By MARTIN EKPEKE.
Recently the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) unveiled a draft policy on software in Nigeria for review, and called on stakeholders within the Nigeria IT space for input. The Nigerian software industry is potentially a $6 billion industry. When all necessary support and encouragement is given, the industry can surpass the contributions from the oil industry, especially as the software industry is not a capital intensive sector. The big question is how can the Nigerian software industry be encouraged? The opportunity offered by software is enormous. The software industry must be treated as national priority, as one report puts it “there is a need to accelerate the process of creating an enabling environment for the sustainable growth of the Nigeria software industry”.
The interest and demand of the local market for software products and services need to be increased. To stimulate, strengthen and support the software industry, government needs to work with professional bodies like the Nigeria Computer Society and Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) to create greater awareness of the benefits of software.
With Nigeria having a large youthful, educated and enterprising populace, there are so many opportunities in the software industry that can unleash the potentials of the Nigerian nation.
‘Software and services form the largest and fastest-growing part of the information technology market, ’ according to IBM 2005 financial report. ICT has played a major role in all sector of the Nigeria economy development today, and software is the engine room of that development because it is required for the effective use of ICT properties; in PCs, handhelds, mobile phones, the Internet, GSM, wireless telephony, network devices, and telecom equipment.
There are several local software providers doing well in Nigeria, but as a whole the software industry needs to move faster than it is doing at present. A large proportion of Nigeria’s software business is in the hands of firms based outside Nigeria. Awareness is low about the benefits of local software; as a result, local developers are losing out to foreign software providers. Government need to give some incentives and create a supportive environment for local software developers. The development of technology parks will be a better way of encouraging them; such parks will be able to provide them with security, constant power supply, subsidized office space and IT infrastructures.
List of local software companies
Peers Consulting Limited
Computer Systems Associates (Nigeria) Limited (CSA)
Datatronics Nigeria Ltd.
Dafinone Consulting Limited
Inlaks Computers Limited
Future Technology Systems
Programos Software Group
Labyet Polaris Nig. Limited
Okuta Computer Systems Limited
Financial.Com Nigeria Ltd.
Precise Financial Systems
ProGenics Corp Limited
Tara Systems Ltd
Wadof Software Consulting
Courtesy: Jidaw.com and IT Edge Intelligence Unit.