The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, on Tuesday said Nigeria lost about 2.8 billion dollars annually on importation of ICT hardware and services.
Shittu made this known at the Stakeholders’ Compliance Workshop on the Procurement of Indigenous ICT products and service by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria is ceding about 70 per cent of the country’s technology market to the foreign brands due to apathy for locally made products.
“We have put in place policies and implementation that will bring recognition to indigenous creativity and protect intellectual property; we will continue to pursue this goal.
“While the value of Nigerian ICT hardware and services industry was estimated at 39.7billion dollars in 2014, and forecast to grow to144 billion dollars by 2020.
“Statistics show that foreign brands have continued to make huge money from Nigeria, the likes of Samsung, Acer, HP, Dell, Asus, Toshiba and Lenovo among others currently account for 70 per cent of sales in the market.
“This is without clear-cut backward integration plans, while a handful of indigenous brands like Zinox, Omatek Computers, Brian Integrated Systems make up the remaining 30 per cent.
“This is unacceptable, we cannot continue with this trend, that is why we are making local content development a major focus with a plan to unveil a blueprint and subsequent implementation.”
Shittu assured that all efforts would be channelled toward ensuring that all the local Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of products and services got patronage in the country.
He said that it would be good to see international brands establish factories in Nigeria or partner with local operators.
He said that they could also buy components of their systems that were produced by local manufactures as well as maintain in-country research and development departments for the purpose of product conceptualisation, adaption and prototype development.
“Under my watch, Nigeria will not be a dumping ground for all forms of technologies, Nigerians are good intellectually, we can also export our inventions and innovations abroad.
“Local content development policy will be implemented to protect indigenous players in the industry and the ministry will galvanise right policies that will see to the need of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.”
The minister said that presently ICT contributed about eight per cent to GDP, adding that said the ministry would improve on this to about 30 per cent by 2019.
He said that the government would create demand for local IT industries by protecting local players to recycle wealth and create jobs, build local content and support manufactures by driving demand.
Dr Vincent Olatunji, the Acting Director-General, NITDA said that the workshop was aimed at creating awareness for MDAs to be aware of government policies as related to local content .
Olatunji said that henceforth any MDA that defaulted in patronising local content in ICT would be committing a crime.
“NITDA will no longer tolerate any breach of this regulation and will ensure breaches no longer go unpunished.
“NITDA as the clearing house for IT projects for the government has developed guidelines for IT projects for MDAs, henceforth MDAs shall be required to clear the IT projects with NITDA.
“This is important in order to avoid sub-standard equipment, duplication of projects and to ensure that financial value for such services are retained in the country as part of the local content initiative.
He said that NITDA, through the Ministry of Communication would send a memo the Federal Executive Council to re-validate government’s directive on patronage of made in Nigeria ICT products and services.
He advised OEMs to upscale the quality of their products and establish after sales support services to guarantee timely intervention in case of challenges with their products and services. (NAN)