IT Professionals Urge Buhari to Implement Digital Economy Strategy

0

Emma Okonji

Information Technology (IT) professionals in Nigeria, made up Computer Professionals Registration Council Professionals of Nigeria (CPN) and the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), recently paid have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to effectively implement the country’s digital economy strategy, in order to boost local content development and youth employment.
The said this during a courtesy visit to president in Abuja.

President/Chairman of Council at CPN, Prof. Charles Uwadia and the President of NCS, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, who led the delegation of IT professionals, stressed the need for the presidency to effectively implement the digital economy strategies of the country, in order to stimulate innovation, research and development in the indigenous software production ecosystem.

The IT professionals were of the view that ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government should be directed to give priority to the computerisation of their key processes and activities. According to them, “Automation of all government operations starting with the front end can be completed in one year. At least a recognised IT Professional must be member of the Boards and Councils of all MDAs.

“This will accelerate the nation’s move towards a digital economy by ensuring appropriate and effective deployment of IT for governance.”
In his presentation, Uwadia called for full support of IT Professionals, while seeking for the intervention President Buhari for the recognition of Computer Professional Examination certificates, explaining that the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation has been handling the recognition process, which has been on since 2008.

“Recognised professionals must be the Head of all government IT departments and units at the Federal, State and LGA levels. A major requirement for appointing an individual as Director or its equivalent should be CPN/NCS membership,” Uwadia said.

In the area of support for local content development and youth empowerment, Uwadia said: “In order to create 1.5 million jobs in IT sector in the next two years, the federal government should impose a Software Import Tax of an amount to be determined by the appropriate government authorities on all software imported into Nigeria.

“The fund from this tax regime should be used to fund local software development activities in Nigeria. It is also important to mandate all foreign ICT companies to establish Local Research and Development Laboratories in Nigeria.
“There is need for the establishment of Credit Guarantee Scheme by the government to support working capital credit extension to qualified ICT firms in Nigeria.

“This will increase youth employment and return on investment. Banks should reserve a percentage of their loan portfolio for technological research and development thereby ensuring that 60 per cent of their digital processes is made up of local content,” Uwadia told Buhari.

He equally called on Buhari to establish a model IoT- based Agriculture in all the zones of the country. The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Ministry of Agriculture and the IT Professionals, Uwadia said, could be saddled with the responsibility, adding that the economic diversification strategy can yield over N10 trillion annually and contribute over 15 per cent to the national GDP.

The IT Professionals said communications technology is a tool for empowerment of Nigerians and eradicating poverty.
“It also has the potential of contributing significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), especially at this period when we have started looking beyond Fossil Oil for the economic survival of the nation.

“The most listed top ten companies in the world today are in the IT sector, and it has been projected that the global information technology industry is on a pace to reach $5.2 trillion in 2020.
“The enormity of the industry is staggering. Economies, jobs, private lives are becoming more digital, more connected, more automated.”