The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, has urged Nigerians to embrace and implement the provisions of the Nigeria Local Content Policy of the Federal Government in Ministries, Departments, Agencies(MDAs) and private sector.
Pantami said this on Thursday at the 3rd Local Content Roundtable and Technology Fair held at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
The Minister, who was represented by Mr. Tope Fashedemi, Director, eGovernment Department of the Ministry, reiterated that the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy instituted the Local Content in ICT Policy by developing and launching the Guidelines for Nigeria Content Development in ICT on December 2013.
He added that Office for Nigeria Content Development in ICT (ONC) was strategically created to drive the Policy under the supervision of National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) to ensure nationwide adherence to the specific focus on four areas of ICT namely: Services, Software, Human Capital Development, and Hardware.
“The recent change in the Ministry’s name by Mr. President was an upshot of the fact that ICT is presently one of the key pillars of our economy in terms of contribution to the nation’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP), and Digital Economy Policy has the potential to increase revenue and block leakages, lead to creation of new jobs and employment opportunities, pave way for e-Government to engender efficient and effective service delivery, and general empowerment of the people”, the Minister said.
In his remarks, the convener of the event, Bimbo Abioye and Group Managing Director of FinTrak Software said that the focus of the gathering is to unmask the solutions that have been tested in both private and public sector of the economy.
“The focus of this roundtable discussion is to bring to light the solutions that have been tested in both private and public sectors of the economy and to ensure that we begin to patronise solutions that are developed in Nigeria to strengthen our capacity, stem the tide of foreign exchange outflows and provide employment for our teeming youths,” he added.
The Lead Facilitator, Mr. Inye Kemanbonta, a Consultant with NITDA, highlighted the role of government policies in promoting the indigenous ICT companies and building capacity of public servants, policymakers and entrepreneurs in local content issues.
He, however, advocated for the removal of grey areas and public misconceptions about the Local Content Policy of Government, while urging the government to spend public funds to purchase domestic products for its own use and to develop indigenous industry.
President of Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON), Engr. Adenike Abudu, in her goodwill message, pleaded with the government to strengthen her will to fully implement Local Content policy. Adding that, “we use this opportunity to remind the government that the success of its policies is highly dependent on its action and inaction.”
Mr. Emmanuel Bassey, the Executive Secretary, Africa ICT Foundation promised to support the Nigerian government by his Foundation’s objective of training and empowering 200,000 Nigerian youths annually across the six geo-political zones on software development and other digital skills.