In compliance with the President’s Executive Order on local content adoption in all Federal government’s projects, a high powered delegation from the National Population Commission, NPC, at the weekend visited BETA Computers factory in Lagos.
The task force on the 2023 census led by Hon Federal Commissioner, Dr. Clifford Zirra, included three Federal Commissioners, the Director General, four Directors, and two other Managers.
The visit to the BETA’s factory in Lagos come on the heels of the NPC’s commitment to fully comply with the President’s Executive Order on local content adoption in all Federal government’s projects.
After the welcome address by BETA Computers Managing Director, Will Anyaegbunam, the company’s Board Chair, Mr. Isaac Orolugbabe, in his speech, while commending the NPC team for the visit, stressed the need for the commission to promote the development and growth of all the certified indigenous computer manufacturers so as to avoid a monopoly.
He added that “While government monopoly is bad, private monopoly is worse as competition will lead to more benefits and reduced cost to consumers”.
In his response, the leader of the NPC team, Dr. Zirra stated that the need to visit BETA’s factory which is one of the three indigenous computer manufacturing companies certified by the government for her local content development programme, is to see for themselves local PCs assembler’s facilities to ensure that they are partnering with the right company that has the capacity to deliver on their orders timely.
He confirmed to the board and management of BETA, in the presence of pressmen and stakeholders that were on hand to cover the auspicious visit, that “the Commission is on the verge of making history with the conducting of the very first digital census in Nigeria and possibly on the African continent by April 2023”.
He further revealed that they have conducted several successful pre counts and now gearing up to deliver same success during the main 2023 census based on digital technologies using international standard mobile devices.
The NPC team was taken on a tour of the factory by BETA’s team led by the MD, Will Anyaegunam who explained in details the operations with great emphasis on the high quality of the company’s SPEEDSTAR brand of computer devices.
He stated that SPEEDSTAR, BETA’s computer brand, was acclaimed by the regulatory bodies as the best quality device of all the indigenous brands in several government projects, including the 2018 N-Power project that was funded by the Bank of Industry and managed by the Office of the Vice President.
During the factory tour, the NPC team extensively engaged the BETA team on production and funding capacity.
Anyaegunam, while responding, informed the team that two commercial banks had earlier written to them on their behalf that they are ready to fund NPC orders for the 2023 census exercise.
On production capacity, the MD confirmed that between BETA’s factory in Lagos and her associated partners’ factories in Nigeria, has the capacity for over 150,000 devices within 12 weeks of NPC orders.
On after-sales support questions, BETA’s MD confirmed that the company has partners in all the major cities around the nation that provides support service for her devices.
He stressed that the company and her partners hold buffer stocks of devices for replacement of any faulty devices to ensure minimal operational down time on any faulty device.
After the extensive factory tour, the DG, Mr. Tellson Osifo noted that they were impressed with what they have seen and heard.
He added: We can see that there is indeed local content taking place here.” He assured that they were not only favourably disposed to partnering with BETA on just the 2023 census as a one off thing, but also on their continuous enumeration program that will be on-going thereafter.
He stressed NPC’s commitment to the development of local content in IT to provide gainful employment for Nigeria’s teaming youths.
A Federal Commissioner in the NPC team, Hon Darlington Okereke, stated in his speech that the commission was committed to delivering a controversy-free census with no room for mistakes which is why they opted for a digital census and to use technology.
He added: “We are happy to get these devices in Nigeria. If we get them in Nigeria, why go outside? That will amount to capital flight. We need this money in Nigeria rather than flying it outside this country!”