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ICT4D Week 2018

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Uwaje predicts successful national development in 2008

Chief executive, Connect Technologies Limited, Chief Chris Uwaje, has predicted a successful national development for the country, only if there is a gross input and balanced contributions of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at all tiers of government and private sector.

Commenting on the prospects for 2008, Chief Uwaje, said that to achieve an even development as outlined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there is need to build an ICT-based critical mass in governance, education, power infrastructure, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sub-sector and rounding it up with citizens empowerment, which he said, “remain core strategic imperatives.”

According to him, 2007 presented governance in Nigeria with a fundamental challenge and opportunity to show-case her ability and capacities to manage the information systems during the 2007 general elections.

“Unknown to many, Information Technology was indeed the centre of gravity of the 2007 election crisis,” he said.

Information Technology, he said, for instance, was deployed at enormous cost, but regrettably there were too many professional missing links during the elections, which resulted to its failure.

He pointed out that this scenario is worth researching on as a matter of urgency, adding that another significant roll played by IT in 2007 is its contribution to the financial cum banking sector.

For those who can read between the lines, he said, Information Technology was indeed the saviour with respect to the Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s World Bank/Paris Club (2006/07) debt relief and Prof. Chaukwuma Soludo’s CBN master stroke which led to the merger and consolidation of the current 25 banks.

He also said that the impact of the reforms led to the eclipse of indigenous application software in the banking industry and the high-risk empowerment and monopoly of foreign IT firms, at great expense to the nation.

Chief Uwaje, the current first vice president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), noted that this is a severe blow to the indigenous software industry.

“Lesson learnt, is the need in future to undertake cross-impact analysis and inclusiveness strategy of all stakeholders before such a large scale national policy is implemented,” he asserted.

As said by him, current evaluations of available studies and analysis on conventional wisdom revealed that the less input of IT in any of the development domains, the less development success and contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be expected.

“Equally, the greater IT input as in process automation we inject into our national development cycle will result in greater GDP yield and sustainable development success,” he said.

Chief Uwaje further cited an instance with the expected service delivery performance and efficiency of the power generation and distribution sub-sectors of the Energy sector in 2008, will grossly be determined by the amount and quality IT input, diffusion and professional project management incorporating the critical-mass of indigenous application software domestication of skilled IT manpower and commensurate tools into the sectors.

He identified core challenge in the power generation and distribution sectors in the country of today, to be outside the physical infrastructure level, but in the domain of information generation management system.

“As far as 90 per cent of the required services in that domain are manually delivered by unskilled manpower, no amount of investment in the next 10 years will resolve the problem of power black outs in the country,” he warned.

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