By Etuka Sunday
The Executive Board of the Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN) yesterday raised alarm over the partial implementation of Local Content Policy in the IT sector by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
ITAN National President, Olutayo Adeniyi who disclosed this at the Maiden Press Conference of the New Board in Abuja, called on the government and agencies to fully implement the policy.
Recall, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, February 2, 2018 signed the Executive Order 5 to increase local content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.
The Executive Order is expected to promote the application of science, technology and innovation towards achieving the nation’s development goals across all sectors of the economy.
The ordered that all “procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007.”
The Executive Order also prohibits the Ministry of Interior from giving Visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.
It, however, notes that where expertise is lacking, procuring entities will give preference to foreign companies and firms with a demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous development, prior to the award of such contracts.
Adeniyi however said, the policy was not fully implemented therefore, not producing the desired effects and outcomes.
“We call on the government and its agencies to abide by the policy. At the level of ITAN, we will be setting up a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the policy with a view to advise government and possibly for it to sanction erring establishments,” he said.
The ITAN boss said, if 30% of IT goods and services is locally sourced, it would make Nigerian IT companies competitive.
“They will grow faster and create many jobs thereby contribute to addressing the unemployment crisis in the country,” he said.
He said, contrary to Procurement policies and the local content of ICT procurement, government does not go to accredited IT companies. Instead, procurement is done through third parties who have no knowledge and experience about IT.
“This makes procurement more costly, creates delays in delivery and exposes beneficiaries to sub-standard products and services in many cases, MDAs end up with solutions that do not work.
“We call on government to obtain the register of licensed IT providers from the registry of Computer Professional Registration Council (CPN) and patronise only those companies that are properly licensed to practice IT in the country,” he said.
The Association said, it would work with NITDA, NIMC, TETFUND, Galaxy Backbone, NCC and several other partners to ensure that they have a robust engagement that can deliver in Nigeria dividend of economic growth through ICT.
ITAN said it would continue to represent Nigeria at the level of World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) so as to benefit from global Policy making processes and expose the Nigeria IT Industry to the global community.