The Second Annual Community Conference on ICT Local Content held on Thursday, January 30, 2020, at TOPAS Hub Alaka Estate, Surulere, Lagos State. The theme of the event was “ICT LOCAL CONTENT and the Digital Economy: Dissecting Challenges and Proffering Solutions”.
In his keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote who was represented by Mr Babatunde Akhihiero said all successes achieved in promoting the development and utilization of in-country capacities for the industrialization of Nigeria through the effective implementation of the Nigerian Content Act was made possible because NCDMB presented herself for any possible collaboration to get the work done. He implored all stakeholders, contractors and business owners to embrace collaboration for positive results.
During the ”Success Story” session of the event, Mr Tobi Adelakin, co-founder of AdNaira Mr Emeka Okafor, the Managing Director of Tera Network Abuja narrated their experiences and paths to success. They encouraged Nigerian youth to embrace innovation and provide excellent services to the Nigerian market.
Mrs. Edith Udeagu, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), gave a presentation on the challenges ICT organisations face in the Oil and Gas Industry. She said that some of the professionals in the ICT industry are not aware of the Local Content Act and those who are aware are yet to internalize the opportunities the Act provides for the ICT Industry in Nigeria. Another challenge highlighted was the issue of non-collaboration. She said there is a need for ICT professionals and companies to collaborate and provide the needed capacity required to undertake projects in the Oil and Gas Industry. Other issues outlined by the Executive Secretary include lack of trust in Nigerian businesses, lack of congruence amongst professionals, challenges with enabling environment and policies, the dearth in applicable research, internal policies in ICT companies, etc.
Mr. Ogbonnaya Ugama, Deputy Director, Licensing and Authorization Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) who represented the Executive Vice Chairman NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta at the event, said that local content is an area of serious concern to NCC as it is an avenue to engage with industry stakeholders to move the economy forward. He said his organisation’s collaboration with ICTLOCA and other industry stakeholders would help enrich the strategies and policies that NCC is planning to roll out in a bid to advance the discourse on local content in the industry. He identified the dearth of basic infrastructure(power, roads and so on) required for original local manufacturers and indigenous companies to establish plants in Nigeria, scarcity of local manufacturers of ICT equipment, challenges with doing business such as multiple taxation, insecurity in some parts of the country, vandalization, dearth of technical expertise as some of the challenges hampering growth of local content in the telecommunications industry. He said that NCC is working on some strategies to help solve the existing challenges; citing the collaboration with the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) to develop curriculum on software development, coding and related technology that would help local content in the country.
During the open mic session, Mrs. Udeagu encouraged all to patronise Nigerian local contents, patronise local hosting companies. She said that local companies should ensure they produce good quality products and services that would be patronised by Nigerians. She mentioned the need for businesses to use/identify with the .ng domain names to promote their businesses online; the .ng brand representing the online identity of Nigerians.
Mr. Cornerstone Akinbo appreciated the sponsors of the event, mentioning in particular, the TOPAS Hub who supported with a free venue. The closing remarks were delivered by Mrs Habibat Olatunji with the recitation of the National Pledge. She thanked all the participants who attended the event.