Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim, Director general of NOTAP
Stakeholders of Nigerian based Software Companies have expressed worry over the absence of policies aimed at encouraging the use of software developed in the country.
While speaking at an event to appreciate Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim, director general, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) in Lagos for his efforts to encourage participation of indigenous software in the economy, Bimbo Abioye, Group managing director, FinTrak Software said:
“As developers of application in Nigeria, the challenge that we have is absence of regulation, despite coming up with products that are even better and have been successfully deployed where foreign options have failed still for whatever reasons operators would opt for foreign software.
“Even for mere travelling abroad for training, it is as small as that. For technical training which allows them to go shopping and collect estacode both in the private and public sectors.”
He lamented that Nigerians were comfortably enriching foreign economies by using their software, investing at least $1billion annually, while we had so many unemployed youths in Nigeria. He suggested import tax duties on foreign software as high as 35% saying that this way, we can develop the ecosystem and provide single digit loan for software companies in Nigeria.
Chuks Onyebuchi, chief executive officer, Union Systems, took a slightly different approach, urging regulators to give a time frame within which all foreign based software will be replaced by indigenous ones.
“Let’s give all the foreign software in Nigeria between 5 to 8 years and give local software companies a mandate of eight years to develop all foreign systems being used in Nigeria, at the expiration of the mandate any company running a foreign software will pay a huge tax or will drop the system. We need to take a very serious approach to this; it is not something we have to be playing lip service. The document presented by the National Software Think Tank, if NOTAP and NITDA can really see that it is implemented, I think Nigeria software ecosystem will be better for it.”
Meanwhile, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Tenisola chipped in his bit when he commended the work of young Nigerians who have developed application in artificial intelligence, Mi and Blockchain technology and entreated that these young people should be given the opportunities develop their skills across sectors such as telecoms, where he noted, was currently dominated by the Chinese.