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‘Giving job to Microsoft after damaging statement on diversion of $30bn centre painful’

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Outrage is rising across the nation’s ICT industry following the hiring of United States (U.S.) technology giants including Oracle and Microsoft by the federal government to help in saving costs and fighting corruption.

Apart from Oracle which has a strong wing in Nigeria, analysts are worried on why such sensitive job is given to Microsoft who diverted its earlier planned $30bn data centre investment from Nigeria to South Africa, citing lack of needed manpower and weak infrastructure as reasons.

According to observers, the diversion of the foreign direct investment valued at over $30bn by Microsoft remains a disservice to Nigeria’s FDIs drive and the ICT sector in general.

To them, the federal government shouldn’t have involved Microsoft in such jobs for now as a mark of rejection of the diversion.

However, the government hinged its job offer to both US companies on an initiative led by Redwood, California-based Oracle which it said has enabled it to remove 50,000 ghost workers, or fake entries, from the payroll.

Other companies interested in taking on more work in Nigeria include IBM Corp. and Sweden’s Ericsson AB, according to Yusuf Kazaure, managing director of state-owned Galaxy Backbone, which provides technology services to the government.

Galaxy Backbone’s budget has increased by 30 per cent this year to N4 billion ($12.7 million), Kazaure said in a phone interview. State funding for the company will probably increase at a similar annual rate for the foreseeable future, he said. Nigeria is investing 50 per cent more on information communications technology (ICT) infrastructure this year, totaling about N41billion, according to budget data.

Africa’s most populous country is seeking to recover from its worst economic downturn in more than two decades and is using technology to improve government revenue collection and attract investment. The continent’s biggest oil producer is ranked 136 out of 167 countries on Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index, a placing that may improve if the government is able to simplify processes such as the awarding of state permits, according to Hakeem Adeniji-Adele, director of public sector work at Microsoft Nigeria.