NCS Tasks FG on Economic Growth, Sustainability

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Emma Okonji

The President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesola Aderounmu has called on the federal government to use technology to raise modern manpower that could sustainably drive the nation’s economy.

Aderounmu gave the advice recently, in a keynote address at the first International Conference on ICT for National Development and Sustainability, organised by the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Ilorin, to mark its 10th anniversary.
The advice came as the World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim said that Nigeria and other economies in Africa are not showing enough commitment to compete in a digital world.

Kim made the observation at the just concluded World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, United States, In his lecture, titled “Leveraging ICT for National Development and its Sustainability”, Aderounmu who doubles as the Head of Department, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), raised the concern that the country’s economy has not fully embraced technology as its driving force. He said nearly 90 per cent of technologies used in Nigeria are imported despite the huge knowledge infrastructure of 162 legally recognised universities, 125 polytechnics and more than 500 government agencies.

The NCS President said, “It is sad that after 57 years of independence, Nigeria has failed to come up with neither a globally recognised company nor product originating from Nigerian indigenous technology because the national economy has not been technology-driven.”
Aderounmu called on the federal government to develop the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry through research centres, technology parks and incubators, provision of reliable and affordable infrastructure and provision of fiscal incentives for indigenous software developers.

He further suggested that the government could develop the sector through the creation of a special fund to assist start-up businesses as well as grow existing developers, enactment of a law that mandates government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to patronise indigenous software while mandating the immediate implementation of the approved scheme of service for Information Technology (IT) professionals.

While recommending that priority should be given to registered IT professionals in the award of IT contracts in the country, Aderounmu equally tasked the academia to promote productive collaborations and partnerships both internal and external and create learning opportunities for the students.

“The system of mentoring, apprenticeship and tutelage, which existed in the past should be re-introduced and strengthened. Split-site arrangements should be encouraged to enable young researchers to be acquainted with new trends globally. Spend a considerable portion of the yearly budget on global promotion activities,” Aderounmu advised government.

While declaring the conference open, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, assured the participants that the university would do everything possible to ensure conferences are successfully held in the institution.
He submitted that conferences are crucial to the students’ development and growth as it gives them exposure and cross-fertilisation of ideas, adding that students should be invited in large numbers to attend conferences.

Abdulkareem revealed that discussion is ongoing to mobilise the faculty leaders and talented students to work together to house the university’s ICT incubation room that will automate the entire university processes.