27 December 2012

Nigeria: NOTAP Advocates Local Synergy to Develop Standard Software

The need for synergy among local software developers in the country has been emphasised, if Nigeria must rise up to the challenges of developing standard software that will meet local and international needs.

Director-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. Umar Bindir, who dropped the hint, told THISDAY that there was need for government to first identify local software developers in the country and find out what exactly they are developing, in order to create a synergy that would make them more productive in meeting local needs of software users in the country.

"The main challenge is that developers are so scattered and everybody is just doing one thing or the other without coordination. It is the coordination that will indicate our strength and the opportunities existing in our economy. So NOTAP as part of the government system will continue to advocate and take the feasible steps to ensure that the synergy emerges," Bindir told THISDAY.

Addressing the issue of low patronage of local software, Bindir advised software developers in the country to first target good and viable markets such as providing powerful database software that is in line with the country's development needs at all levels, insisting there is need to develop education software that can address the challenges of the Nigeria education system at all levels.

"We should also take notice on the need to digitise our entertainment system such as developing games and cartoon software to take advantage of our vast local folk stories and Nollywood creativities. On all these, we must ensure that the software are standard and of good quality and should not be expensive," he said.

Reacting to non-patronage of local software by corporate organisations and multinationals operating in Nigeria, Bindir said unless Nigeria would begin to brand its own software, by giving support to local software developers, foreign companies would not leave us alone to develop to the next level.

According to him, "literally this is happening because we are not conscious of the power of branding. We too must brand our software intensely and ensure that our people remember these outputs seriously. We have done it with the Nigerian movies, which now have literally replaced the taste for American movies. We should carefully study this and use it on software," Bindir said.

He explained that Nigeria was losing so much to non-patronage of local software, in not just monetary value, but also in employment opportunities, as well as in the opportunity for gradual learning and maturing. "Unless we patronise our things and learn from their shortages while observing where others have gotten it right, we will continue running in circles where we are dwelling in serious challenges of poverty, unemployment, low development while our economy is run by foreign knowledge."

"All these in my opinion are why the government coined the present development strategy on TRANSFORMATION, meaning that we must wake up and do things differently recognising that this country can be great quickly. The Vision 20-2020 is achievable only if we believe in this country and take the drastic steps to ensure that its domestic efforts are supported and patronised innovatively," Bindir said.

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