By Emma Okonji
The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), an advocacy group and umbrella body of all Information Technology (IT) professionals in Nigerian has reacted to a recent statement credited to the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on the plans by NITDA to register and license all IT contractors in Nigeria.
In a statement released by NCS and signed by its President, Prof. Adesola Aderounmu, the NCS kicked against the plan by NITDA to register and license IT professionals, insisting it is not within its mandate to do so.
The Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), it was gathered, is mandated by law to register all IT professionals in the country, and any attempt for another agency of government to embark on IT registration, will likely bring about conflict of roles and interest.
Part of the statement released by NCS stated: “Our attention has been drawn to a policy statement released by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Director General, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami on the 12th February, 2018 which on general principle is to register and license all IT contractors in Nigeria. Our position is that this is not part of NITDAâ€™s mandate because as the name suggests this agency is to plan, promote and develop regulatory framework and guidelines as stated in NITDA Act 2007, section 6a.”
The statement further said that Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) Act 49 of 1993 is saddled with the mandate to register, license, supervise and control the profession as stated in CPN Act section 1 (2).
The said statement is capable of confusing the general public to create an uncoordinated approach to policy issues and both Acts of Parliament as stated earlier. NCS is of the belief that NITDAâ€™s mandate is to ensure seamless cooperation and interaction towards the use of IT as a development tool for the country.
According to Aderounmu, “NCS commends the approach and wisdom of the Presidential Executive Order 005 of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, which emphasizes professionalism. The Public Procurement Act 2007 with particular reference to section 19 if properly implemented will promote best practices professionally. On a related note CPN Act section 22, states that failure to engage professional practitioners is an offence in Nigeria punishable under the Act.”
He therefore advised NITDA not to embark on registering and licensing of IT contractors and service providers activities and instead concentrate on developmental issues which he said, could be jointly achieved collaboratively.
“CPN is the only agency with the mandate to register and license IT professionals and contractors in Nigeria,” Aderounmu said.
NITDA had on Monday this week, issued a statement signed by Pantami, that it has put measures in place to register and license all Information Technology (IT) Contractors and Service Providers for the purposes of procurements, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and other forms of engagement with government establishments and Private Sector.
According to NITDA statement, â€œThe Agency is dismayed at the raising number of failing IT projects within federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and other government establishments. NITDAâ€™s investigations revealed that over 90 per cent of IT projects in MDAs and other government establishments failed and more than 95 per cent of their security is compromised, hence the need for NITDA to commence registration.”
â€œIn order to curtail this and in line with the Agencyâ€™s mandate and the recent Presidential Executive Order 005 for Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts and Science, Engineering and Technology, as mandated by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, the registration and licensing of IT Contractors and Service providers has become expedient.”
But in a quick reaction, NCS said NITDA has no mandate to register IT professionals, and must desist from doing so.