The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has said it is regrettable for Nigeria to be losing the whooping some of $2.8 billion annually from the importation of ICT goods and service to the country..

He made this disclosure in today in Abuja while delivering his welcome address at ongoing e-Nigeria conference and exhibition.

The Director General stated that in addition to the $2.8billion from the procurement of foreign ICT hardware products, the country spent $1 billion on importation of software to the country.

While calling on the international manufacturers to domesticate their products, Dr Ibrahim pledged that NITDA would collaborate with the industry leaders to put policies in place that would aid the development of ICT products.

He said the country’s commitment to be a producer of ICT products necessitated the plan to invite the several start-ups to the conference so they could showcase their innovation to the public.

He Said, “Within the limits of the mandate that set us up, we at NITDA are repositioning ourselves to filter the IT gadgets being imported to the country in the overall interest of the nation. We want to transform NITDA from its administrative outlook to IT-driven and knowledge-based agency, and we request the support of all to materialize this aspiration.”

While assuaging the fear of the manufacturers to domesticate their companies, the NITDA boss said there is tremendous gain to be made from doing so as it would be a win-win situation and reduce capital flight. He added, “We want to transform NITDA from its administrative outlook to IT-driven and knowledge-based agency, and we request the support of all to materialize this aspiration.

Dr. Pantami assuaged the fear of the manufacturers that there are that there is tremendous gain to be made from a local content policy that would trigger the development of local ICT products and services and reduction in capital flight.

He said NITDA would be repositioned to focus more on regulations of the sector, local content development and capacity building.

“In addition to the emphasis that NITDA will lay on regulation, local content development and capacity building, we are making concerted efforts to create, as well as review, existing standards and guidelines,” he said.

Dr. Pantami said the Agency would make concerted efforts to review existing standard with a view of ensuring that fake and substandard ICT products are drastically reduced or completely eradicated.”

He said NITDA acknowledge the challenges prone by unemployment in the country and would employ the use of ICT tools to engage and empower them.

“We recognize that this challenge gives us a good opportunity to use ICT to empower our youth, create jobs and generate revenue for the country.”