The Nigerian Government said it would no longer accept importation of any digital technological product or service into the country “until and unless the country is convinced that capacity to develop such product and service is not readily available in the country.”
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, who gave the directive while delivering his special remarks at 2022 Digital Nigeria Conference, Exhibition and Award, in the nation’s capital city, Abuja said that the wisdom behind the stoppage of the importation of the digital technological products and services is to give effect to the Executive Orders 003 of May 2017 and 005 of February 2018.
The executive order gave support to Local Content Procurements by Ministries, Department and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria” and the “Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts and Science, Engineering and Technology” respectively.
He stated further that “even in the employment position that is publicized, as long as there are Nigerians that have the capacities to take up the challenges, it is not allowed for you to bring somebody from outside the country except is an agreement for transferring of knowledge and 40 per cent of our products and services must be retained for Nigerians.”
Pantami disclosed that the sector has been performing creditably well in the last three years which makes it the fastest growing sector and the highest contributor to the Gross Domestic Products of the country.
He said, “Digital Economy has in recent time recorded three unprecedented records adding that the sector contributed 18.44 per cent to the GDP in the last quarter according to the National Bureau of Statistic.
While listing the achievements of the sector, the Minister informed that all the ministry scored high grade in each of the eight ministerial deliverables he signed with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister revealed that the under the service infrastructure pillar, the IT project clearance alone has saved the Federal Government over N44 billon in the last one year with the clearing of over 1,600 projects which have to do with the automation of government processes in order to save fund, improve precision and accuracy and promote accountability.
He said the development of many regulatory instruments by the ministry and its parastatals has led to the passing in to law the Nigeria Start-Up Bill by the National Assembly and consequently assented to by the President last week.
He said the passage of the Bill as attracted commendation globally especially from Massachusetts Institute of Technology which indicated interest to learn from.
Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Mr Kashifu Inuwa, in his remark expressed optimism that with the several initiatives the ministry and all its parastatals are putting in place, Nigeria can become the global talent supplier in the tech ecosystem in no distance time.
He said Nigeria is doing a lot in trying to position itself in the area of talent development because technology has two components; the technology and the people side of it-talent which we have in abundant in Nigeria.
According him, if Nigeria could harness her talents in the tech ecosystem, it does not need anything again “because talent alone is estimated at 8.5 trillion USD market value and Nigeria has the capacity to fill the global talent gap.
“We believe digital transformation needs collaboration. We need everybody on board. Government has its own roles; to create policies, to intervene in terms of regulations and legal framework and you all have your own roles to play. The academia produces the human capital; we need the innovators to come up with innovative ideas, we need the venture capitalists to invests and we need you our guests from abroad to learn from your experience.”
Gambia’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,Mr. Ousman A. Bah enjoined African countries to embrace digital transformation stating that “digital transformation required the need for visionary leaders that have purpose and purpose that has destiny and destiny has address.”
In her keynote address, the Secretary General, Digital Cooperation organisation, Deemah A. Alyahya sued for bridging the gender digital divide that exists.
“We need to promote digital inclusion and ensure that we bridge the digital gender divide that is prevailing because women occupy very important roles in our journey toward digital transformation”, she said.