This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Senate, It Experts Challenge FG On Local Content

The Senate has joined forces with Information Technology (IT) experts in the country to challenge government on the need to increase her drive for local content development.

They gave the challenge in Lagos at the recent hosting of the visiting Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Denzil Douglas, from the Caribbean Island. Zinox Group of Companies played the hosting rights.

According to them, for Nigeria to join the league of developed economies, she must develop stronger economic policies on local content development.

The IT experts insisted that Nigeria remained blessed with the needed human and material resources, which if well managed, could boost the growth of the economy.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said "Nigeria is blessed with local content, which could be harnessed into economic development."

He urged government to take advantage of the opportunity and not allow it to be to be destroyed or wasted, stressing that Nigerians must exhibit the care attitude.

He said the Senate would continue to work to ensure more conducive business development in the Nigerian environment.

In his remarks, Chairman of Zinox Group, Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh said stronger economic policies would make the country more competitive, adding that the country would thrive better if the environment could be more business friendly.

Ekeh said a more diversified economy would enhance the country's growth strategy.

President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Dr. Chris Uwaje, said Nigeria should aspire to have a knowledge economy, driven by improved local content development.

"Software development portends a competitive edge for the country. Nigeria can generate billions of revenue if we can get the policies right, which will drive the country's knowledge economy vision. ICT remains the future and we must create space for its development," Uwaje said.

Speaking on the imperative for Nigeria to diversify her economy, Chairman, Nigeria Academy of Sciences, Prof. Ayo Ibidapo Obe, stressed that there was need to have policies that would connect various growth in the country.

Obe who was of the opinion that Nigeria should stop importing, said "we must be challenged to produce if the country must be respected. Nigeria has no excuse for under development. Nigeria has several islands of excellence. Government must create policies that will connect these islands so that we can move forward and ensure we have a place among the best 20 economies of the world in the year 2020. Presently, only few of the best economies are ahead of us, so we have the opportunity, if well harnessed, to join the league of developed economies."

The visiting Prime Minister urged Nigeria to focus on local content development in diversifying its economy. He said "with the Zinox legacy, there is hope for Nigeria in the areas of technology development, and Africa needs genuine and sincere entrepreneurs who will help the continent to free the people from poverty and superstition."

He added "Africa needs entrepreneurs who will challenge the dominance of technology by the developed economies of the world. The Zinox Group is definitely a step in the right direction and this Group would enhance the profile of Nigeria in the digital world."

Narrating the experience of his country, which is known for sugar Agriculture since the 17th Century, Douglas said the country had to diversify its economy in 2005, after discovering the power of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

According to him, "the new economy is fuelled by ICT services, and the new economy of St. Gibson and other islands on the Caribbean thrives on the power of ICT. In St. Kitts and Nevies, we have just distributed laptops to all students in the country, all in a move to transform and create a digital economy."

The Publisher, Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka, said Nigeria could be better if the country could have a little more of good governance.

Amuka, while canvassing support for indigenous firms, said, "The skills are in Nigeria. The country can be better with a little good governance from the government. We need to encourage our local companies to develop."

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