Minister of Science and Technology, Prof Turner Isoun, has attributed the success recorded so far in minimising software piracy in the nation’s public sector to the comprehensive Software Licensing Agreement (SLA) signed by the Federal Government of Nigeria and Microsoft in 2003.
He made this observation at a messaging and collaboration workshop jointly organized recently by his ministry, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja, noting that the agreement has allowed ministries, departments and non-governmental agencies to benefit from the complete installation of licensed software applications.
Prof Isoun also said the government considers Information Technology (IT) to be a core tool for the government reform process. He said it is the reason why government has set up a committee for IT infrastructure, harmonization, outsourcing, consumer credit and software development.
The minister further urged Microsoft and other IT conglomerates not to underestimate the potential of the Nigerian IT industry.
He said that the government is ready for outsourcing and is fast building the IT infrastructure backbone and therefore welcomes collaboration between the private and public sector.
The Minister equally called for the implementation of various applications like messaging and collaboration to ensure that the Public Service Network (PSNeT) does not remain idle, stressing that without such content on the PSNeT, the national e-Government project cannot be complete.
“Regardless of location, teams could work together, share ideas and exchange information. Foreign engagements for public officers could no longer hamper meetings or even slow down the pace of work,” said the minister.
Microsoft’s Public Sector Business Development Manager for Middle East and Africa (MEA), Mr. Chris Roberts, “Microsoft does not seek to reinvent IT hardware but rather provides a stronger platform for interoperability where IT products, as a whole, work effectively”.
He revealed that new IT models are required to reduce cost and provide an economic spark, so that Nigerians are able to use technology to transform their lives.
Also, Microsoft’s Regional Technical Manager for the Middle East and Africa, Mr. Michael Thatcher, in a presentation on “Bridging the Gap”, said, IT products have alarmingly high levels of failure, citing the British experience.
He, however, recommended the adoption of the “GAP Principle” which will accelerate the deployment of services and increase flexibility and efficiency in public services.
Microsoft’s Country Manager for Nigeria and Ghana, Gerald Ilukwe, recommended that government should take responsibility in providing leadership in the area of IT development.
He reiterated the objective of the event which is to develop a framework and model that will not only clearly articulate the requirements for national messaging and collaboration among others but also provide a framework for successful implementation and deployment of the solution in Nigeria using the existing IT infrastructure.