The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) are squaring up over registration and licensing of IT contractors in Nigeria.
The turf war has started between NCS, which prides itself as the apex body of computer professionals in Nigeria while NITDA says that by law, it is the IT industry oversight agency in the country.
In making its stance known on the issue, NCS said that registering and licensing of IT professionals and contractors in Nigeria is the responsibility of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), and not that of NITDA.
In a statement released by NCS and signed by its President, Professor Adesola Aderounmu, NCS kicked against the plan by NITDA to register and license IT professionals, insisting it is not within its mandate to do so.
“In making its stance known on the issue, NCS said that registering and licensing of IT professionals and contractors in Nigeria is the responsibility of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), and not that of NITDA.”
Part of the statement released by NCS stated: “Our attention has been drawn to a policy statement released by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on the 12th February, 2018 which on general principle is to register and license all IT contractors in Nigeria.
Our position is that this is not part of NITDA’s mandate because as the name suggests this agency is to plan, promote and develop regulatory framework and guidelines as stated in NITDA Act 2007, section 6a.”
The statement further says that the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) Act 49 of 1993 is saddled with the mandate to register, license, supervise and control the profession as stated in CPN Act section 1 (2).
Aderounmu says the said statement by NITDA is capable of confusing the general public to create an uncoordinated approach to policy issues and both Acts of Parliament as stated earlier. ”NCS is of the belief that NITDA’s mandate is to ensure seamless cooperation and interaction towards the use of IT as a development tool for the country.”
Meanwhile, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Director General of NITDA has responded to NCS acknowledging that the CPN as a Council authorised to have control and supervision of the profession as provided by Section 1 (2) of the CPN Act when he says the agency’s attention “has been drawn to NCS warning.”
On his part, Pantami says that the registration of IT contractors and service providers by NITDA is in line with NITDA’s mandate as stated in Section 6 (a,f) NITDA Act 2007, which is instructed to create a framework for the planning, development, evaluation of information technology and systems in Nigeria and to render advisory services on all information technology matters to the public and private sectors.
According to the NITDA DG, the process will provide detailed database of indigenous IT capabilities in Nigeria as it will help government is planning IT projects and promotion of Nigerian content through the appropriate use of public sector spend in IT.
”Therefore, it is within the regulatory & developmental role of NITDA to ensure that IT contractual practises and project delivery in the public sector are done in accordance with best practices, within acceptable standards & in the interest of the development of IT in Nigeria”, Pantami says.
According to him, there is partnership between NITDA and other relevant authorities in taking appropriate action where fraud has taken place which may have led to failure as indigenous IT contractors and service providers already commenced the process of registration with NITDA.
He says that it is the responsibility of NITDA to ensure that IT contractual practices and project delivery in the public sector are done in line with the best practices and in the interest of the development of IT in Nigeria as NITDA will not relent in its goal to improve IT practice and won’t fail to improve IT practices and poorly executed projects will be exposed.
The NITDA DG says the government agency will not allow sub-standard projects executed by companies that are incapable noting that NITDA applauds all those who have contributed to the process as it shows how committed they are to ensure growth and development of the IT sector and also appreciates President Muhammadu Buhari’s support in delivering the agency’s mandate.