The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu has re-emphasised government’s readiness to re-validate its directive on the patronage of locally produced Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and services by the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as a means of promoting local content in the sector.
He said there would be no excuse for MDAs not to patronise indigenous ICT products and services because local content is vital in achieving the overriding mandate of economic diversification and empowerment of the ICT ecosystem in the country.
According to the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Victor Oluwadamilare, the Minister restated government’s readiness, while declaring open a plenary at the Afritex ICT Export Industrial Forum and Expo 2016, held on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Minister defined local content as the amount of incremental value added or created in Nigeria through the utilisation of Nigerian human and material resources for the provision of goods and services in the ICT industry within acceptable quality and standards in order to stimulate the development of indigenous capabilities.
He asserted that the patronage is aimed to achieve the development of local skills, technology transfer, use of local manpower and manufacturing and that it would have a triple effect to increase demand, thereby creating jobs and contribute to the job and wealth creation component of the government’s ‘Change’ mantra.
Shittu disclosed that Nigeria is ceding about 70 per cent of the country’s technology market to foreign brands due to apathy for locally made products thereby losing about $2.8billion yearly to the continued importation of ICT hardware and services as capital flights from the country.
This, he stated, spurred the government to put in place policies and implementation that would bring recognition to indigenous creativity and protect Intellectual Property emphasising that the Local Content Policy and guideline will be enforced to the letter.
“The Local Content Development Policy will be implemented to protect indigenous players in the industry and the ministry will galvanise right policies that will see to the need of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Let me emphasise very strongly that government’s role is to provide an enabling environment within a free market economy,” Shittu said.
According to the Minister, the federal government has expressed its readiness to boost local content in the ICT sector in order to make it compete favourably in the global market. The ministry had in March 2016 held a workshop in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on stakeholders’ compliance on the procurement of ICT products and services under the local content guidelines by MDAs, Shittu said.
He added that the federal government moved to replicate the successful implementation of the Nigerian Content Policy in the oil and gas industry and other key sectors of the economy with the setting up of the Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT.
Berating the high consumption rate of imported ICT goods and services into the country, Shittu said, “under my watch, Nigeria will not be a dumping ground for all forms of technologies.”
He commended the resolution of leading computer manufacturing companies in Nigeria to come under an umbrella body called Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON) with the aim of working with all relevant stakeholders to grow the capacity of Nigeria computer manufacturers. This, he said, would generate increased employment, strengthen the Naira and grow our local economy.”