NITDA: Govt agencies buying foreign PCs to ‘get stiffer penalty’

NITDA: Govt agencies buying foreign PCs to ‘get stiffer penalty’

NITDA: Govt agencies buying foreign PCs to ‘get stiffer penalty’

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Federal Government institutions buying foreign PC brands will face stiffer sanctions under new moves by the nation’s IT agency to enforce local content policy in the Nigerian technology market.

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]With the public sector seen as the biggest technology spender in the economy today, Olatunji of NITDA says the fresh local content policy enforcement drive will again open a new vista for Nigerian PC makers like Zinox Technologies, Brian Technologies, Omatek Computers, Beta Computers and Veda Computers, among other local market players.[/quote]Dr Vincent Olatunji, Acting Director-General at National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Thursday in Lagos says the IT agency is criminalising patronage of foreign PC brands by all Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria.

NITDA says it has recorded low compliance with government policy that Federal MDAs should buy local brands and is now ready to enforce the rules under its ongoing drive to promote indigenous technologies across the public sector.

A Zinox laptop computer made by Nigerian PC maker, Zinox Technologies
A Zinox laptop computer made by Nigerian PC maker, Zinox Technologies

The Acting NITDA DG, who dropped the hint during an interactive session Thursday in Lagos with journalists says the IT agency is now adopting a zero tolerance stance by imposing stiffer punishment on MDAs that violate the local content policy.

Olatunji, who remains unapologetic about the government’s directive hoped to grow the Nigerian PC industry, says it is “a case of putting our money where our mouth is.”

With the public sector seen as the biggest technology spender in the economy today, Olatunji of NITDA says the fresh local content policy enforcement drive will again open a new vista for Nigerian PC makers like Zinox Technologies, Brian Technologies, Omatek Computers, Beta Computers and Veda Computers, among other local market players.

Dr Vincent Olatunji Acting and Mr Olayinka Adejube, a Director of South-West Zonal Office at NITDA,during the interactive session with journalist
Dr Vincent Olatunji’ Acting Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Mr Olayinka Adejube, Director of South-West Zonal Office at NITDA, Thursday in Lagos during the interactive session with journalists

Earlier before now , the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), through the Office of National content (ONC) had announced a guideline for the purchase of Made-in-Nigeria computers by MDAs.

The guideline strictly put a ban on foreign computers and technology products in public institutions and schools to encourage patronage of Made-in-Nigeria initiative and foster growth in the local ICT industry

The NITDA chief says that criminalizing the patronage of foreign brands by government is ”expected to once again give a boost to the Nigerian PC makers who have being faced a daunting task in making their brands popular on the shelves across the country due to competition from rival international brands like HP, Dell, Acer, among others.”

He adds that ”about a month ago we met with our Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs) like Zinox, Omatek. We try to promote them by directing all government MDAs to patronise them. We want to get to a level of criminalising the patronage of foreign products. You cant be spending government money to buy foreign product when we have some computer assembly plants here.”

Olatunji also tells journalists at the Lagos interactive session that ”already we have a Federal Executive Council (FEC ) approval to say all MDAs must patronise Made-in-Nigeria products and services.”

The NITDA chief says that ”we are going all out to implement our local content policy to ensure that government MDAs to patronise what we have. But we want OEMs to meet up with global standard and also support their clients with efficient after-sales services.

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]”Technology has been the driver of growth of Developed Countries in the world as diverse tech solutions now make it easier for people to reach out to themselves. If we really want to make ICT as the mainstay of the economy, we don’t really have any choice than to grow ICT-driven SMEs and our target is to have 10,000 of such in less than five years. It looks daunting but I know we can do it. We have the population and also a lot of tech-savvy tyouth hat are ready to explode. All they need is the platform and that is what we are providing for them”, he says.[/quote]”In the light of this, we are trying to set up a special training programme in the area of hardware repair and maintenance even up to mobile devices. By the time we train them, we have service centres around the country  such that  if you have problem with your product, you have where to go.”

According to Olatunji, ”we were at Silicon Valley some few months back to really study how to do it because a lot of global brands have their roots there and we are looking at ways in which we replicate that in Nigeria. Our ultimate goal is to make Nigeria the ICT hub of Africa.”

He says that ”we are also working with State Governments to set up State information Technology Agency ( SITA), an equivalent to NITDA at the state levels.”

According to him, the government is committed to converting information and communication technology (ICT) as an alternate source of revenue generation for the country. The tech sector is a critical contributor to GDP and can play a key contributory role in further powering the economy with  focuses on ICT-driven Small and  Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the NITDA head says.

”Technology has been the driver of growth of Developed Countries in the world as diverse tech solutions now make it easier for people to reach out to themselves. If we really want to make ICT as the mainstay of the economy, we don’t really have any choice than to grow ICT-driven SMEs and our target is to have 10,000 of such in less than five years. It looks daunting but I know we can do it. We have the population and also a lot of tech-savvy tyouth hat are ready to explode. All they need is the platform and that is what we are providing for them”, he says.

Dr Olatunji says the planned creation of 12 technology hubs around the geopolitical zones in Nigeria is one of government’s strategies to boost ICT across the country.

Technology Times files photo shows technology innovators at work inside iDea Hub Nigeria, a technology innovation and incubation centre located in Yaba, Lagos Photo by Kehinde Shonola of Technology Times
Technology Times files photo shows technology innovators at work inside iDea Hub Nigeria, a technology innovation and incubation centre located in Yaba, Lagos

”It is in recognition of the central role that innovation and technology plays in national economic growth plan that the Federal Government, in the 2016 budget, provided extensively for technology and innovation”, according to the NITDA boss.

 

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Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

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