Ex-Minister, Johnson Backs ISPON’s Call For Deliberate Policy To Encourage Software, IT Sector
The Country needs regulatory framework that will not stifle technology growth – Dr. Omobola John
The most important ingredient for a successful IT Technology as a field of endeavour is intellectual capital or the knowledge or the need to offer training on IT to the populace if we look at IT critically.
Again , there are several ways a nation could Activate its IT ecosystem to achieve success and become self-reliant and therefore be a net contributor to the IT economy of the world.
Based on that, the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) believes the IT sector can move forward when we see the need for deliberate policy to boost the morale of indigenous software developers and grow the IT sector in general.
Speakers at the Institute’s Presidential Dinner held in Lagos on Friday, April 26, 2019, ultimately agree that the ingredients to having viable IT economy and how to create sustainable IT Ecosystem should be for the country for sustainable IT sector.
Dr. Omobola Johnson, the former Minister of Communications and technology who delivered the keynote paper at the dinner with the theme: “Having An Inclusive IT Ecosystem”, said many have questioned at international fora if the African Digital Technology drive was a reality or a hype!, she believed that African countries, especially Nigeria believes much on the drive for IT Ecosystem.
Dr Omobola Johnson, however urged the federal government of Nigeria to come up with better policy and regulatory framework that will not affect the country’s growth of IT technology .
To boost digital transformation in Nigeria, according to Johnson, Nigerian government must focus on Technology, Science, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to drive Information and Communications Technology (ICT) education which will in the long run boost digital transformation in Nigeria.
To facilitate national development.” “Software stakeholders must collaborate with government to design specific training on ICT for young Nigerian beginners and government must also do everything possible to grow the country’s infrastructure in a better way.
Johnson giving example of China and India who has become strong forces to reckon with in terms of global technological development has urged ISPON to form a formidable force that would promote inclusive IT ecosystem for the country.
The President of ISPON, Dr. Yele Okeremi, decried that since the days of the oil boom, Nigeria economy has been tied to the international price of crude oil which the depended upon as they become buoyant and it has been the case of rise and fall in crude oil which has caused recession in Nigeria.
“The petroleum industry itself became focused on the mere extraction of crude without any value added.
The pattern of the county’s growth is not encouraging as the also dependent upon trading only, no manufacturing , exportation and poor IT infrastructure. This does not have any positive impact on employment, sustainable wealth creation. It is a known fact according to scholarly thought, “ that economies that operate in such manner end up exporting its prosperity and in turn import poverty from other countries”.
Looking at the aforementioned facts, Okeremi suggested that it is now necessary for Nigeria to take a second look deeply towards its economic recovery strategy if it is to achieve results and sustain growth.
1. It is considered prudent for societies and economies to encourage the creation of complex businesses to encourage the creation of a suitable environment for its citizens to engage themselves in meaningful jobs or professions.
2. To take the country out of its current economic challenges, it is in that light that i seek to present an inclusive IT Ecosystem as a potential way to lift the country economic challenges.
He said that a critical look at Information Technology as a field of endeavour states that the most important rudiments for a successful Information Technology industry is intellectual capital or knowledge and training of the population in the IT field.
The ISPON president revealed that software field can effectively and efficiently pursued by countries with a lot good and highly educated youths. Age is of essence here.,
He further proposed what the IT ecosystem should be for the country through the use of Silicon Valley as a bench mark for the ingredients to having viable IT economy and how to create sustainable IT Ecosystem.
As the name implies, an ecosystem is a self-sustaining system where all its participants create some form of value that is consumed by some other members and all the participants operate in a symbiotic manner.
IT field agree that a sound IT ecosystem specifically comprises of;
1. Tertiary Institutions. A good and viable system of tertiary education that feeds the ecosystem with fresh graduates with innovative and inventive ideas.
2. Established IT Firms. These IT firms stands as the ecosystem’s mentors;
3. Incubators and accelerators that provide support services, co-working space and other facilities and structures suitable ffor emerging startup companies
4. Individuals and nascent firms with entrepreneurial ideas and viable business models/ innovations.
5. Angle Investors who provide initial seed funding for startups when they are still at their early stages occasioned by high risk and are unattractive to venture capitalists and banks
6. Venture Capitalists who are able to fund startups that have moved from early or formation stage to acceleration stage is very important
7. Private Equity Firms and Capital Market where the public and other investors can take equity positions in IT firms that become public.
Inclusiveness – the Weapon
There are several ways that a nation could Push its IT ecosystem to achieve success and become self-reliant and ultimately be a net contributor to the IT economy of the world. The need to deviate to an extent from too much importation to the neglect of what we produce. Lets us produce what we consume and consume what we produce.
Too much dependent on crude oil sells which when it fluctuates affects our economy and for a country like Nigeria that has a high propensity for technology consumption and a suitable age demographics, Nigeria can borrow a leaf from countries like China that Pushed their industry on the premise of local consumption.
To achieve this is by simply studying the areas of technological products which the country consumes most.
The country has every right to begin A simple policy of import substitution is ok for the country. Through the way the practitioners in the country are automatically provided domestic market access.
From our facts so far , Nigeria dependences heavily on foreign IT products and services to run our economy, undermining the availability of local close substitutes to such products and services. By this situation the ecosystem suffers a great set back.
(L-r):Past President, ISPON, Chris Uwaje; Head of Commercial Office, Egyptian Embassy, Lagos, Muhammad Abdullah; Past President NCS, Alhaji Ladi Ogunneye; Keynote Speaker, Dr. (Mrs.) Omobola Johnson; President, ISPON, Dr. Yele Okeremi; Past President, ISPON, Olorogun James Emadoye; event Chairman, Alfred Okoigun and Commercial Counsellor, Austrian Embassy, Lagos, Guido Stock, at the event.
Inclusiveness – the Way
Why has it been difficult for the Nigerian IT ecosystem to evolve or upgrade?
The answers has to do with Nigerian technology buyers’ failure to place right demand on solution over valuation. The IT firms are after meeting the technological needs of the consumers , it does not guarantee value delivery for money spent to buy the technology.
Therefore, Solution to identified problems is what every technology buyer needs to evalute technology provider valuable and worthy of patronage.
So , whoever is capable of providing effective solution irrespective of valuation deserves patronage, as it involves pursuant to local content development and enhancement of the national IT ecosystem evolvement.
It is therefore necessary for government institutions to provide the opportunity for local IT firms to thrive by engaging them to find the solutions face our socio economy challenges rather than investing in foreign solutions.
From the fore going , it becomes necessary that Nigerian IT firms have and can proffer solutions to the myriad of challenges facing the nation.
By doing so , then we would have succeeded in building and promoting our indigenous IT giants that have indept abilities to become national economic solution providers, technology exporters, create wealth, and employment generation”, he stated.
Credits: ISPON, Economytoday. IT watch.TecJOIN OUR COMMUNITY