The impact of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) on the growth of the Nigerian economy is immense. In core areas of the economy like Agriculture and Energy, ICT is steadily creating platforms and opportunities for accelerated development. The consistent growth of ICT and the various potentials and opportunities in Nigeria has not gone unnoticed by global tech brands, who continue to pitch their tents in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Government, through NITDA has put together a detailed plan for ICT development. There is still a lot to be done in order to implement the laid-out strategies in various areas of the policy document.
In the Investment and funding section of the policy, two of the strategies designed to develop the growth of Technology in Nigeria require government to:
(1) Provide appropriate fiscal incentives to encourage local manufacture of ICT equipment and development of software;
(2) Adopt financing models that foster indigenous ICT entrepreneurship.
Many of the Technologies currently being deployed in Nigeria are imported or adapted, due to a number of factors which include the non-existence of the required capital to pursue the core development of such Technologies in-country. IT organizations the world over, benefit from huge investments in laboratories for prototype development and testing, which ensure that they stay ahead of themselves as they evolve. It also ensures that they remain responsive to the growing needs of their end users.
The country has already recognized the need for Development Banks in other spheres of the economy and indeed has floated necessary incentives for investors in those areas.
If ICT is to develop locally at a speed that will make the budding Technology Community evolve and become useful, it is now important to consider the setup of a Technology Development Bank in Nigeria. This bank will provide the much-needed seed for growing ICT research and innovation in Nigeria.
This is my second call for the ICT Development Bank, the first being the 2018 Forum of the Nigerian Network Operators Group (ngNOG).
If eventually we get to fund the ideas and innovations in the sector, the strategy will in no small measure contribute to the growth of the DNS Industry. The conversation has started.
I remain your President,
Rev’d Sunday Folayan
President, NIRA Executive Board