The Federal Government of Nigeria is ready to revalidate its directives on the patronage of locally produced ICT products and services by Ministries, Departments and Parastatal (MDAs) as a means of promoting local content in the sector.
Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications disclosed that Nigeria was losing about N896bn ($2.8billion) annually to the continued importation of ICT hardware and ceding about 70 per cent of the country’s technology market to the foreign brands.
While decrying the attendant capital flights and apathy towards locally made products, the minister said that there will be no excuse for MDAs not to patronize indigenous ICT products and services because local content is vital in achieving the overriding mandate of economic diversification and empowerment of the ICT ecosystem in the country.
Local content, he said, is defined as the amount of incremental value added or created in Nigeria through the utilisation of Nigerian human and material resources for the provision of goods and services in the ICT industry within acceptable quality and standards in order to stimulate the development of indigenous capabilities.
Shittu asserted that the patronage is aimed to achieve the development of local skills, technology transfer, use of local manpower and manufacturing and that it will have a triple effect to increase demand, thereby creating jobs and contribute to the job and wealth creation component of the government’s Change mantra.
This, he stated, spurred the government to put in place policies and implementation that will bring recognition to indigenous creativity and protect Intellectual Property emphasizing that the Local Content Policy and guideline would be enforced to the letter.
“The Local Content Development Policy would be implemented to protect indigenous players in the industry and the ministry would galvanise right policies that would see to the need of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), let me emphasize here very strongly that government’s role is to provide an enabling environment within a free market economy.
The minister also said that the federal government moved to replicate the successful implementation of the Nigerian Content policy in the oil and gas industry and other key sectors of the economy with the setting up of the Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT.
Shittu said “under my watch, Nigeria will not be a dumping ground for all forms of technologies”.
He commended the resolution of leading computer manufacturing companies in Nigeria to come under an umbrella body called Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON) with the aim of working with all relevant stakeholders to grow the capacity of Nigeria computer manufacturers.