Communication Minister urges Nigerians to embrace local content policy

By Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isah Ali Pantami

Nigerians have been urged to embrace and push for the implementation of the Local Content Policy of government in all MDAs and Private sectors of the economy.

The policy will enhance National Security, Job Creation and Foreign Exchange savings for the country.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami stated this in Abuja, at the 3rd Local Content Roundtable and Technology Fair.

Dr. Pantami reiterated that “the Ministry of Communication instituted the Local Content in ICT Policy by developing and launching the guidelines for Nigeria Content Development in ICT on December, 2013.”

He noted that the Office for Nigeria Content Development in ICT (ONC) was strategically created to drive the Policy under the supervision of NITDA, and to ensure nationwide adherence to the specific focus on the 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.

Dr Pantami urged stakeholders  to take advantage of the  Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to enhance their  businesses.

” I challenge stakeholders here present, to transform your businesses by embracing new technologies and leveraging opportunities offered by African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in other to engender expansion and growth of your businesses and by extension our national economy with a resultant effect of more jobs, wealth and improved standard of living for majority of our people,” he added.

The minister was Represented by Director, e-Government Department of the Ministry, Mr. Tope Fashedemi at the event.

The convener of the event, Group Managing Director of FinTrak Software, Mr. Bimbo Abioye, called on the government and private sector to invest and promote indigenous technologies which will in turn create job opportunities and stop youth migration.

Mr. Abioye encouraged Nigerians to patronise IT solutions developed in the country to solve challenges that are peculiar to the Nigerian needs.

“The focus of the meeting is to expose the solutions that has been tested in both private and public sector 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 teaming youths,” he explained.

The Lead Facilitator, Mr. Inye Kemanbonta, gave the background to the Local Content Roundtable.

He highlighted the role of government to include promoting the indigenous ICT companies and building capacity of public servants, policy makers and entrepreneurs in local content issues.

Kemanbonta advocated the removal of grey areas and public misconceptions about the local content policy of Government while urging it to spend public funds to purchase domestic products and to develop an indigenous industry.

President of Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON), Adenike Abudu pleaded with government to strengthen its will to fully implement local content policy.

“We use this opportunity to remind government that the success of its policies is highly dependent on its action and inaction,” she said.

The Executive Secretary, Africa ICT Foundation,  Mr. Emmanuel Bassey promised to support the Nigerian government through training and empowerment of 200,000 youths annually across the six geo-political zones on software development and other Digital skills.

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere