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Executive Order 5 to boost NITDA’s drive in deepening local content—BHIU

The Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU), a research arm of Business Hilights Online Publications in Nigeria has seen the recent Executive Order 5, signed on Monday by President Muhammadu Buhari to improve local content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components as complementing the renewed drive of Nigeria Information technology Development Agency (NITDA).

It would be recalled that NITDA had in the last few months, been raising awareness among MDAs to always recourse to it in getting the needed clearance to go for foreign software and related technology items for use.

The Director General of the agency, Dr. Isah Pantami had made it clear that every agency of the government seeking to acquire any form of foreign technology must pass through NITDA for clearance, saying clearance can only be given when it has been proved that the material has no local substitute.

Also speaking in Lagos on Tuesday at a stakeholders meeting with Software developers and industry experts, he called on participants to work towards developing a standard operating system that can move the industry forward and save Nigeria from the massive capital flight from procuring related items abroad.

The Executive Order 5, the first to be signed by President Buhari, after the Vice President had signed four during Buhari’s London stay, was made public by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement made available to journalists.

Shehu said, the Executive Order is expected to promote the application of science, technology and innovation towards achieving the nation’s development goals across all sectors of the economy.

According to him, the President, pursuant to the authority vested in him by the Constitution, ordered that all “procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act, 2007.”

The Presidential aide noted that “The Executive Order also prohibits the Ministry of Interior from giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.

“It, however, notes that where expertise is lacking, procuring entities will give preference to foreign companies and firms with a demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous development prior to the award of such contracts.”

In the proclamation entitled, ‘Presidential Executive Order 5 for planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts and science, engineering and technology’, the President also directed government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design and execution of national security projects.

“Consideration shall only be given to a foreign professional, where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria.”