By Olusegun Oruame
The federal government has commended the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for its registration and certification process for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Government also commended the agency for its focus on tech-entrepreneurship.
President Muhammadu Buhari at the ongoing eNigeria 2018 holding in Abuja said NITDA’s action is helping to sanitise an otherwise rowdy sub-sector in a way that ensure that only products which meet global best practices end up with consumers – particularly public institutions increasingly becoming tech-driven underscored by a rising IT budget.
His words: “The efforts of NITDA aimed at reorganising the registration and certification process for OEMs to ensure adherence to world class standards as well as guarantee quality and durable devices are highly commendable. The agency is encouraged to work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure strict compliance to these new regulatory instruments.”
NITDA’s new policy drive on OEMs requires that only IT vendors that are duly registered and certify by it may work with ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.
While he commend the certification processes, president Buhari said the move will eventually provide the required impetus for local manufacturers to meet the local content requirements and the desired to have only quality products in the market.
The continuous importation of IT hardware eats heavily into the country’s FOREX, said the president and only a diligent approach to encourage local OEMs can help reversed the trends.
“Our reliance on foreign hardware resulting into the importation of about 80% of ICT hardware through local distributors of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) by MDAs and other government establishments as well as the need for concerted efforts aimed at reversing the trend. It is indeed pleasing to note the efforts by all relevant stakeholders in forging strategic partnerships towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an export hub for ICT hardware in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The efforts of NITDA aimed at reorganising the registration and certification process for OEMs to ensure adherence to world class standards as well as guarantee quality and durable devices are highly commendable. The agency is encouraged to work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure strict compliance to these new regulatory instruments.”
The president then commended the IT clearinghouse for its commitment to technology entrepreneurship and skills development. He equally noted NITDA’s efforts at driving technology usage within the public sector.
“The agency’s work on the Nigerian ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision that focuses on the development of Digital Infrastructure, Education Reform, Skills Development and Research and Development as well as supporting the ecosystem is highly commendable. We are made to understand that the Agency worked with relevant stakeholders in developing the document. We encourage the agency to use its regulatory instruments in ensuring full socialisation and implementation of this document.
“[NITDA gas] emphasised the need for the public service to be highly competitive, innovative and digitally-enabled to deliver public services and effectively drive government programs and policies. It is indeed pleasing to note that NITDA and other relevant government agencies have taken this up by creating the enabling environment through the development of policies, frameworks, standards and guidelines.
“We are aware that some of these regulatory instruments have been subjected to critical scrutiny and revision through series of stakeholder engagements. Efforts should be intensified at making them public as well as sensitising public servants and the general public about value of these regulatory instruments.”
The eNigeria is organised by the NITDA. In his own speech later at the event, the Director-General/CEO, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said the agency is working to expand digital opportunities to Nigerians under the framework of its mandate.
Not surprisingly, therefore, “the major goal of e-Nigeria 2018 is to accelerate the development and access to digital products and services to millions of Nigerian citizens, ultimately creating Africa’s largest single digital market by 2020.”
While thanking the federal government for its continuous support of the agency, Pantami assured that NITDA will remain focus on helping to drive the government’s overall mandate to improve the lives of Nigerians.
Recounting his stewardship so far at the NITDA he said: “I led a team that developed a 2017-2020 Strategic Roadmap for the agency as well as an Action Plan for the attainment of the goals listed in the Roadmap. The Roadmap is based on the following seven pillars: IT Regulation, Capacity Building, Digital Inclusion, Digital Job Creation, Government Digital Service Promotion, Cyber Security, and Local Content Development & Promotion. The Roadmap addresses seven principal pillars that have the potential of determining the structure upon which a successful ICT sector can be built.”