President Bola Tinubu should stop government institutions from spending Nigeria’s taxpayers’ money on foreign computers, if he must realise his administration’s digital economy goal for job creation, according to the influential trade group of indigenous computer makers.
One of the steps that the President can take to advance his administration’s digital economy goal is to enforce the the provisions of the Executive Order (EO) three and five, which are related to the support of local content in public procurement among government institutions, Mrs Adenike Abudu, President of Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON), says in an exclusive interview with Technology Times.
The CCMON President says that “while individuals can use their money to buy any brand of technology of their choice, government must, as a necessity, must use taxpayers’ money to patronise and promote local products. That’s what the Executive Order says. So it’s a must.”
CCMON President on how local content will drive President Bola Tinubu’s digital economy goal
She explains that Executive Order “is meant to promote the growth of the local industry by insisting a minimum of 40% local content in public procurements. The order says that 40% should be given to local manufacturers; minimum of 40%. Okay. The reality is that the order implementation has been near 0% in performance. We have not been getting much.”
In his May 29, 2023 inauguration speech, President Tinubu says that his administration In his inaugural speech on May 29, President Tinubu says his administration will focus priority on the digital economy towards creating one million jobs.
“My administration,” President Tinubu says, “must create meaningful opportunities for our youth. We shall honour our campaign commitment of one million new jobs in the digital economy.
The leader of the Nigerian indigenous computer makers, who is concerned that the Executive Order has recorded “near zero” compliance across government tiers, wants President Tinubu to step in to salvage industry players’ over $100 million in manufacturing facilities in the country.
“Collectively,” the CCMON President tells Technology Times, “local OEMs have invested over $100 million in setting up their warehouse and we employ thousands of Nigerians there. We have capacity to produce over 20,000 laptops daily, 30,000 smartphones and tablets. Some of our members are also manufacturing smart meters, set-top boxes, also known as decoders, smart TV and a lot of ICT hardware. So we have the capacity.”
She explains further that, “by NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) data, Nigeria has over 300 million active lines. So for a line to be active hardware is required. So, here, 99% of this hardware is imported. This translates to billions of dollars in capital flights. Okay. So as certified OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), we know that only deliberate policies or enforcement of existing laws can reverse this adverse trend.”
Despite the existence of a local content policy that directs government agencies to patronise made-in-Nigeria computers, CCMON is concerned that government agencies continue to ignore these directives in favour of foreign brands because there are no consequences for non-compliance.
“Okay, because it’s just simple, no consequence for flouting the law. It’s that simple. No consequence. So everybody can do whatever they like,” Mrs Abudu says.
For the CCMON President, “it is now so worrisome that government continue to use their taxpayers’ money to patronise foreign brands even when capacity exists locally. The impact is definitely negative not just to our members but to the nation as it relates to national interests.”
CCMON, she adds, continues to advocate with relevant stakeholders. “In an instance, with NITDA (National Information Technology Development Agency), we were part of a monitoring committee that was set up. The courage by the regulator to enforce compliance amongst other sister government agencies is clearly a major challenge. On our own side, we have continued to advocate with relevant stakeholders, like I said. We were part of the Monitoring Committee that was set up then by NITDA. We were part of it, and we have also involved ourselves in doing one or two things to support NITDA where necessary.”