Locally-developed software can serve the needs of over 25,000 public sector agencies to improve efficiency of service delivery to Nigerians, the software industry trade group has said.
Pius Okigbo, President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), believes that local software developers can meet the needs of over 25,000 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) across the three tiers of government.
The ISPON President also decried the controversial issue of SystemSpecs and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) when he cited that the National Assembly “has a classic problem of trying to use laws that are not clearly defined to make it seem as if SystemSpecs has done something fraudulent.”
According to Okigbo, “that is very unfortunate. It is as if you are saying how can a company, a local company for that matter, make that kind of money?”[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”right” bgcolor=”#” color=”#” bcolor=”#” arrow=”yes”]“It is pure ignorance and fear. We have Bill Gates and other software billionaires that are making all the money all over the world on services. Have they committed any crime? So, Remita didn’t commit any crime. SystemSpecs hasn’t done anything illegal. I think it is a tragedy to have a National Assembly that is so focused on one transaction, an action that can undermine the success of an industry at large, and I find it very unfortunate”, the ISPON President said.[/quote]
He explained that the Remita electronic payment platform has been working and providing services to organizations and governments over the years. It is now that the MDAs have to remit funds through Remita in line with the TSA policy of government that the lawmakers are raising dust.
“It is pure ignorance and fear. We have Bill Gates and other software billionaires that are making all the money all over the world on services. Have they committed any crime? So, Remita didn’t commit any crime. SystemSpecs hasn’t done anything illegal. I think it is a tragedy to have a National Assembly that is so focused on one transaction, an action that can undermine the success of an industry at large, and I find it very unfortunate”, the ISPON President said.
“Over 20,000 and 25,000 MDAs from all tiers of government that require software solution in just about everything. What does that tell you? It means you can have local software companies constantly writing software till kingdom come to address everything possible in different sectors, and that can only translate to huge billions of naira”, Okigbo said at the ISPON Presidential Dinner held recently in Lagos.
“There is nothing we cannot write in software programs but nobody is ready to trust us and pay us huge amounts of money as to make us bigger players in Nigeria and this is a big tragedy”, the ISPON President says.
Okigbo cited that foreign software companies that are global brands today developed through the encouragement of their home governments. According to him, the likes of SAP, Microsoft and Oracle as companies that have become local and global household names through their government’s support.
“We have developed some good solutions that foreign solutions cannot match. Foreign software became the humongous behemoths they have become because of huge patronage. They all have their humble beginnings”, Okigbo added.
The ISPON President says that “Nigerian software companies need similar support from the government and the private sector players. I still maintain today that there is no foreign Human Resources (HR) software system that is better than the locally-developed HR package.
“Our own processes are different from their own processes. We believe that it is a gradual process and we believe that, through continuous engagements, we would achieve understanding of government to support our software industry to be able to create wealth and move the government agenda of economic development forward”, he added.
Concerning government’s patronizing of foreign software, the ISPON President said that the use of foreign solutions from places such as India should not happen “if we had got our acts right before now.”
“If you do not encourage companies like SystemSpecs and other indigenous IT companies in Nigeria, what then are you saying?”