Dr. Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology, while inaugurating the Advisory Board of the Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT in Lagos this week, emphasized the need for Nigerians to begin local content development in the area of Information and Communications Technology which will only drive growth in the country.
According to her, the ministry has been working hard since its creation in 2011 to carry out its mandate in a way that will position the entire ICT industry as a key driver of economy growth. She explained that the telecommunications industry’s contribution to the National GDP is close to nine percent. Dr. Johnson stated that, “The continued signs of aggressive growth in the ICT industry since the ministry was created coupled with an improved GDP contribution of 8.53 percent by the third quarter of 2015 are all indications of increased growth in the industry.”
She explained that the ICT industry developed at an annual rate of 30 per cent in the past five years and stressed the need for more measures to be put in place to ensure increased Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). She said, “We need to ensure that we maximize the opportunities created by these FDI inflows to create impressive growth figures while nurturing local participation and positive partnership with the multinational companies.”
However, she noted that the major challenge facing the industry is the perception gap with regard to the reality of Nigeria being a destination for ICT hubs in Africa based on vibrant local participation in the ICT industry. She added that there is a need for the government and the private sector to quickly close this perception gap by articulating and selling the Nigerian growth to foreign investors.
She encouraged Nigerians to believe in locally developed ICT products and ensure that they patronize locally developed solutions. In order to achieve this, local content development plans must be built into projects to be carried out within Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of governments. She advised corporate organisations that rely so much on foreign developed software to start looking inwards for local software that could meet their needs.