17 January 2013

Nigeria: Nitda Releases Funds to Boost Local Software in Varsities

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has released the endowment fund it promised three tertiary institutions for the development of local software in Nigeria.

NITDA's Director-General, Professor Cleopas Angaye, had last year, promised to give financial rewards to winners of the students' software competition organised by the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) at the Tinapa Business Resort Centre in Calabar, Cross River State.

Apart from the agency's donation, Angaye also sponsored a category of the software competition and promised a personal donation to winners of that category. In fulfilling the promises made, Angaye recently released the sum of N6.25 million to the institutions and group that emerged winners. The money was handed over to them in Abuja recently. Two universities and a polytechnic received the NITDA endowment which involves the provision of financial assistance to these tertiary institutions for the development of software. The endowment will run for five years.

The institutions were selected based on their performance during a national software development competition for tertiary institutions held in Calabar.

Abia State Polytechnic in Aba received NITDA endowment for being the winner of the Software Design Architecture at the competition. The Federal University of Technology Minna also received NITDA endowment for Software development per excellence conferred on the overall winner at the competition.

NITDA's DG's also gave his personal award for the Best Open Source Software of the Year. The award went to the Federal University of Technology Akure.

While presenting the financial awards to the recipients, Angaye said the awards were given as part of NITDA's measures in promoting the growth of software development in the ICT sector in the country as well as encouraging ICT local content development for wealth creation. It is also in continuation of its public-private-partnership model of ensuring that Nigeria becomes a key player in the global ICT industry. "On a personal note, I decided to take up the sponsorship of the Best Open Source Software of the Year award due to my profession as a software practitioner and the need to encourage the discovery of globally competitive critical mass of other software engineers in Nigeria" Angaye said.

He explained that no country could develop and compete at the global level in the information age without adequate and sound software base, adding that the software industry is no doubt of utmost importance to future competitiveness for economies across the globe especially with its halo effect in creating related business opportunities.

According to him, a study of the economic impact of the software industry in Southeast Asian countries has showed that there was a conservative multiplying economic effect of about 1.7 for upstream and downstream industries. Angaye said the target of the stakeholders in the IT sector in Nigeria was to ensure that the sector contributes immensely to the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as compared to the Oil and Gas sector in the not too distance future.

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