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Monday, May 18, 2009

Ilukwe calls for public private partnership

THE Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe has called for partnership between the public and private sectors in the pursuit of national development, especially using the information and Communications Technology (ICT) as tool.

Speaking at the MUSON Centre, during the just ended Computer, Telecommunication and Online Services (CTO ’09) conference, he said that one of the key functions of Galaxy is to enable government to function and play its role in national development stressing that public institutions cannot afford to be inactive in this regard.

“Both in the public sector enterprise and the private sector there have to be a partnership with each party playing its own role. So, our role is to enable government function and play its role in national development,” he declared.

Galaxy, he also said, is not driven primarily by a motive to make profit but to serve the under-served communities.

“We have also had situations where people say Galaxy is competing with the private sector, and we say a large part of where we go and provide services have always been out there and the private sector did not provide those services simply because the private sector operates with a single primary motive and that is profit. Government is not solely profit-driven. However, there will always be room for partnership,” he said.

The Galaxy boss who spoke on “Market Insight: Measures to promote local area development through partnership in technology and science,” identified some of the challenges facing ICT development as skill shortage, lack of critical mass of opportunities, inadequate capitalization thus leading to lack of initiative and investments.

Others, he said, are the culture of competition instead of collaboration among customers and providers alike as well as challenges with critical infrastructure especially power.

Further, he said that from these challenges there are emerging trends and opportunities, identifying some of these to include a shift from reactive to proactive services, industry and government regulation and encouraging and enforcing sharing and collaboration, strong investments and subsidies from government in critical information infrastructure.

He observed that private sector providers are re-investing earnings and seeking for new revenue streams and large enterprises are focusing on core missions and competencies and outsourcing ancillary services.

Ilukwe said that there are lots of opportunities opening up as networks grow and that opportunities abound within local governments, community centres and post offices stating that these locations are severely under-utilized.

“Quite a lot of people who manage these locations do not know the potentials that are there. The post offices in particular are located in strategic and prime areas. I observed recently, during a trip to Enugu that in one of the post offices’ warehouse I visited, somebody could put down 300 personal computers (PC) there,” he said.

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