The Federal Government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is worried about the slow expansion capacity of indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the country.
NITDA, which informed that Nigeria currently has seven local OEMs, said these manufacturers, can only meet about 20 per cent of the local demand for computer hardware in the country. These operators include Zinox Computers, Brian Integrated Systems, Beta Computers, among others.
As such, NITDA’s Director-General, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, who revealed this huge gap, beckoned on foreign investors to explore the hardware sub-sector of Nigeria’s ICT sector.
Wooing investors at the just concluded International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecoms World 2018, in Durban, South Africa, Pantami said NITDA would be happy to facilitate the establishment of world class Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) factories in Nigeria to guarantee quality components assembly locally.
According to him, policies, such as the Ease of Doing Business, among others are in place to improve the well-being of investors in the country.
Pantami told investors that nowadays, ICT underpins everything we do, ‘’Nigeria as a country is struggling to ensure that the best use of ICT is made for economic growth and global competitiveness. We believed that the hardware sector is a major area to be explored.’’
He told the investors that the country was also working to ensure it has a sizeable number of highly skilled people who can understand and use technology.
But an ICT/Telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, believed strongly that the economic situation of the country was a major factor that is slowing local OEMs expansion.
Aluko pointed out that wooing foreign players to the sector would remain a tall order ‘’if adequate infrastructure, especially power is not in place. It goes beyond just policies in the paper, what do we have on ground? What is the situation with electricity generation? Internal security, access to funds is still an issue, we still battle policy inconsistency, among others. I think, until we are able to resolve all these challenges, that is when local operators can thrive and the country becomes more attractive to investors. I will say may be in another 20 to 30 years.’’
The NITDA DG also revealed that agency was able to save as much as N13 billion for the Federal Government through IT clearance among government owned agencies and parastatals within a space of two years.
Pantami noted that the figure grew from N10 billion in 2017 to N13 billion in 2018.
He said NITDA was able to save as much as N3.3 billion from a single project it supervised and cleared, thus saving the federal government a lot of money through IT clearance.
According to Pantami, “Usually many Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government will come to NITDA for clearance on IT projects they are working on for the year.
Most of them either inflate the cost of the project or present projects that are not relevant to the agency for approval.
“So what we do when they come to us as mandated by law is to ask if there is value for the project before we begin the clearance process. We try to look at previous projects to ensure that projects are not being repeated.
What we discovered is that organisations and parastatals do not have maintenance culture.
“If a project was executed last year, then in the subsequent year, we are expected to see project maintenance and not the presentation of the same project as new project. What most of them do is to repeat the same project every year and this is just a way of wasting resources and funds.