According to a Vanguard report, the delegates at the just concluded 2017 eNigeria Conference and exhibition have expressed dismay that Nigeria spends a whooping sum of N868 billion ($2.8bn) annually on importation of hardware and software products and services annually.
This was revealed in a six page communiqué issued at the end of the three day annual ICT event held at the International conference Centre, Abuja and read by Dr. Collins Agu, the director of Corporate Planning and Strategies at NITDA.
The delegates expressed concern that such expenditure has led to capital flight and massive job loss in the country.
The communiqué also noted that the Nigerian economy is making digital transition which is evident from the sheer volume of online financial transactions in the country which stood at over N56 trillion in 2016, and 204 percent increase in internet transactions between 2014 and 2017 – from N5.41 billion to N16.45 billion.
The delegates further decried low patronage of Made-in-Nigeria ICT goods and services, which they said had resulted in considerable capital flight out of the country.
They described digital economy as an important enabler of economic growth since digital skills and technologies have the capacity to boost the productivity of every nation with such skills and technologies projected to contribute $2 trillion to the global economy by 2020.
The communiqué reads: ‘‘We are concerned that a whopping $2.8 billion is expended on the importation of hardware and software products and services annually to the country which had led to capital flight.
‘‘We also note that the Nigerian economy is making digital transition which is evident from the sheer volume of online financial transactions in the country which stood at over N56 trillion in 2016, and 204 percent increase in Internet transactions between 2014 and 2017 – from N5.41 billion to N16.45 billion.
‘‘Digital economy is an important enabler of economic growth since digital skills and technologies have the capacity to boost the productivity of every nation with such skills and technologies projected to contribute $2 trillion to the global economy by 2020;
‘‘We note all efforts of NITDA on local content development, infrastructural deployment, capacity building as well as creation and review of existing regulations for effective ICT sector in the country;
‘‘We equally note that in 2017, NITDA saved the sum of N2.5billion for the Federal Government of Nigeria through the IT Project Clearance initiative.
‘‘ICT deployment in Nigeria is growing at a very high rate thus positioning the country as one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Sahara Africa, with the sector contributing about 12.58 percent to the GDP in 2017.’’
Continuing, the communiqué noted: The importance of a thriving Local Content Policy through ability to develop a “home-grown” digital economy which is dependent upon the development of ICT-capacity of Nigerians,
‘‘The directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria for all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to patronize “Made-in-Nigeria” Information Technology (IT) products and services.
‘‘That the digital economy comprises economic activities resulting from the billions of online connections leading to increase in revenue, empowerment of citizens, reduction in corruption and the creation of jobs.
‘‘The serious efforts of countries which experienced a high level economic growth through growing their digital economies.
‘‘The efforts of NITDA at collaborating with relevant government organisations such as the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP); the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation should be intensified to ensure that the certificates issued are used to assess the level of compliance of IT projects.
‘‘The giant strides made by NITDA in the development of Rulemaking Process aimed at stakeholders participation in the development of regulations, policies, and guidelines.’’
The theme of the 2017 eNigeria conference, ‘‘Fostering Digital Economy through Local Content Development and Effective Regulations’’, was predicated on three segments of using ICT to reduce unemployment, enhance national security and promote ICT local content development through effective regulations.
The eNigeria organised by national Information technology Development Agency, NITDA is Nigeria’s flagship international conference and Exhibition that brings stakeholders together in the IT industry to deliberate on emerging technologies, local innovation and relevant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) issues for the socio-economic development of the nation
The objectives of 2017 edition were to encourage indigenous ICT innovation management for national and economic development; position the nation to benefit from emerging technologies; articulate the imperatives of ICT for effective service delivery; outline a roadmap for national ICT skills development and identify entrepreneurial opportunities and regulatory challenges affecting Local Content promotion and adoption.