This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria's ICT Industry Is Still Underdeveloped

President, Institute of software practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Chris Uwaje, has called on stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry to rethink on strategies to develop the sector in 2013.

In a telephone conversation with THISDAY, Uwaje expressed regrets that the sector did not achieve any form of development in spite of the growth recorded in 2012. He said Nigeria's core competence is in Software knowledge industry, which he said must be harnessed to drive the industry and the economy as a whole.

According to him, in accessing ICT in Nigerian in the year 2012, there is the need to look at the past before evaluating the future. Year 2012 was seen as a saturation point of a false foundation to the sustainable development of ICT in the country.

Uwaje said: "The saturation point analysis is derived from the point of view that Nigeria recorded ICT growth in 2012, but there was no development, just as lessons learned from macro -economics, that there can be growth without development.

He added: "Nigeria's core competence is not in Heavy Technology Industry, but on Software Knowledge Industry, which means that 2012 can be seen as a blessing for Nigeria to rethink her ICT development strategy as an urgent, critical imperative because no nation succeeds in her ICT development without a central focus on its core competence".

Uwaje however predicted that 2013 should be a great year for ICT in Nigeria, provided the major stakeholders see the right vision and obey the core competence theory.

The ISPON president emphasised that although predicting the future of global ICT landscape may be nearly impossible, it is worthy for the nation to work with the right vision.

"Any country in the world is capable of mastering her ICT destiny provided she concentrate on developing infrastructure and skilled capacities to promote her core competences and domestic market requirements as a precondition for mastering the export market," he said.

Uwaje posited that within the context of this evaluation, Nigeria has a great chance to compete with the rest of the world viewed from the perspective of her potential resources in High School and University Graduates coupled with her ability to speak and communicate in the English Language.

According to him, the software industry in Nigeria has been given limited attention by policy makers and other stakeholders, thus the country is heavily dependent on foreign software, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of all software used in Nigeria. The country, he added, must not be left behind on the race of climaxing on ICT with the rest of the world, and must play on its vision the right way.

He canvasses that Software Strategy, Policy and Legislation be accorded highest priority in all sectors, as it will create an estimated 3 million jobs and fire the national economy. He also suggested that the ministry, operators and stakeholders must adopt the strategy towards strengthening the campaign in the country.

"This is undergoing a massive in formation because our national content, from e-Government to National Database, to Digital Education, Digital Litigation process, Digital Transportation, Digital Urban planning and Residency Data/ National Identity Information System are in Crisis which can only be resolved by Software", he said.

Uwaje noted that India recognised the great potential inherent in software long ago and are working to resolve the crises. If Nigeria does not accelerate her engagement to promote and develop Indigenous Software (Software Nigeria), our information crisis with multiple into what I had described many years back in my book "e-Knowledge - time is Running Out" as 'Information Overload'.

"With over 100 million Mobile Phones, we may have failed if we cannot fire the sector with Nigeria Content/Software," he reiterated.

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