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Monday, March 06, 2006

NGO endorses NITC, opposes member condition

Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Joint Action Committee on ICT Awareness and Development (JACITAD) has endorsed the establishment of the National Information Technology Commission (NITC), just as it opposes membership of the Computer Professionals (Registration Council) of Nigeria (CPN) as a prerequisite for top position in the commission.

ITREALMS Online recalls that the bill seeks three core objects, namely an Act to establish a legal framework for IT industry, National Information Technology Commission (NITC) and the National IT Development Fund (NITDF).

In a presentation made Monday in Abuja at the public hearing of Information Technology (IT) bill 2005 sponsored by Senate Iya Abubakar, said that as long as it supports Clause 49 of the proposed bill which seeks to establish NITC, JACITAD said such a commission "should be made to be both a developmental and regulatory commission, with relevant powers to discharge its duties and deliver industry dividends."

Emphasising that the reason is that the development of the Nigerian IT sector is still at the infant level and there is need for a regulatory body that could regulate its growth effectively.

JACITAD, however, disagreed with the proponent of the bill in Clause 51 (4) where it recommended membership of CPN as a criterion for appointment into the commission, mostly the chief executive.

"JACITAD totally disagrees with this clause in proposing that the (DG) shall be a member of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN). We believe that membership of CPN should not be a criteria to effectively run a National Information Technology Commission" the NGO said.

According to the, Mr. Prince Osuagwu, Acting Secretary General of JACITAD, the organisation’s view, is based on the entire Clause itself, because of what he described as the sagacity of its provisions, which tends to exclude very qualified, capable men with excellent managerial skills, under the age of 40 or 45 years of age.

The group opined that the clause negates its purpose, pointing out that experience has shown that all over the world, "thriving IT businesses and organisations are run by young and dynamic youths who are not even up to 45 years of age".

Stressing that the Bill Gates, Michael Dells of this world are perfect examples, even as locally, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Nigerian offices as well as the likes of Computer Warehouse Group and a lot of others are successful business organisations managed by young Nigerians who can also bring their wealth of experiences to bear in a commission such as is being proposed.

Insisting that to a very large extent, if the bill goes with such barriers, experts like Nigeria’ pride-Philip Emeagwali, may not be qualified to head the commission so being proposed and it could be nothing less than an unfortunate irony.

"We therefore recommend that anyone who has good managerial ability, with proven track record and good level of experience in the Information Technology sector, could be considered" the group said.

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