28 April 2011

Nigeria: Stakeholders Task Jonathan On ICT Deployment in Governance

Stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector have urged the President Goodluck Jonathan, to embrace ICT in tackling the issues bedevilling the nation.

Describing ICT as a panacea to some of the nation's problems, the President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria ISPON, Dr Chris Uwaje, in a chat with THISDAY said anything done by the president that is not ICT-related would fail.

He added that until the president gives preference to ICT issues, he will not be able to conquer the challenges facing the nation.

Uwaje said that in all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, oil and gas, trading, manufacturing, banking, ICT was a change agent that could be used in solving the nation's problems.

He also added that the president must make power generation, his number one priority if the country was to make any headway. He added that Nigeria needed to be migrated from a muscle society into a machine society where creativity is deployed to solve the nation's problems.

Uwaje also said that the president should work with stakeholders to set up broadband projects across the country. Other developed economies, he stressed, were using ICT to drive development across all sectors of their economies and Nigeria should not be left behind.

Also, the President of the Association of Licensed Telecoms operators, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo urged President Jonathan to tackle the issue of stability in the policy environment of the nation.

He said when people have confidence in the policy of government, there was an incentive to invest. He emphasised that technology was a change agent, changing all global economies and Nigeria should be part of that change.

He said the issue of human capital development should be addressed by the president because a lack of it hindered the growth of not just the telecoms sector, but all other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

He added that the president-elect should consolidate efforts to improve power generation in the country because high cost of telecoms services was traceable to inadequate power supply in the polity.

Similarly, the President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu, urged President Jonathan to sincerely and genuinely address the issue of inadequate power supply in the country because the telecommunications sector needed a radically-improved public power supply.

Omo-Ettu added that if the problems of the telecoms sector were weighted, energy took 70percent.

He added that unknown to the public, 40 percent of telecommunication licensees which commenced business at the turn of liberalisation in 1993 had closed shop for reasons of erratic power supply.

He said the government should begin to realize that, not all problems have exclusive requirement of money and should stop 'throwing money' at the energy problem. He said that sincere liberalisation should be allowed to take root in the sector.

Omo-Ettu said true liberalisation, not mega billions of dollars of Nigeria's money will help in sorting out the energy sector, in the same way the problems of the telecoms sector was solved.

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