Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ICT is differentiating factor – Obafemi

Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Hamzat Obafemi, has declared that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the core-differentiating factor between the developing and developed countries of the world, reports Remmy Nweke & Ugochi Nkwocha.

He made this assertion at the opening ceremony of a one-day summit on software development, which held at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) Centre, Onikan-Lagos., with core inference on science and technology.

He also said that ICT is what a developing country like Nigeria needs to do right in order to grow at all facets and cited an example of Dublin, which in 1990 had her citizens on the streets begging, but today have deployed ICT and things have changed.

At the summit with the theme ‘Indigenous Software Development: Innovation for Growth’ he noted the importance of database in economic planning, saying that its demoralizing that a state or country with a population of 1000 could plan for 400.

“It will definitely be a failure at a start and policy summersaults,” he said, stressing, it’s important to planning, thus Lagos State began the process in 2001, and has been completed.

“We were able to discover, and stop about 400 ghost workers from earning salaries thereby saving over 200 million,” he said.

He further said that Nigerians need to have social security numbers to help in curbing crime in the society, emphasizing that even civil servants cannot change their database currently but could see them.

Also speaking, chairman of the 2007 summit, Alhaji Ladi Ogunneye of Data Sciences Limited, charged stakeholders to work towards addressing some issues that will make indigenous software locally attractive and globally competitive.

Top on his list was the issue of standardisation, packaging and branding.

On standardisation, he noted that it needs to be clearly defined, and widely communicated so that the customers will know what to expect and regularly monitored.

“The standards should draw from international best practices,” he said, urging the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to work closely with industry stakeholders in order to champion adherence to standards in software development and deployment.

On packaging and branding Alhaji Ogunneye pointed out that most of the foreign software that flood the Nigerian market are preferred by public and private organisations because they are well packaged, even when they are not better than their cheaper Nigerian counterparts.

“But more often than not, they command premium pricing based only on better packaging and branding. There is a lesson for Nigerian developers in this market scenario,” he advised.

The country manager of Microsoft Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu in his keynote address said innovation cost money and growth is incomplete without money.

“You can’t build innovation in nothingness. Anybody who wakes up and decides to work is innovative,” he said, adding that innovation is in the mind of man and encouraged Nigerians to thrive for innovation.

In a goodwill message by the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) president, Dr. (Mrs.) Adenike Osofisan, represented by CPN registrar, Mr. Sekiru Shehu, the theme is appropriate, adding that software is capable of aiding the realization of the Vision 2020 of the federal government.

“We’re making progress and we implore everyone to do more for indigenous software to become of global standard,” she charged.

President Institute of software practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) Mr. Simon Agu, represented by the first vice president, Mr. Chris Uwaje, said that ISPON stands for championing the indigenous software.

“No one can develop your indigenous software, and indigenous software has come to stay and is going to mature from stage to stage,” he enthused.

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