By Amole Olatunde
The Director General/CEO of the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said the government’s IT clearinghouse would enhance the value of local content promotion and development in the country’s ICT sector.
Dr. Pantami, at a recent public function in Abuja, said the NITDA, under his watch, would close leakages for waste of the country’s FOREX on ICT imports which have strong local substitutes and ensure strict adherence by the public sector on the local content policy.
Nigeria loses about $2.8 billion annually from the importation of ICT goods and services, including a whooping $1 billion spent annually on software imports. The NITDA’s boss said under dependency on software import hurts local skill development and the country’s financial health.
He lamented that a situation where locally assembled ICT devices represent less than 8% of all the devices used in the country is unacceptable, if Nigeria desires to grow.
“ICT provides veritable option for diversifying the economy because it has the added advantage of being able to improve efficiency and enhance productivity in all the other sectors of the economy.”
“We will collaborate with industry leaders and put policies in place to support young Nigerians to develop world-class ICT products. This was actually the plan that informed our decision to invite several startups to e-Nigeria and sponsored 16 to GITEX in October 2016. We also need to strongly plead with our international manufacturers to domesticate their products in order to achieve a win-win relationship.
“Within the limits of the mandate that set us up, we at NITDA are repositioning ourselves to filter the IT gadgets being imported to the country in the overall interest of the nation. It is a clarion call to all citizenry to transform NITDA into IT-driven and knowledge0based agency,” said Pantami.