Federal government has moved to replicate the successful implementation of the Nigerian Content Policy in the oil and gas industry in other key sectors of the economy with the setting up of the Office of National Content (ONC) in the Ministry of Communications Technology.
The ONC will henceforth be operating as a programme of the National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA) an agency, under the Ministry of Communications Technology and work closely with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) so as to leverage on the successes, lessons, guidelines and templates conceived and implemented successfully by the Board in the oil and gas industry.
Performing the ceremony, The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, stated that “with the aggressive growth in the Nigerian ICT industry, contributing 8.53 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product by the third quarter of 2013, it was obvious that the industry was a key growth industry and as such deserves the design and execution of a well thought out local content policy.”
She noted that the country currently had the image of a continuing compulsive consumer of ICT products from other parts of the world and this needed to be addressed.
She said Nigerians preferred foreign brands, with HP and Dell accounting for 60 per cent of approximately 750,000 pcs sold in Nigeria in 2012 while indigenous original equipment manufacturers accounted for about 20 per cent of this number.
This scenario is compounded by the perception that existing local ICT hardware manufacturers produce poor quality, expensive and uncompetitive products, but rather than worry about the challenges, the Minister described them as significant opportunities for the ICT Local Content Policy.
According to her, “we have crafted into our guidelines defined steps for our OEMs to recapitalize significantly so as to enable them provide significantly improved after-sales support, warranty support and customer service. “We have also encouraged the OEMs to collaborate in providing this back office and front office support mechanisms so that economics of scale can be achieved and more jobs created, She Stated.
Ernest Nwapa, executive secretary, NCDMB, in his remarks, lauded the Minister of Communication Technology for setting up the ONC in the ICT sector, describing it as an affirmation of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s firm belief in the contribution of local content to the growth of the national economy.
He noted that Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of Petroleum Resources, had directed the NCDMB to stimulate the participation of other sectors of the economy sectors like power, construction and agriculture in the Nigerian Content implementation.
He also credited Madueke for the capacities that had been developed in Nigerian Content Act, which can be leveraged by other sectors so that maximum benefits can be derived for the economy.