the big foreign software products that have made their marks today, started small, with support from government in the areas of seed funding and policies that ended up protecting the solutions from undue competition. Oseni called on government to consider coming up with policies that would help protect locally developed software from any form of unfavorable competition.

Speaking about some software solutions developed and marketed in Nigeria, Oseni said he developed a solution called Notify App, which offers a complete suite of online based school management system, and comprises of smart payment system, smart testing system (CBT) for school admission and internal exams. He said the solution was developed based on quality and is currently being used in two other countries, aside Nigeria.