Mr Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, Managing Director, Nigeria Inter bank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS) has asked technology sector to develop minimum quality standard for indigenous software to rid the Nigerian market of sub-standard products.
The Managing Director of NIBSS wants government and stakeholders in the information and communication technology sector to accord priority to standardisation to grow the local software sector.
According to him, indigenous technology companies still walk a tight rope with convincing everyday Nigerians that their product can compete favourably with global software brands.
”We need to work on certification of software products in Nigeria. If you talk to businessmen in Nigeria, many have stories to tell. Many have taken the risk to use local content and at the end of the day, they get hurt”, he said Friday at the Institute of Software Practitioner of Nigeria (ISPON) Presidential Dinner that attracted key players in the ICT industry, government and media professionals.
”In my view, government needs to see how software can be certified with label to say this has met minimum quality such that people would have confidence in buying our product”, he told the gathering in Lagos.
Folashodun, represented by Niyi Ajao Director, Technology and Operation at NIBSS, noted that quality of work done in the software developed in Nigeria have improved dramatically.
However, he urged key players in the sector to move a step further to ensure that there product stand side-by-side with Tier 1 brands.
”I am proud to say working with local software developers at NIBSS, we are pleased with the level of their output and I would encourage them to do more”, he adds.
Enforcement of local content law in the ICT sector is expected to create opportunities for Nigerians to participate and also create jobs for the teeming population of unemployed Nigerians, he adds.
”If we must reduce unemployment in Nigeria, then we need to enforce local content policy” he adds.
According to him, the foreign brand is designed, most times, to meet the needs of people living in that locality where they are produced.
“In my own experience, when you buy those software and bring them here, at the end of the day, 50% of the functionality don’t apply in our environment”, he adds.
Meanwhile, the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) states that Nigeria loses over $1 billion annually to software importation.
In his submission Mr Pius Okigbo Jnr, President of ISPON said at this challenging and significant moment of the country’s national development, Nigeria was faced with the task of articulating and mastering its IT strategy as an effective response to the emerging information society.
“There is a new mantra currently headlining ‘Made-in-Nigeria.’ For this mantra to hold true, we must set aside our cultural inhibition and disdain for things that are made locally”, Okigbo told the audience.
According to the ISPON President, ”we must imbibe a new ethos for local content. We must believe in ourselves and in our abilities. On our own side, we must hold supreme the core principle of quality, integrity and knowledge to enable a merger of trust of the producer and of the consumers”, he adds.
On his part, Dr Vincent Olatunji, the acting Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) told the forum that Nigeria’s economy is now struggling for survival in the face of oil price downturn, hence the ICT sector is the bail out of the whole crisis.
” We all know the state of our economy right now. Our 2016 Budget was prepared on $38 per barrel. That shows that we need alternative to oil in this country and one sector that can bail us out is the ICT sector and in fact, the software sub-sector is a great revenue earner for the government”, according to the NITDA boss.
He says that ”many advanced country that have done well in their ICT sector have leveraged on the potentials in software sub-sector to earn huge revenue.”
NITDA for collaboration between the private and public sector to ensure that the Nigeria ICT sector moves to an enviable height.
“All we need to do is to collaborate and that’s why we are here today to say our hands are open to collaboration”, Olatunji says.