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Friday, April 22, 2016

Nigeria seeks ICT as alternative revenue source @CeBIT-16

The Nigerian delegation to the 2016 CeBIT led by the Acting Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, is seeking alternative revenue in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, reports ITRealms.

Olatunji, who represented the Honourable Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu made this disclosure at a meeting with the management of Deutsche Messe, organisers of CeBIT, to explore ways of collaboration and how Nigeria as a country can actively play and participate at CeBIT.

Dr. Olatunji told the organisers that Nigeria is looking towards ICT as a very good avenue to tap into so as to shore up her revenue inflow especially as price of oil is falling at the international market.

Having explained that the Honourable Minister would have personally attended CeBIT 2016 but was engaged in another international programme on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Dr. Olatunji told his hosts:

“One unique feature of Nigeria is a huge population of nearly 180 million people who are very IT savvy. And, currently the government is looking for alternative revenue channels to oil, hence the government is ready to support the activities focused on ICT.

“And, backing up the government’s efforts, stakeholders in the private sector are coming up with various solutions,” he stated, adding:

“So, I think CeBIT is the platform where we can really showcase and promote what we have; and even look for markets for what we have in Nigeria; look for investors for the young innovators that are coming up; investors that will say if I put in this amount of money in this idea or solution, in the next five or 10 years, this is what will likely be the turnover for me.”

Explaining the uniqueness of Africa’s largest economy, Dr. Olatunji said:
“Because the market in Nigeria alone is enough to convince an investor to say I really must go into this market; Nigeria is like putting five to six countries in Africa into one country, because of the population. And a very high percentage of the population are the youths, and they are really ready and willing to adopt and use ICT.

“So next year, yes, we are willing to work with you; we are willing to partner with you. And, I am happy that our very important personalities in the government, from the National Assembly, are here with us.

“In fact, their presence is a clear testimony to government’s overall preparedness and willingness to adopt ICT as a reliable alternative to oil for economic growth, for earning foreign exchange and for growing a self-reliant population.

“We are glad to further assure you that we will work with you on the part of the Agency in implementing government’s policies in the area of ICT development in Nigeria.

“For CeBIT 2017, we will start working towards it immediately; we will not wait till close to 2017 before making the moves. In particular, we are very keen on working to bring our young innovators to CeBIT 2017 as a country, among other key areas to showcase.”

Also speaking, the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on ICT, Honourable Mohammed Onawo, said, he was impressed with attendance and what he has seen at CeBIT.
“While we were going round on the guided tour, we visited SAP; and they demonstrated to us software where everything that is done in government can easily be monitored. I was excited about that; because what makes most of our governments fail in the Third World is lack of proper monitoring.

“For instance when budgets are not monitored, a lot of things are done under assumptions; results are not achieved at the end of the day. And, I will really want to take that back home.”

For the chairman, Senate Committee on ICT, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari, the opportunity of being at CeBIT 2016 is really commendable.

“I compare it to what happened in my country some months ago – and I thought if the guy in question was in Europe or America probably investors would have identified his talent.


“This Nigerian in a rural area in the country, manufactured an aircraft, and everybody watched in amazement; and, like a joke, he was able to fly the aircraft. He tried it once; the second time, it landed on water. When he was interviewed, he said that is IT (information technology). But if nobody identifies him that’s how he could remain with his initiative.

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Pix: Nigeria delegation to CeBIT 2016

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