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Nigeria ICT in need of broad short, long-term plans for growth—ATCON

The President of Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engineer Olusola Teniola has argued that for Nigeria’s Information and Communications technology (ICT) potentials, there is the urgent need to immediately draw up a robust short and long-terms plans of engagements.

In his presentation at the recent Indo-Africa ICT Expo in Lagos, he decried that since the inauguration of the Office of the Nigeria Local Content (ONLC) in ICT, there is nothing to show due to poor crafting of its guidelines published back in 2013.

According to him, “ATCON would like NCC and ONC to come up with concrete short and long-term implementable plans in partnership with India. “Establishment of ICT Park: The Nigerian Government should encourage India should pool managerial and technical resources together for the establishment of an ICT Park in Nigeria. The ICT Park would be given the mandate to encourage the production of some ICT inputs like switches, router, and mobile phone repairs/assembly with some of our ATCON members that are already active in this space.

“Educational Policies must be Refocused: Today in Nigeria, the number of people who want to study science related courses are small (and in most cases reducing) in relation to students who want to study commercial or social science related courses”.

However, to move away from the observed failures, ATCON boss made it clear saying, “We need to begin to redirect the focus of students on the need to study science related courses. The Federal Government should make studying of science courses interesting by providing a conducive learning environment and state of art laboratory equipment for students with a view to encouraging local content policy”.

Continuing, he argued that time has come for “Government to Increase the Budget of ICT The Federal Government should begin to focus more on other alternative means of generating income and their focus should be on increasing government spending and budget allocation to funding the ICT sector for the purpose of making its products and services exportable, thereby allowing it to contribute to our foreign earnings”.

“Enactment of Appropriate ICT Policies: In order for the ICT sector to supplement or replace the Oil and Gas sector, strong policy frameworks which favour the sector must be put in place. It should be emphasized that the petroleum industry which used to be the cash cow for our nation (from a foreign exchange earning perspective) is not doing so well right now and this is a global issue,” Teniola averred.