Director-General of National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. Ibrahim DanAzumi has revealed why several software developed by Nigerians fail to pass commercialization tests.
In an interview, he decried how developers and mainly researchers rush to publish most of their research and development efforts, saying “Once they are published, they are in public domain and they cannot have monopoly over them”.
“All technologies are products of research and development efforts that were generated from research establishments and tertiary institutions. For us as a nation, we have to start strategising to see how we can reduce consumption of these technologies and the institutions that could assist to reduce the level of consumption of foreign technologies in our universities. That is why we felt we should go to the universities and enlighten them to improve their culture of intellectual property protection.
“What we are trying to do is to educate them that before they publish, they need to protect it and NOTAP is there to assist them in protecting that intellectual property because that is the first stage of commercialisation of any research and development effort.
Continuing, NOTAP boss added that “The researcher himself does not have the amount of money to move to the next level of commercialisation, so he needs the private sector to come in. And no stakeholder in the private sector will like to put their money in an intellectual property that is not protected.
On the impact of the 38 Intellectual Property Technology Transfer Offices all over the country, DanAzumi averred that “The purpose of these offices is to change the culture and try to sensitise researchers. We used to get three to four patents in a year. Last year alone, we got about 16 patents. This year, from January to August, we already had 38 patents. Our target is that before the end of the year, we want to have patented certificates of 50 technologies. That means, we are bringing these technologies to the private sector for them to key in and commercialise them”.
Giving insights on how NOTAP is supporting the development of local software, he said “We have a local content committee formed by NOTAP and National Information and Technology Development Agency. The committee would ensure that the software developed by Nigerians, if we are assured they will work the way the foreign ones will, we advise against importation or stop registering some of that software. We have started with the public sector and any public establishment that wants to acquire software must get clearance from NITDA.
“NITDA will look at its database to see if the software is developed locally. If we have, they will let us know that there are alternatives locally and that we should not register them. For now, we have to confine ourselves to government agencies and ministries but banks are the major consumer of foreign software. We cannot go to the banks now; but by the time we are sure that what the banks need are locally available, we will still register imported software for the banks,” Dr. Ibrahim DanAzumi concluded.