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ISPON reiterates need for deliberate policy for indigenous software, IT sector
The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has called for a deliberate policy that will boost the morale of indigenous software developers and grow the IT sector in general. ISPON made the call at its Presidential Dinner held in Lagos recently, noting that a critical look at Information Technology as a field of endeavor […]
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The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) hascalled for a deliberate policy that will boost the morale of indigenoussoftware developers and grow the IT sector in general.
ISPON made the call at its Presidential Dinner held inLagos recently, noting that a critical look at Information Technology as afield of endeavor reveals that the most important ingredient for a successful(IT) industry is intellectual capital or knowledge and training of thepopulation in the IT field.
Thus, speakers at the Dinner unanimously agree that IT ecosystem should be for the country, the ingredients tohaving viable IT economy and how to create sustainable IT Ecosystem
The former Minister of Communications Technology, Dr.Omobola Johnson, who delivered the keynote paper at the dinner with thetheme: Having An Inclusive IT Ecosystem , said manyhave questioned at international fora whether the African DigitalTransformation drive was a hype or a reality, but insisted that the driveremained a reality for African countries, especially in Nigeria.
She, however urged the federal government of Nigeria tocome up with better policy and regulatory framework that will not stifletechnology growth in the country.
According to Johnson, “Nigerian government must focuson Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to driveInformation and Communications Technology (ICT) education that will boostdigital transformation in Nigeria.
Software stakeholders must collaborate with government todesign specific training on ICT for young Nigerian startups and government mustdo everything possible to grow the country’s infrastructure in order tofacilitate national development.”
Citing China and India that have become strong forces forglobal technology development, Johnson challenged ISPON to form a formidableforce that would promote inclusive IT ecosystem in the country.
The President of ISPON, Dr. YeleOkeremi, decried that since the days of the oil boom, the fate of the Nigerianeconomy became tied to the international price of crude oil: The economy becamebuoyant when international oil prices rose and went into slowdown and evenrecessions once the international price of crude fell or Nigeria became unableto meet up with its production quota.
The petroleum industry itselfbecame overly focused on the mere extraction of crude without any value added.
The country has becomeover-dependent on trading in primary goods with consequent implications onemployment, wealth creation and wealth distribution. It is a known fact inscholarly circles that economies that operate in such manner end up exportingits prosperity and in turn import poverty from other countries .
Where We Should Be
From the aforementioned facts, Okeremi suggested that it isnow necessary for Nigeria to take a second look at its economic recoverystrategy if it is to achieve results and sustain such results.
It is considered prudent for societies and economies toencourage the creation of complex businesses, which create an environment forits citizens to get engaged in meaningful work.
It is in the light of this that I seek to present aninclusive Information Technology ecosystem as a potential to lift the countryout of its current economic challenges .
He said that a critical look at Information Technology as afield of endeavor reveals that the most important ingredient for a successfulInformation Technology industry is intellectual capital or knowledge andtraining of the population in the IT field.
IT, particularly the software field can be pursuedeffectively by countries that have a favorable age demographics, with a goodyouth population and a sound education , the ISPON president said.
He further proposed what the ITecosystem should be for the country, the ingredients to having viable ITeconomy and how to create sustainable IT Ecosystem using the success of theSilicon Valley as a bench mark.
As the name implies, an ecosystem is a self-sustainingsystem where all its participants create some form of value that is consumed bysome other members and all the players operate in a symbiotic manner.
Inclusiveness the Weapon
There are several ways that a nation could catalyze its ITecosystem to achieve success and become self-reliant and ultimately be a netcontributor to the IT economy of the world. For a country like Nigeria that hasa high propensity for technology consumption and a suitable age demographic,Nigeria can borrow a leaf from countries like China that catalyzed their industryon the premises of local consumption. In other words, the country needs to comeup with a deliberate policy to encourage the mantra of producing what itconsumes and consume what it produces .
He said that the ability to achieve this is quite simple byfollowing the money and studying which areas the country consumes the mosttechnology products.
The country has every right to begin a simple policy ofimport substitution. This will ensure the practitioners in the country areautomatically provided domestic market access , he said.