The Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke, has told the Federal Government to implement the Executive Order on local content in Nigeria’s technology eco-system.
Opeke made the call on Monday in Lagos at the ‘Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation Forum’, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
She spoke on: “Developing Nigeria’s Tech Eco-system: Imperative for Improving Local Content’’.
The MainOne boss said that President Muhammadu Buhari had passed an Executive Order that government would preferentially source from Nigerian-owned companies, but the order had yet to be implemented.
She said that Nigeria’s tech eco-system was largely being driven by the private sector and that the model for government’s support for technology hubs in the country had not matured.
”Government policies directly impact the eco-system through the creation of favourable terms, infrastructural development and the provision of incentives for high-growth startups.
”South Africa’s tech eco-system remarkable growth is as a result of its strong government support with generous R&D incentives for the private sector that can give tax relief of up to 150 per cent of qualified spending.
”India’s tech eco-system earns #4 in the world, due to strong government backing, with friendly policies and free incubation hubs for entrepreneurs.
”Nigeria’s government can stimulate growth in the tech eco-system and impact on innovation hubs by providing the necessary infrastructure – power, broadband infrastructure and good road network,” she said.
Opeke said that government should foster a conducive business environment for business zones and innovation hubs with a friendly tax regime.
She called on government to develop and enforce effective policies for the country’s tech ecosystem to develop.
Opeke said there should also be synergy with universities to encourage research and development as well as scale the environment for innovative ideas in the academic space.
According to her, tech eco-systems globally are providing the environment that leads to innovations in existing sectors and creation of new sectors in the economy.
”It is an inter-connected and inter-dependent network of tech startups and entrepreneurs; global tech companies; hubs/accelerators, investment groups; universities and research institutes and organisations that are driving what is today referred to as the 4th Industrial Revolution.
”Developing Nigeria’s tech eco-system is not negotiable, if we are to have a prosperous future.
”Our ability to participate in global value chains other than as consumers will depend of the growth of our local content.
”So, in the maturing Digital Age, we better ensure we are not left behind.
“We cannot afford to be consumers and not increase our local content into the value chain because that will only make us poorer and poorer,” Opeke said.