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FG killing local content on software production by giving approvals for imports—Expert

Managing Partner of leading producer of software solutions, ATB Techsoft Solution, Mr. Abiodun Atobatele has opened up on the major drawbacks facing indigenous producers of softwares.

In an interview, Atobatele said “The major problem software development companies like ours face in Nigeria is local content and patronage”.

He said “We have local content law or policy, but in practice, these laws are observed in breaches and treated with impunity. We have a government agency NOTAP, which is the regulatory agency to protect software development and acquisition in Nigeria”.

“The question is whether that organisation that is running on taxpayers’ money is carrying out its mandate. No company in Nigeria – big or small, should buy any software or import them into Nigeria without NOTAP certification.

He decried further saying “NOTAP will have to issue a certificate before any company can get forex from banks to buy software abroad. NOTAP is expected to have a data base of all software companies in Nigeria and their products, and at the same time, have a data base of all the software that companies use in Nigeria which they buy offshore”.

He submitted that “When companies come to seek NOTAP approval to buy software from abroad, NOTAP should first look into its data base to look at Nigerian companies that have such software or can develop it and refer the buyer to the local software company”.

“It is when there is no local company that can meet that need that NOTAP should allow any company to buy offshore. From official available record over $1billion is spent yearly to import foreign software into Nigeria.

“That is the forex that went through official NOTAP and CBN records, not to talk of those who bought their dollars from black market and sent abroad. NOTAP should in my view be organising quarterly local software companies fair, where we will come and display and demonstrate what we have.

“This will help government to know our local capacity; a lot of Nigeria IT professionals and software companies are doing great things. We are inventing and coming with innovation, but we don’t have good patronage for our efforts and the big businesses send billions abroad to India, U.S., and Europe, to buy software we can make in Nigeria.