Nigeria's non-oil export profile may have been boosted with the exportation of some softwares developed in the country now making waves in markets in Uganda and Sierra Leone.

The President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPOH), Mr. Simeon Agu, made the disclosure in Lagos on Thursday at the opening of the eighth edition of the yearly Nigeria Software Exhibition (NISE 2004).

Agu said the softwares, developed by some Nigerian software entrepreneurs, had been bought by some financial institutions in the two African countries.

According to him, the softwares, which he described as "first class and well-packaged" are now ready for export to other Africa countries and the world at large.

He reiterated ISPON's opposition to government's patronage of foreign softwares, saying that local experts had the knowledge to meet the nation's needs.

The News agency of Nigerian (NAN) reports that ISPON has been at odds with NEPA's management in recent times over the latter's recent importation of a software from the U.S. at a cost of about N70 million.

Agu listed a 10-point agenda to be adhered to by government to attain its set goal in achieving self-reliance in the software sector.

He listed the requirements as promotion of learning in the sector, recommending the establishment of a Software Engineering Institute in each of the geo-political zones in the country.

The ISPON president said that funding of the sector should be given a boost with dedication of about 20 per cent small and medium-scale enterprises to software-related companies.

According to him, government should introduce an import licence regime for entrepreneurs in the sector and also set up a software protection commission.

Agu criticised the government for what he described as its poor computerisation of the public sector, pointing out that the goal of establishing the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) had not been felt in the sector.

The Commercial Councellor of the Canadian Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Grey Hats, advised software entrepreneurs in Nigerian to collaborate with their counterparts in Canada.

He said that the two nations would benefit immensely free each other if they build linkage in various areas especially in the software and technology sectors.

The Guardian