Vice President Namadi Sambo has challenged stakeholders in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to work with federal government to reduce the volume of capital flight out of the country annually due to importation of software and hardware.
Namadi spoke in Abuja at the opening ceremony of eNigeria 2013 with the theme: ‘ICT Local Content in Nigeria: The Journey So Far.’ government is seriously looking at virtually all sectors of the economy for local content empowerment.
He said: “Nigeria appears to be fully abreast with technological advancements and global innovation, it is glaring that the country still retains the posture of high level of ICT consumerism.
“This posture has plagued the Nigerian IT landscape with a paradoxical economic deficit and negative balance of trade as the economic value generated locally with the imported technologies used by Nigerians is far below optimal.”
According to him, government is fully in support of local content initiative being championed by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) because it is capable of creating jobs for Nigerians.
In her remarks, the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said Nigeria’s telecommunications sector is the fastest growing in the economy and the fourth largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that teledensity figures of 0.73 percent in 2001 had leapt to the impressive 85.25 percent in 2013 with approximately 112 million active telephone sets.
She said: “With the presentation of the guidelines,
guest speaker, Prof. Pat Utomi, said there was need for Nigeria to leapfrog its development with the ICT.
Utomi said ICT as the basic for leapfrogging development might look somehow impossible but not something out of reach.
“Development is a very important thing for our country. It is no doubt that unless we can leapfrog development we could be challenged.
“We are in a position where we can either reap either a huge demographic dividend from our population or we can be challenged by it, and to my mind information and communications present us a great opportunity to leapfrog.
He said building a local content in the ICT would made the country to be competent and competitive which would lead to high growth.
“The effectiveness of this sector is a matter of those who see solutions to which we can apply this technology and create value and economic growth for our country,” he said.
He added: “For too long we have encouraged people to see going to university as just going to get certificate and once you have the certificate you are entitled to a living. Until that changes, we will continue to be challenged.”