By Emma Okonji
The federal government has been urged to as a matter of urgency, encourage the local content in terms of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) goods and services, both in the public and private sectors.
The call was made by stakeholders at a forum organised by the Association of Information Communication Technology Local Content (ICTLOCA) in Lagos.
They stressed the need to abide by the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010.
The Act was enacted with the aim of providing for the development of indigenous content in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry by ensuring that priorities are given to indigenous companies. Section 12 of the Act stated that Nigerians are to be given first consideration for the provisions of goods and services in the sector, but industry stakeholders are worried that local content in terms of ICT goods and services are not being implemented in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy and have called on the federal government to enforce the law.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Mrs. Edith Udeagu, said
the NOGICD Act, in recognising the importance of ICT to the oil and gas sector, specifically in section 58 of the Act, mandated the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to set up Nigerian Content Consultative Forum (NCCF) in ICT, to provide platform for information sharing and collaboration in the oil and gas industry.
Udeagu also explained that the Executive Order 3 of the federal government mandated specifically all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government to grant preference to local manufacturers of goods and service providers in their procurement processes for a number of items including food and beverages, motor vehicles, ICT products, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, furniture and fittings, among others.
“The significance of the Executive Order is that preference would be given to locally manufactured ICT goods and services. It stated categorically that henceforth, 40 per cent of all ICT goods and services consumed by all MDA must be provided by Nigerian IT firms.
“As at today, not up to 40 per cent patronage of local ICT goods and services consumed by MDAs in Nigeria, has been achieved,” Udeagu said.
President, ICTLOCA, Mr. Adewale Akingbade, said the body has the mandate to ensure that all laws and policies of government are put in place to promote local content in ICT in the oil and gas sector of the Nigerian economy.
But, Akingbade, who was represented by who was represented by the Vice President, Mrs. Busayo Balogun, however called for collaboration with industry stakeholders to ensure full implementation of local content policies in the Oil and Gas sector.
The Secretary, ICTLOCA, Mr. Adebunmi Akinbo, said with the signing of the Executive Order 5 by the federal government, ICTLOCA has moved into the development and execution of the convergence of Executive Orders 3 and 5, to promote Local Content 4.0.
“The wealth of Executive Orders and Acts is the basic key to creating a strong foundation to build our advocacy, promote and protect the relevant creators, developers, entrepreneurs and business within the ICT Ecosystem.
“The Local Content 4.0 is designed to be a convergence of all stakeholders, professionals and artisans in the ICT industry to come together to brainstorm on topical issues and chart a way forward for effective implementation of Executive Orders on Local Content, Local Content Laws and highlight challenges faced by ICT,” Akinbo added.