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Nigeria: Rules empower NITDA to ‘enforce’ local technology content

Nigeria: Rules empower NITDA to ‘enforce’ local technology content
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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) now has the mandate to enforce that indigenous digital technologies are used in  critical sectors of the Nigerian economy.

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]In a major government policy thrust, Federal MDAs are to source and procure software from only local and indigenous software development companies. But where the capacity for developing such software does not exist locally, procurement, installation and support will be provided by a Nigerian company.[/quote]According to Federal Government rules reviewed by Technology Times, NITDA, the Federal IT implementing agency will henceforth “enhance and promote” the use of digital technologies and local development of software solutions for critical sectors such as health, education, security in Nigeria.

This is one of the key extracts of Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT promoted by the Office for Nigerian Content Development (ONC), a special purpose vehicle set up to enforce local content policy in the local ICT sector.

The Federal Government has lately underscored it key emphasis on promoting local content as one of the strategies to save foreign exchange, boost local capacity and diversify the economy from dependence on oil.

Meanwhile, the Guideline also mandated NITDA to champion and encourage the set-up of business incubator schemes to accelerate the growth of the IT industry and also enforce the provisions set forward in the National IT Policy and these Guidelines.

Dr Vincent Olatunji Ag. Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) speaks at ISPON dinner
Dr Vincent Olatunji Ag. Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) speaks at ISPON dinner

NITDA is to also partner with financial institutions, venture capital firms, as well Angel investors to create a vibrant Venture Capital ecosystem to propel the local tech sector.

To drive this home, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) were also mandated to register their products, capabilities and organisations on the NITDA portal. The is registration service must be provided free of charge and be devoid of bureaucracy to ensure that NITDA is aware of “available resources” in that segment of the ICT industry.

ISVs are equally mandated to demonstrate the ability to provide on-going support and continued development and maintenance of any software sold or deployed. They are also to hold and retain exclusive rights over the reproduction, preparation of derivative works, distribution and public performance and display of their copyrighted work.

Importantly, ISVs are to also have access to seed capital and grants for start-ups, incubation programmes and other forms of government-backed schemes. Similalry, they must respect the intellectual property rights of others as set out in applicable local and global regulations.

More importantly, the ONC Guidelines also mandated Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to source software, “for which there is local capacity”, to design, develop, compile, test, troubleshoot, launch, maintain and improve such software applications.

Pius Okigbo, immediate past President, Institute of Software Practitioner of Nigeria (ISPON), left, and James Emadoye, current President of ISPON, at a press briefing in Lagos
Light at the end of the tunnel for Software Nigeria? Pius Okigbo, immediate past President, Institute of Software Practitioner of Nigeria (ISPON), left, and James Emadoye, current President of ISPON, at a press briefing in Lagos

In a major government policy thrust, Federal MDAs are to source and procure software from only local and indigenous software development companies. But where the capacity for developing such software does not exist locally, procurement, installation and support will be provided by a Nigerian company.

Federal MDAs are to consider all software solution projects as turnkey deployments and not mere supply of licences and software. Therefore, the vendor must demonstrate systems integration capability in order to qualify to carry out the project deployment, the Guidelines stipulate.

MDAs are also to conduct risk-based due diligence to identify, prevent and mitigate actual and potential adverse impacts that may arise from using software, including risks that arise from technical dependencies on software conceptualised and developed outside Nigeria and obtain evidence of the origin, source and workings of all software being used including adequate assurance of the full security of source code, according to the ONC Guidelines.

 

 

 

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Elizabeth Edozie Technology Journalist @Technology Times 08077671659 elizabeth.edozie@technologytimes.ng

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