1. Home
  2. Tech
  3. News
  4. Local content: Govt says foreign tech companies ‘have nothing to fear’ in Nigeria

Local content: Govt says foreign tech companies ‘have nothing to fear’ in Nigeria

Local content: Govt says foreign tech companies ‘have nothing to fear’ in Nigeria
0

The Federal Government says that foreign technology companies have nothing to fear under its ongoing local content drive to promote indigenous technologies across Nigeria.

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the nation’s IT agency says the ICT local content policy is not intended to discourage multinationals from doing business in Nigeria “but to encourage favourable competition among the local and foreign brands.”

Dr. Vincent Olatunji, Acting Director-General at NITDA who dropped the hint at a stakeholders’ forum on National Content Bye Laws in Kano State gave a rationale for the current local content drive in the Nigerian information and communication technology (ICT) industry.

Business activities seen underway at Ikeja Computer Village, the biggest market cluster in Nigeria
Business activities seen underway at Ikeja Computer Village, the biggest market cluster in Nigeria

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” bgcolor=”#” color=”#” bcolor=”#” arrow=”yes”]“The National Content Policy of the Federal Government is not in any way intended to stop or prevent multinationals from doing business in Nigeria; rather it is aimed at assisting the local IT products and services to compete favorably with the multinationals operating in Nigeria.”[/quote]Olatunji, represented by Barrister Lazarus Ikoti, Acting Director, Standard, Guidelines and Regulations said that, “the National Content Policy of the Federal Government is not in any way intended to stop or prevent multinationals from doing business in Nigeria; rather it is aimed at assisting the local IT products and services to compete favorably with the multinationals operating in Nigeria.”

According to the NITDA chief, the Federal Government Policy under the Buhari-led administration is to create jobs and provide alternative means of generating revenue and that is what prompted the government is insisting on local content in ICT.

“By insisting on local content, we are trying to assist the Federal Government in creating jobs for the unemployed. It is also aimed at finding alternative income for the Federal Government in view of the dwindling revenue from oil”, Olatunji says.

Dr Vincent Olatunji, acting Director-General of NITDA
Dr Vincent Olatunji, acting Director-General of NITDA

He urged the Local IT entrepreneurs to brace up to the new challenge, adding that they could not afford to be complacent as they should “ensure that your products meet international and acceptable standards and quality.”

He however  gave his assurance  that the agency would rejuvenate its Monitoring and Compliance Unit to monitor all the IT firms to ensure that their products meet generally-acceptable standards.

The stakeholders’ who agreed unanimously agreed that it is high time the Agency began the enforcement of the bye law to create jobs in the country, underscores the need for  the IT implementing agency to make reference to the sections of the NITDA Act, 2007 which empowers it to enforce the local content policy and come with penalties for violations thereto.

Mr. Inye Kembonta, National Coordinator, Office for Nigeria Content in ICT reviewed the Bye Law stating that the Bye law became imperative because of the legislative bottleneck in amending the NITDA Act of 2007.

He urged Nigerians not to see patronizing ICT locally made products as acts of patriotism alone, but as acts which reduce capital flight, increase human capital and infrastructure.

According to him, “any system you buy from abroad, you have created jobs abroad, put pressure on the Naira and deny people of acquiring skills in the country.”

Kemabonta says NITDA’s regulatory power has a force of law, which makes the review of expedient issues become necessary, adding that by the time NITDA begins to enforce its policy, “it would be as though they were made by the National Assembly.”

He said by the time the bye law takes effect, the Nigerian ICT companies would be able to compete with the big ICT companies anywhere in the world. He also encouraged merging among the players “in order to increase capacity and improve quality of products.”

 

Elizabeth Edozie Technology Journalist @Technology Times 08077671659 elizabeth.edozie@technologytimes.ng

We want to hear from you...