By Emeka Aginam
The draft national software policy has been developed and submitted to the the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) for review and approval, Vanguard Hitech has learnt.
The blueprint, if approved by the Federal Government, Vanguard Hitech gathered, is expected to guide Software Nigeria in the 21st century.
NITDA, the clearing house for IT projects in the Nigerian public sector had earlier set up the National Software Policy Committee, (NSPC) last year, tasked to develop a national software policy aimed at making Nigeria a competitive country in software development.
POLICY TO POSITION NIGERIA SOFTWARE'S
The policy when fully implemented will be used to explore the full potentials of the industry in a way to make software Nigeria a major player in the global software industry. Before now, the NSPC had been given terms of reference to design appropriate strategies for national research and development and also establish strategies for promoting local demand for software products and services
Chairman of the NSPC, Prof. Oluwole Akinyokun said that the draft copy would be reviewed during a stakeholders forum early this month after which it will be submitted to the Ministry of Communications for approval.
“The draft copy has been submitted to the NITDA. Part of the content of the policy will include, physical policy, strategic policy, human capital, software infrastructure, regulatory policy, among others” he said. He added that after the stakeholders meeting, the policy will be presented the federal executive council for consideration and approval by the Minister of Communication Technology.
The work plan after the approval of draft national software policy, he said will include submission of draft to the Minister of Communications & Technology for consideration and approval; and development of a strategic plan for the implementation of the approved National Software Policy.
The National Software Development Policy, if enforced , according to him is expected to tap into the resources of young, yet inexperienced IT engineers looking for employment in the job market.
According to him, promoting software as one of the topmost critical national information infrastructure for the growth of Nigerian economy, promoting and facilitating software industry growth with a view to improving the quality and effectiveness of public service delivery, driving transparency and accountability in governance and improving standard of living of Nigerians through the use of software in all sectors, as a tool to enhance productivity, efficiency and optimum utilization of resources. among others are the mission of the national software policy.
Accordingly, software human capital, software infrastructure, software fiscal policy, software industry economics, software legislative, regulatory and institutional framework, software and national development strategy, software research, innovation and development, among others, he said are the focus areas of the national software policy.
“The Transformation Agenda coupled with the Political Will of the Federal, State and Local Governments clearly points to a successful enforcement and compliance with the National Software Policy.
“The SWOT analysis of the software Industry in Nigeria as contained in the National Software Policy documents clearly shows that the strengths and opportunities of Nigerian Software Industry outweighs the weaknesses and threats. Indeed and in truth, the weaknesses and threats rear their heads because of lack of National Software Policy over the years. Consequently, I do not envisage any challenges” Akinyokun, who is a lecture at the Federal University of Technology Akure, added.
Akinyokun said that given the existing political and socio-economic status of Nigeria in West Africa and Africa, the fundamentals exist for the emergency of Nigeria as a global competitor in the software market with ancillary beneficial impact of poverty alleviation, gender equality, wealth creation in the society.
According to the draft policy on software, he said that there was evidence that the domestic market for software products and services is huge, adding that the challenge facing Nigeria was how much of this market opportunity is linked to the emergence of a vibrant local software economy and capability as opposed to net negative capital flight and job loses to international competition.