As Nigerians celebrate 56 years of independence, members of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), have expressed their displeasure over the country’s slow development in software application and innovation, which they said was supposed to be the main driver of the Nigerian economy.
The members, who spoke through their president, Mr. Olorogun James Emadoye, during independence anniversary lecture in Lagos, said at 56 years of independence, Nigeria has little to show in the area of software development and applications, blaming the situation on government’s unwillingness to support the software industry, like it is done in developed countries of the world.
Emadoye therefore called on government to expedite action in putting in place, policies and their implementation that will bring about quality support for a sector where there are willing and talented people that could develop software applications of global brand that would attract huge revenue for Nigeria and its citizens.
To address the situation of total neglect for the software industry, Emadoye called on government to develop national policies and strategies on software, digital security and Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoTs). He also called for the empowerment of youths and the new creative class; devoting great interest to promoting digital games with African content; engaging and facilitating access to mobile broadband technology, which he said, were sure ways of unlocking the potentials of young Nigerians that are digitally ready to put the country on the right path.
“It is in the light of the above that I humbly wish to recommend to the Nigeria government, the need to make e-Government skill acquisition mandatory for all government policy makers, strategists and political leaders to drive social inclusiveness; the need to establish software development fund through the Bank of Industry (BOI) to be administered by the BOI at an interest rate/management fees less than five per cent for software companies and professionals towards developing capacity, attaining standardisation and packaging made in Nigeria software to international standards,” Emadoye said.
He also recommended the establish special state IT-Innovation Research Laboratories on indigenous software development and future technologies and embedded systems, focused on Internet of Things (IoT).
He said there was also need for government to establish National Software Development Fund (NSDF) to build and estimated 500,000 software developers in three years as large scale Information Technology (IT) workforce, as well as empower entrepreneurs, startups, and IT professionals.
While congratulating Nigeria on her 56th independence anniversary, Emadoye said in 1960, Nigeria’s population was 45.21 million but that the number has grown to over 180 million, which is about a 400 per cent increase.
He, however, said the best way to manage the current population of the country, is for government to allow software to play a critical role as harbinger of economic and technological development.
“As Nigeria moves into the 21st century, its wealth creation dynamics and international competitiveness will be significantly influenced by her ability to develop, measure and exploit her intellectual capital (IP) in information technology, innovation and creativity in the area of software development,” Emadoye said.
He added that ISPON would continue to engage government on the need to support made in Nigeria products particularly software, which is capable of providing millions of employment to young Nigerians. Software is strategically essential if not mandatory for Nigeria to resolve her current and future economic challenges. “Today, the world of Innovation has become the pathway to disruptive technology platforms for re-engineering the blueprint for smarter processes,” he said.
“ISPON’s understanding is that our national economic and social crisis can only be meaningfully resolved, if conscious and adequate protection and patronage are accorded to indigenous products,” he added.
According to him, million dollar paid out for software solutions would have created several employment opportunities for the teaming jobless Nigerian youth when such money is spent in acquiring made in Nigeria software products.