Having missed out in the first, second and third industrial revolutions as a country, the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has strongly advised Nigerians to rise up to the challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0.
In order to achieve the full benefit of the fourth industrial revolution that is currently sweeping across the globe, ISPON said Nigeria must ensure the training of sufficient human resource personnel and take full advantage of the utilisation of local content in line with the Executive Orders 003 and 005 of the federal government on local content development.
The President of ISPON, Olorogun James Emadoye, who gave the advice during the ISPON 2018 President Dinner in Lagos, said there had been so much neglect on local content development, especially in local software and hardware development as well as indigenous human resource growth in the country. He attributed the ugly development to the love for foreign products by Nigerians, at the detriment of locally developed products, which he said, negates the importance of the Executive Orders 003 and 005 that seek to support local content development across the country.
According to him, officials at all levels of government seem to believe that foreign products and foreign personnel are always better than the local ones.
“There was no plan on ground to gradually give a chance to local producers and contractors to improve on their skills. This has continued over several decades, but the recently signed Executive Orders by President Muhammadu Buhari, will finally begin to give local software industry and practitioners a chance to improve their skills and products, with minimal stifling competition from foreign firms,” Emadoye said.
“There should be equitable conditions if the foreign giants want to work with us. We are ready to work with them to develop our content. We can best create and write our programs, we can best apply standard databases and development tools, but our content must belong to us,” Emadoye posited.
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, represented by one of the directors at NITDA, highlighted the importance of local content development and capacity building for Nigeria. According to him, “It has been estimated that Nigeria will spend about N120 billion by the year 2020 on importation of foreign technologies, since about 80 per cent of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) hardware and software are imported into the country.”
The influx of foreign technologies into Nigeria has made our country a dumping ground for substandard technologies and this has to stop, Pantami said.
Commending ISPON on its theme: ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution-A Golden Opportunity for Nigeria’, Pantami said NITDA has developed strategic roadmap that is built around seven key areas that would address issues that are slowing down the growth of ICT in the country. He listed the strategic roadmap to include: Local content development, IT Regulation, Cybersecurity, Capacity Building, Government Digital Services, Digital job creation and Digital inclusion.