The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has informed the IT industry stakeholders of his intention to repositioning NITDA as a Knowledge driven Agency with focus on IT regulations and local contents development.
Pantami disclosed this at this year’s West Africa Convergence Conference in Lagos, when he spoke on the Convergence, Regulations and Promotion of Local Content in IT.
He declared that the agency would enforce the local content policy and aggressively implement IT regulation as enshrined in its mandate adding that “there is need to give priority to what we have at home.”
While emphasizing the importance of IT regulations, the NITDA boss said, “IT Regulation is very important. You cannot develop your capacity without Regulation. You cannot promote, develop and integrate your local content without regulation. Without regulation, you cannot in any way promote our local content; you cannot in any way encourage and motivate people to patronize it. Look at our local industries all over, they are complaining about patronage.”
He said Nigerian preference for foreign IT products at the expense locally manufactured ones was one of the reasons for capital flight which could be amounted to several billon of dollars.
He said, “If you look at the amount of money we spend annually on the importation of goods and services of ICT you will be amazed. It is approximately around US$2.6billion annually and this amount is projected to reach around US$147 billion in 2020. It is almost six times our current budget. And that is why we are putting more pressure on our local currency. There is no strategy on developing our local content.
He however assured that efforts were on to repositioning the Agency to focus on its core mandate of regulatory functions adding that it would not tolerate fragrance disobedience to Local content in IT laws anymore as violators of the law would be prosecuted accordingly.
Dr Pantami revealed that NITDA, under his leadership is presently working on a blueprint that would be used to re-jig the agency adding that the Agency is working with some partners and stakeholders to come up with a blueprint for the IT industry, especially as it concerns local content and capacity building,” he added.
He however assured that NITDA would be re-focused to its core mandate and would therefore follow aggressively through with its regulatory role warning that the agency would prosecute erring citizens and organisations in accordance with provisions under which it was constitutionally created to regulate IT.