Nigeria needs to focus more on developing its local content, which has been seen as a veritable source of growing its economy, fostering FDI and developing globally competitive skills within the country.
This was the consensus by stakeholders at the Quarterly Forum organized by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA).
The Forum, with its theme as “Local Content Development in Nigeria’s ICT Sector: Stimulant For National Economic Recovery”, sought stakeholders’ views on how to viably harness Nigeria’s local content and leverage it for sustainable growth.
Speaking at the forum, Coordinator, Association of Information Communication Technology Local Content (ICTLOCA), Adebunmi Adeola Akinbo, noted that the federal government has a big role to play in ensuring that fueling local content will generate growth in the economy.
According to him, while ensuring the encouragement of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), there is a greater need to use local content as a stimulant to economic recovery through policies and guidelines formation, consumer protection and knowledge transfer by multinationals and Nigerian business community.
Other steps that will guarantee this growth include collaborations between public sector organizations; collaborations between Private sector bodies; building a Private–Public–Partnership on local content policing and formulating strategies and taking action on them.
Also speaking, Director-General of Delta State Innovative Hub, Mr. Chris Uwaje noted that funding and galvanizing Innovations in the country is an exclusive preserve of the federal government. He explained that until governments realize that they should provide the resources for incubating innovations, and thereby own the intellectual rights, the country may not achieve the full benefit of its human resource in ICT.
Mr. Uwaje observed the need for innovative hubs to be built in all states of the federation to harness ICT skills and develop products and services that will be exportable. He further noted that more focus should be placed on services. “Services constitute two-thirds of IT ecosystem. Services should not be outsourced.”
While advocating that Research & Development should be of close focus, Mr. Uwaje said 10 percent of the budget should be domiciled in the country and made available for the development of ICT.
In his view, the 2nd Vice President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Chief Executive of eStream Networks, Engr. Muyiwa Ogungboye spoke on the need to develop the local content market and empower innovators.
Chief Technology Officer and Executive Director of SystemSpecs, a major sponsor of the Forum, Dr. Emmanuel Eze, applauded the idea behind the forum organized by NITRA and said that there is a need to build the local industry to contribute to content in the ICT sector.
The NITRA Quarterly Forum focuses on issues that can engineer growth in the ICT industry, and brings stakeholders together to map out a strategy.