President, Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Mrs. Florence Seriki, has stated that local participation in manufacturing is absolutely essential for meaningful development in the Information and Communications Technology industry.
Local manufacturing is in fact viewed by ITAN as a national priority if the nation is to achieve its Information Technology development goals, most especially in the area of local content development. Key ITAN focus areas in this regard are as follows:
- Policy – Though there have been hiccups in the past in ensuring the faithful implementation of the policy mandating patronage of locally-assembled computers in the country, ITAN is working with the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to ensure compliance.
- Funding – ITAN is also working with the Bank of Industry (BOI) to accelerate IT development in Nigeria. As a result of powerful and intensive advocacy by ITAN, BOI created an ICT desk and will work with ICT companies. It is expected that BOI will fund players interested at a single digit or at most 10 per cent interest rate, and will give concession to ITAN members on funding.
- Though ITAN commends the BOI for its single digit interest rate for the ICT sector, ITAN insists that special funds need to be dedicated to the ICT industry to encourage growth of local ICT companies in the challenging market environment that have to compete with foreign vendors that tend to be supported by their home countries.
- Growth – ITAN emphasizes that the ICT industry must grow to achieve the national goal of job creation and significant impact in the knowledge economy. ITAN therefore advocates urgency in the encouragement of production, manufacturing and local patronage. ITAN commends the government on its initiatives and is ready to partner with government on programs that encourage local production, especially of high volumes.
- Government – ITAN is committed to working with the Ministry of Communication Technology, NITDA and BoI to develop the IT industry. ITAN is of the view that political changes in the nation should not be allowed to affect the ICT sector, but instead ICT should be recognized and treated as a priority sector that drives the economy. Interestingly, President of ITAN and Chief Executive Officer of Omatek Computers, Engr. (Mrs.) Florence Seriki (mfr) while swearing in of the new council members in 2011 had stated that “The new ITAN will work with both federal and state governments to make ICT a major tool for economic development in the country.”
ITAN is an association of the top information Technology driven companies in Nigeria and an interest group of the Nigeria Computer Society founded in 1991 to promote IT literacy and penetration in Nigeria; and to promote members’ interest in the area of trade, public policy formulation and negotiations with government on IT policy matters.
Kudos to Mrs. Seriki and the ITAN executive. May ITAN create an enduring legacy and fulfill its vision for Nigeria’s IT industry and the nation.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What are your views on the advocacy of ITAN? What else can be done to make local manufacturing in ICT a national priority? Please share your thoughts and comments.
Innovation and Development Advisory, ICT Advocacy at Jidaw
ICT Development Advisory Support and Consulting