Nigerian Information Technology Professionals have condemned what they consider to be the nation’s over dependence on foreign technologies, which has impeded the growth of local IT capacity.
The IT professionals who gathered at the 2016 IT Professionals Assembly of the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) held recently in Kaduna, claimed that local talents may never get appreciated until both public and private sector reduce dependency on foreign technology products.
According to the tech group, most banking software applications used in Nigeria today come from India and Europe, one of the reasons they cite as over-dependence on foreign IT solutions and services that are unhealthy for building local capacity. The vision of attaining a dependable and sustainable national IT infrastructure in Nigeria may be derailed unless the country begins to patronize local IT services and solutions that are comparable to foreign ones, they said.
Ike Orji, Director of ICT, Ministry of Education who represented Mallam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, in his key note address, attributed the cause of the poor state of Information Technology in Nigeria to fraudulent practices and weak supervision, as well as poor critical IT infrastructure, power and inadequate funding, reminding the participants that he had witnessed the induction of no fewer than 300 new members.
The Minister listed other challenges affecting the sector to include poor data, low capacity of teachers to deliver on IT in education, IT curriculum dynamism, among others, stressing that fraudulent practices and weak supervision of IT contracts must be addressed immediately in order to expand the frontiers of IT development in the country.
According to the Minister, “we must address critical national IT infrastructure and professional development as a priority. We must also facilitate technology enabled learning as a way of preparing our youths for the future work place.”
Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology and special guest of honor who was represented by Prof. Muhammed Mamman, Director General, Nigerian Institute for Tripanosomiasis and Onchocerciacis Research, Kaduna State, said that Nigeria must change from a consumer to producer nation.
“Imagine the quantum of benefits Nigeria shall derive by conserving the foreign exchange it uses annually in the importation of IT”, the Minister said, stressing that Nigeria should strengthen its pursuit of a major producer and marketer of IT hardware, software and services which currently constitute one of the most vibrant, profitable and ever-growing global businesses.
Prof Vincent Asor, President/Chairman of Council, noted that the theme of this year’s IT Assembly was informed by the need for the professionals to gather and discuss their roles in the preservation of and sustainability of Nigeria key national IT infrastructure, stating that Nigeria has the best human resources in the world to build and sustain its national IT infrastructure, adding that government support was needed.
Diphentogo Clement Mokoko, President, ICTTP, South Africa complemented Asor’s statement, stressing that Nigeria has what it takes to build its local IT infrastructure.
Also speaking at the event, Seun Adegolu of Institute of Chartered Professionals who represented Mokoko argued that building the IT infrastructure is not the issue but managing it. Citing South Africa example, he noted the importance to have a business plan in asset management as that is the only way to sustain any infrastructure.
Other speakers at the event include Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), who pointed the need for synergy in the industry to sustain and build national IT infrastructure. The NCC EVC was represented by Engr. Fidelis Onah, Director, Technical Standard and Networking Integrity at NCC>