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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Economic meltdown: Govt must focus on technology devt - APBN

Umbrella body of chartered professional organizations in the country, the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), has said that with the current economic meltdown ravaging the globe, Nigeria should focus on technology acquisition with the right educational framework.

APBN President, Mr. Mohammed Jimmoh Faworaja, gave this advice, last weekend, at the end of the first board meeting for the year hosted by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) at its secretariat, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos.

Faworaja, who was accompanied by board members including Publicity Secretary, APBN and Managing Director, International Control Systems Limited, Mr. Allwell Achumba, and Executive Secretary, APBN, Mr. Adebayo Babatunde, among others, were welcomed on arrival by the Executive Secretary, NCS, Mr. Ejide Oladunmoye and the Vice President of the society, Dr. David Adewumi.

APBN boss also said that although the nation’s economy was already down before the current financial crisis, the meltdown offers Nigeria an opportunity to look inwards by focusing on how to evolve its Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to serve as a mitigation system, so that the impact would not be felt so much by Nigerians, especially the common man.

This, he said, could be achieved by way of structuring the nation’s economy via technology acquisition that must have its roots in the right educational system.

Faworaja noted that the nation’s foreign earnings come from crude oil and America records the highest patronage year in year out, stressing that due to economic meltdown among other strategic reasons, America is now paying more attention to biofuel.

He pointed out that this is enough reason for Nigeria to rethink and in doing this, focus should be on technology acquisition, which must be deeply rooted in the right kind of education and encourage mechanised farming and even continue to supply the likes of America with biofeeds for biofuel generation.

“Definitely, we need to acquire technology like the Indians, but we must get the educational system right,” he declared.

India, he said, spent so much fund on education to be where they are today, especially in software development and physics, stressing that the board is seriously concerned and it is high time the nation realizes that the tide has changed in terms of economic growth by giving 80 per cent attention to the development of ICT and 20 per cent to oil.

He bemoaned that Nigeria which requires over 6000 megawatts of electricity can only boost of about 2000 and now the federal government has announced removal of subsidy, assuring that APBN would study the white paper before responding appropriately.

APBN further noted that in all the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) there is one mineral endowment or another, advising that states should look inwards by exploring these minerals so as to increase their
Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

“There is no state in this country without one mineral deposit or another. So, we’re well endowed,” he said, suggesting that exploration of these minerals should form major part of the budget on annual basis instead of waiting for the federal allocation as the case is presently.

APBN presently has 24-member professional chartered bodies, while we have about four undergoing processes of joining the body, while NCS become a member three years ago.

In his welcome address, NCS President, Prof. Charles Uwadia represented by the vice president, Dr. David Adewumi, said the society evolved in response to the pervasiveness of computing and other information technologies in the lives of the 21st century Nigerians.

Noting that the goals from inception of NCS as enshrined in its constitution remained the advancement of Computer Science, Information Technology & Systems and their applications/deployments to professional practice in education, government, the military and industry.

“It shall seek to confer valuable professional responsibilities, on its members and encourage them to support work. This is important to the general community and the professional at large,” he said.

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