Nigeria: Software Development Policy Coming Soon, Says NITDA Boss


Perilous times may be coming to an abrupt end for young and unemployed computer engineers in the country as the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA; Professor Cleopas Angaye has said that the software development policy will soon to be implemented.

NITDA DG who spoke last week during his visit to Computer Village Ikeja said that the Software development policy when fully implemented will tap into the resources of young, yet inexperienced IT engineers who could be found virtually in every corner of the computer market.

Professor Angaye made the statement during his visit to executive members of the Computers and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria inside the Otigba Market, Computer village in Lagos over the weekend; a visit he called "Long overdue".

The NITDA boss said that CAPDAN would be actively involved in the development of this policy. He said "It boils to what we can do. We are looking to achieve vision 20, 2020 and I believe that by this way, we can create, polish and come out with new areas in the recreation of IT in the country." He said to this regards, NITDA had proposed to create an IT park and a Computer software development centre in the country.

Making references to countries like India, South Korea and Malaysia, Professor Angaye said young ones can be stimulated along the paths of IT development.

He however reemphasized that to achieve this, he would need CAPDAN collaboration "As Nigeria's foremost cluster, Otigba computer village deserves more recognition. It's contribution to the economy, in spite of obvious challenges, is quite significant. It is for that reason that NITDA is very keen on a close collaboration with CAPDAN. Angaye said henceforth, NITDA shall regard and treat CAPDAN as a key stakeholder in the IT industry.

Before now, there had been endless clamoring from stakeholders and industry observers on the need to move this policy swiftly into gear. It would be recalled that the President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Chris Uwaje, had challenged the federal government to create a more enabling environment for local capacity.

He had called for the establishment of a National Commission for Software Development, empowered with a professional, specialized, exclusive and executive mandate to facilitate the development of software policy, best practice, standards regulation, market promotion and capacity building.

Uwaje had stressed that with a youth population of about 43.2 per cent capacity, Nigeria possessed an immense advantage to engage the emerging knowledge society and succeeding economically, provided that the right professional framework and incentives for encouraging best practice and quality standards were established as strategic imperatives to match global competitiveness.

Explaining the need for N500 million to be raised for software development in the country, the ISPON president said that the amount for the industry was informed by the fact that the abandonment of Nigeria software development might lead to perpetual disappearance of our sovereignty and, of course, the national independence of the emerging phenomenon of what was called the locking syndrome, where the country continued to consume people's culture at their own expense, which can have immense consequence for Nigeria if software was enthroned as the most important aspect of the nation's livelihood, especially in the areas of politics and culture.

Only recently, the Federal Government set up the National Software Strategic Team, of which ISPON is to play a major role, all in the quest to up the ante of software development in the country. Earlier reports had stated that the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), is already shopping for over N500 million investment for software development, the institute has also proffered various strategies that can save the country from loosing billions of naira to capital flight through acquisition of foreign software.

Professor Angaye was optimistic that with strong collaboration coming from CAPDAN, the new policy would be well underway to strengthen the nation's grip on emerging global benefits of an IT grounded economy. He said the software development centre sites soon to be established in the country is only but a step in this direction.

Since these development centres would be dealing with deeply concentrated IT clusters to which the Otigba market, computer village is a classic example, the NITDA boss has said it would begin processes of registering legitimate members of the CAPDAN body unto a database which would be maintained and published. These data bases would hold current details of what IT dealers in the market dealt with; both in products and services.

"We would like to have a comprehensive list of all accredited and bonafide CAPDAN member companies which NITDA shall recognize, assist and protect."

Angaye also invited CAPDAN to serve on a joint committee with NITDA to iron out pressing issues which currently plagued the nations IT sector which included: management of e-waste, standardization of IT products imported, assembled or sold in the Otigba market, elimination of software piracy and overall the general improvement of businesses of CAPDAN members and the development of IT clusters in the country.