The Federal Government has banned the use of imported SIMs by companies offering telephony and data services in Nigeria under sweeping drive to promote local ICT content across key sectors of the economy.
[blockquote right=”pull-right”]The new guideline also stipulates at least 60% of all Value Added Services of any ICT company in Nigeria should come from an indigenous company within the first two years and at least and 80% within three years of the coming into effect of these new rules. [/blockquote]
This is one of the key highlights of the newly-introduced guidelines by the Office for Nigeria Content in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a unit of the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA), set up to foster growth in the Nigerian technology ecosystem.
With the coming into effect of the new directive, mobile phone companies, which accounts for over active 127 million active phone lines have been given an 18-month to comply with the government order to “use only locally-manufactured SIM cards for the provision of data and telephony services.”
The Nigerian telecoms industry accounts for a huge customer base with active lines totalling 127,097,196 in Q1 2014 and mobile GSM, mobile CDMA and fixed lines accounting for 98.26%, 1.6% and 0.14% respectively, according to official market information by the telecoms market watchdog, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Inye Kemabonta, the Acting National Co-Ordinator of ONC, who is also the Director of Standards and Regulation at (NITDA), unveiled the document to key industry stakeholders in Lagos, where he explained that the guidelines were developed to “enable the local ICT industry to contribute meaningfully towards the achievement of national development targets.”
Kemabonta explained that the Office for Nigerian Content (ONC) is a semi-autonomous, development focused special purpose vehicle of NITDA set up by Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Communications Technology “for purpose of implementing the Guidelines for a Nigerian Content Development Program and of championing the growth and development of Nigerian content in ICT.”
He told attendees at the event held at Ideas Hub in Yaba, Lagos that, “the ONC is charged with the mandate of “supercharging” key ICT economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to Nigerian firms in the ICT industry.”
Under the implementation plan, the ONC’s Guidelines cut across various sector of the economy ranging from ICT companies, ICT hardware manufacturers, MDAs, among several other key players in the local ICT space.
The new guideline also stipulates at least 60% of all Value Added Services of any ICT company in Nigeria should come from an indigenous company within the first two years and at least and 80% within three years of the coming into effect of these new rules.
In a similar vein, all ICT hardware manufacturers must design and develop products that support Nigerian languages and local use case while all ODMs must conceptualize, design and produce all hardware in Nigeria.
According to the new rules, for no reason should any data and information management firms host government data outside Nigeria without an express approval from NITDA and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, in the implementation of provision making it off-shore hosting of pubic sector data illegal.
Government at all levels must patronise only local software producers according to the directive asking Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government at the Federal, State and Local Government levels to source and procure software from only local and indigenous software development companies.
Users of Internet and other data services can now be allowed to delete their personal information with their service providers under the new rules that require network and Internet services companies to “provide consumers the right to delete their personal information, data and other records on any service on which they are subscribed.”
Federal Government has also mandated multinational companies in Nigeria to carry out value added activities that contribute to job creation and the empowerment of Nigerians who comprise their market in the country.
According to the Government mandate, multinationals in Nigeria are now required to be more than sales divisions, management of sales agents and channels, as part of other key requirements in the Guidelines on the next pages:
- Lead and facilitate product demand generation initiatives such as Assisted PC purchase programs
- Promote the use of digital technologies as well as local development of software solutions for Education by facilitating Computer purchase programs, provide funding for software solutions in education and drive technology adoption initiatives in education.
- Collaborate with similar IT development agencies in neighbouring West African states in order to establish regional Information Technology tradeshows that will provide a platform to grow the local industry.
- Facilitate discussions with industry groups such as NCS, ALTON, ATCON, CAPDAN, ITAN, ISPAN, ISPON, etc. to engender local value creation.
- Publish technical standards of various ICT components, devices, subassembly etc. as a guide for local OEMs.
- Ensure that industry participants benefits from all investment incentives available to them by working with other government agencies to ensure that ICT firms benefit from such available incentives.
- Enforce the provisions set forward in the National IT Policy as well as in these guidelines
- Enhance and promote the use of digital technologies as well as local development of software solutions for the critical sectors such as health, education, security etc.
- Champion and encourage the set-up of Business Incubator Schemes to accelerate the growth of the IT industry.
- Partner with financial institutions, venture capital firms, MNCs with venture capital divisions as well Angels investors to create a vibrant Venture Capital ecosystem for the IT sector