By TECHNOLOGY TIMES Staff Reporter
Lagos. June 5, 2013: Cleopas Officer Angaye, the Outgoing Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) may be headed for a collision course with five local PC makers over media reports credited to him suggesting that their products may be of relatively inferior quality to foreign brands.
Technology Times has learnt that the decision makers of the five companies are concerned that Angaye was credited with saying that their systems recorded relatively higher recall rates while saying that Federal Government Ministries Agencies and Departments (MDAs) complained about the durability and support for their systems.
Pending a last minute change of plan, the companies are likely to forge a common front to change perceptions about the impression that may have been created about their computers following statements credited to the NITDA boss; people conversant with the situation have told Technology Times anonymously.
Meanwhile, Will Anyaegbunam, CEO of Beta Computers, one of the five PC makers adopted under the government-backed Buy-Nigeria directive to promote local technology among Federal Government MDAs would not be joined in the controversy.
Meanwhile, Angaye has restated the existing directive that all public sector institutions must purchase computers from indigenous technology companies in line with the Buy-Nigeria policy of the current administration.
The Director-General point out that directive that all Federal Government MDAs must buy only locally-made computers is still in force.
According to him, five indigenous original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have been recommended to MDAs for patronages for various ranges of computers systems including desktops and laptops.
The five companies include Zinox Technologies, Omatek Technologies, Beta Computers, Brian Computers and Veda Computers.
To further give a boost to the local PC makers, NITDA has also adopted their computers for supply in implementing its Regional Information Technology Centres (RITCs) which are build in rural and underserved areas as well as educational institutions to provide access to ICTs, he adds.
Angaye, who delivered a guest lecture at the School of Media and Communication of the Lagos Business School held recently in Lagos says that the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo came up with the policy to support the growth of the local PC assembly businesses when two companies were initially endorsed by his administration.
The number has since grown into five with Zinox promoted by Nigerian businessman, Leo Stan Ekeh; Beta Computers promoted by Will Anyaegbunam; Omatek is promoted by Florence Seriki who owns Omatek Technologies; Brian Computers is driven by Tunji Balogun, owner of Brian Integrated Systems and also President of Computers and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) and Veda is from the stables of Veda Computers promoted by a young Nigerian technology entrepreneur, Bode Pedro.
Meanwhile, Angaye says that it has not been smooth sailing for local PC bought by government as some of them often suffer after-sale support and allied challenges.
In his lecture, Angaye underscore that has said ICT has the potentials of engendering overall national development in line with the present administration’s transformation agenda.
Speaking on the topic titled: The Role of ICT in the Transformation Agenda and Job creation the Bayelsa state born scholar highlights areas that ICT can be deployed to bring national development include education, healthcare, among others.
According to him, ICT is fast changing the ways learning instructions are being administered in institutions of learning noting that knowledge has been hugely democratised via e-learning which gives greater access to educational materials with much ease.
Examining how ICT can help in the health sector, Angaye noted that awareness about the causes and prevention of diseases can only be better disseminated using ICTs.
Fielding questions from technology journalists and attendees at the event, Angaye explains the challenges confronting the agency, the steady evolution and achievements of the agency since he assumed office.
Emevwo Biakolo, Dean School of Media and Communication (SMC) at the Pan African University asked how NITDA has helped in addressing the issue of mass illiteracy and the facilitation of job creation in the ICT sector.
The NITDA boss says the IT implementing agency has undertaken scores of activities and programmes to tackle illiteracy including the establishment of Rural Information Technology Centre to cater for the marginalised rural populace. Over 400 E- systems were provided.
He however lamented infrastructure bottleneck is a major challenge frustrating the project. What he described as “sustainability problem” made the agency to opt for solar power systems in the face of the frequent breakdown of power generating systems.
Angaye was also asked to give actual numbers of jobs that have been created as a result of training and empowerment which is the main mandate thrust of the agency.
He responded saying the agency is hampered by poor funding but was able to maximize its meagre resources in training and empowering over 600 unemployed youths including NYSC corps members.
He urged Nigerians not to forget so soon the nation’s ranking in terms of ICT development noting that a few years ago, Internet penetration was relatively lower but recent statistics today show that the user base in Nigeria has exceeded 48 million underscoring general improvement in the sector.
Acknowledging the enormous tasks, he called on Nigerians in Diaspora to show more patriotism towards the country by contributing their expertise and experiences to nation building. According to him, that was the model that set India among nations to reckon with today in the global technology sector.
“I am not saying those in Diaspora are better, but we cannot do it alone. There is need to bring their experience into play in moving the country forward, just like what happened in India under Indira Gandhi”, Angaye says.
He also explained that the challenges confronting the local content initiative in the ICT sector especially in the PC production are the capacity to deliver as well as efficient after-sales service by the local companies.
According to him, the feedback from government institutions including schools indicated that the local OEMs need to improve on their entire production processes.
He however promised that the agency will not relent in driving the local content in initiative by supporting local initiatives and efforts that can move the sector forward.