Indigenous IT companies such as Zinox Technologies, VEDA Technology, Beta Computers, and a host of others including soft solution providers such as PFS, SystemSpecs, Dataflex, and Sidmach Technologies among others have a strong ally in the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.
The NITDA’s boss and Nigeria’s chief information officer affirmed faith in indigenous IT industry even as he assured that the agency will be more aggressive in ensuring compliance both to the local content policy and procurement laws by federal ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs) particularly as they concern provision of such services by local companies and skills.
Government’s procurement guidelines and local content policy are ultimately designed to promote indigenous IT efforts as well as instill transparency and probity in all public sector IT projects, Pantami told IT Edge News in Abuja in a recent meet.
“The wisdom and objectives behind our IT clearance are many. Firstly in summary, it is to fight corruption. Secondly, it is to ensure there’s value for money. Thirdly, it is to ensure harmonization of all IT projects in government; and fourthly, it is to have a supervision of the project and ensure that there’s what we can call maintenance model to the project,” said Pantami while adding that NITDA’s action are part of its statutory mandate as government IT clearinghouse.
He said with NITDA’s more aggressive approach to ensuring compliance with the policy of government as it concerns IT practice and deployment in the public sector, there has been considerable rise in patronage of local IT companies in a way that has saved fund that should have gone offshore and also increase manufacturing activities in the local IT companies.
“The patronage of local content that we have achieved so far because of NITDA’s efforts is unprecedented and has never been achieved in the history of Nigeria. Look at in 2013 before I came, total patronage of local content computers is 82, 000. In 2014, it was 92, 000. In 2015, it was 92, 000 throughout the year. In 2016, within the only three months I spent, it skyrocketed to 150, 000.
“In 2017, when I spent complete year in office, the patronage is over 355, 000. So the patronage of 2017 is more than the combined total of 2013, 2014, and 2015 – all within one year. All our efforts are yielding positive results. This is only in one area. If you go to data centre, it is the same. If you go to software, it is the same. I only gave you the statistics with hardware. In other sectors, it is much higher,” said Pantami to IT Edge News in his office.
Government has a duty and commitment to patronise the indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and it is NITDA’s role to ensure that both the duty and commitment are carried through. The agency has been doing this with an increasing sense of urgency since 2016, said Pantami.