Tuesday, 15 July 2014

FG Moves to Replicate Nigerian Content in ICT Sector.

Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson
The federal government has moved to replicate the successful implementation of the Nigerian Content policy in the oil and gas industry in other key sectors of the economy with the setting up of the Office of National Content (ONC) in the Ministry of Communications Technology.
The ONC will operate as a programme of the National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), an agency in the Ministry of Communications Technology and also work closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), so as to leverage the successes, lessons, guidelines and templates conceived and implemented successfully in the oil and gas industry.
Inaugurating the Advisory Board for the ONC of ICT in Lagos recently, the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, stated that with "the aggressive growth in the Nigerian ICT industry, contributing 8.53 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the third quarter of 2013, it was obvious that the industry deserved the design and execution of a well thought out local content policy.”
She noted that the country currently has the image of a continuing compulsive consumer of ICT products from other parts of the world, adding that this needed to be addressed.
Citing examples with personal computers, she said Nigerians preferred foreign brands with HP and Dell accounting for 60 per cent of approximately 750,000 pcs sold in Nigeria in 2012 while indigenous original equipment manufacturers accounted for about 20 per cent of this number.
According to her, this scenario is compounded by the perception that existing local ICT hardware manufacturers produce poor quality, expensive and uncompetitive products.
But rather than worry about the challenges, she described those challenges as significant opportunities for the ICT local content policy.
“We have crafted into our guidelines defined steps for our OEMs to recapitalize significantly so as to enable them provide significantly improved after-sales support, warranty support and customer service.  We have also encouraged the OEMs to collaborate in providing these back office and front office support mechanisms so that economics of scale can be achieved and more jobs created,” she said
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Ernest Nwapa, lauded the minister for setting up the ONC in the ICT sector, describing it as an affirmation of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s firm belief in the contribution of local content to the growth of the national economy.
He noted that the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke had directed the NCDMB to stimulate the participation of other sectors of the economy sectors like power, construction and agriculture in the Nigerian Content implementation.
He also credited Madueke for the capacities that had been developed in Nigerian Content Act, which can be leveraged by other sectors so that maximum benefits can be derived for the economy.
Nwapa expressed confidence that the ONC will help unlock the enormous potentials inherent in the local ICT sector, create thousands of jobs within the sector and position Nigerian ICT companies to provide services and equipment to government, the oil and gas industry and other key sectors of the economy.
He promised that the NCDMB would work closely with ONC to ensure that it takes off successfully and avoid the pitfalls experienced at the start of the Nigerian Content policy in the oil and gas sector.
Nwapa noted that the board’s recently launched a linkage programme with key agencies of government aimed to institutionalise a platform for information exchange on ways and means of harnessing the resources of individual agencies towards developing local content and support Federal Government’s drive for employment generation, in-country value addition and overall economic transformation.
“We observed from feedback that unless we expand the basket and adopt local content guidelines in other sectors of the economy, the nation will not get the optimum benefits,” he said.
Source - THISDAY

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