COMMUNIQUE OF THE 24TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE AND ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE NIGERIA COMPUTER SOCIETY (NCS) WITH THE THEME TOWARDS A CASHLESS SOCIETY: TOOLS AND STRATEGIES (CASHLESS2012) HELD AT LE MERIDIEN IBOM HOTEL & GOLF RESORT, UYO, AKWA-IBOM STATE, NIGERIA, FROM WEDNESDAY 25TH FRIDAY – 27TH JULY, 2012.
Information Technology (IT) is now recognized as the preferred and fastest growing industry in the world today, with the power to invigorate and actualize national visions as well as transform and enrich economies. Reliable studies estimate the global value of IT opportunities to be over US$200 trillion. The 2012 IT spends is projected to exceed US$1.6trillion.
The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) was formed in 1978 having transformed from the then Computer Association of Nigeria (COAN) to become the umbrella body of all IT professionals in Nigeria. The society is structured into Professional and Industry Groups. It has within its fold other specialized interest groups namely: The Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Internet Services Provider of Nigeria (ISPAN) and the newly inaugurated Nigeria Women in IT (NiWIT).
As the Internet and technological advances continue to reshape power, redistribute national resources, transform government, education, culture and the way we work, competition and economic pressures create quicker and more efficient ways to do business. The reality of increased and quality information for economic and national survivability remains a fundamental concern to all nations of the world.
This year’s conference had in attendance over 828 participants, the largest so far in the history of the Society. The Theme, “Towards Cashless Nigeria: Tools and Strategies” was specifically chosen in tandem with the transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCON) administration particularly the on-going reforms in the financial sector being spear headed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The conference provided a unique platform for practitioners both within and outside IT, policy makers, researchers and entrepreneurs to discuss, deliberate and evolve strategies that will facilitate the Cashless Nigeria policy.
The choice of Akwa Ibom state as venue was also deliberate, not only for the generous support received from the state Governor, Chief (Dr) Godswill Akpabio but also an opportunity to witness firsthand, the rapid development going on in the state. Akwa Ibom is also the home state of the third president of the Society, Chief Don Etiebet, former Minister of Petroleum Resources whose towering presence throughout the duration of the conference added color and candor. The conference also hosted the 3rd edition of the Research Consortium on Information Technology Innovations (RECITI 2012).
The conference had eight principal tracks focusing on varied topics ranging from innovative software and hardware tools, entrepreneurship development and wealth creation strategies, capacity building and job creation, e-Government, call centre issues and security. Keynote addresses and talks were delivered by the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); DG, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC); DG, Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Governor, Central Bank, Managing Director, NIBSS; and MD, Fedex or their respective representatives.
The Governor of Akwa Ibom, represented by the state deputy Governor, Obong Nsima Ekere, in a brilliant and well presented paper chronicled the activities of the state government, the central role of IT in transforming the lives of the citizens, the all-encompassing entertainment centre and the newly constructed state of the art digital library.
This year conference received support from Chams PLC, CPN, Dataflex, Data foundation, Data Sciences, Image Technologies, NIMC, NITDA, Sidmach Technologies and Zinox Computers.
At the end of the conference, the Stakeholders collectively resolved and endorsed this communiqué with the following recommendations:
1. That in view of current economic realities, the current spending on cash management is wasteful and unsustainable. More so, given the rising expenditure on currency production, replacement, distribution and vault management; and in line with the global trend, cashless society is imperative and inevitable. Savings made from expenditure on cash management should be ploughed to ICT infrastructural development and penetration in Nigeria.
2. That in cashless society, there is operational efficiency, reduction in crime and corruption. These advantages should be pushed into public domain through awareness and sensitization workshops.
3. That clean and stable public power supply, reliable network services and availability of access infrastructure are pivotal to the success of the cashless Nigeria initiative.
4. That there is urgent need for curriculum review of computer courses to incorporate new courses in information security and higher degree in digital forensics. In achieving this, there should be a well coordinated interfacing of the industry and academia. .
5. That cashless economy is a catalyst for innovation, local content development, and job creation; therefore the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in conjunction with the Computer Professionals of Nigeria should be empowered to combine efforts to invigorate and accelerate manpower development in area of local software application and services developments. Such application should be localized in the various Nigeria languages. This is capable of generating streams of income and creates wealth to the nation like Ireland and India.
6. The effort of National Identity Management Commission under its current leadership to develop a central national database, multi-factor authentication system, enrollment and card issuing services, as well as identification and verification processes is commendable. The implementation of the unique identification number (UIM) project of the NIMC in particular is crucial to the success of the cashless policy. This should be accelerated.
7. The meeting commended NITDA for its leadership role in promoting and deepening IT development in Nigeria. It noted the continual support of NITDA to the Nigeria Computer Society.
8. Finally, the conference resolved that accelerating the progress and benefits of Federal Government Transformation Agenda, required the inclusion of Information Technology Professionals and IT captains of Industry at all Board and Project Implementation levels of government initiatives.
Sir Ademola Aladekomo (FNCS)
President Nigeria Computer
Professor G.A Aderounmu