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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

IT sector in dire need of intervention fund – Zinox boss

Chairman, Zinox Technologies Limited, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh, has said the Information Technology (IT) core sector needs intervention fund to transform the current economic meltdown into an opportunity for national growth.

Ekeh who spoke in Lagos, while commending the Federal Government (FG) for the huge interventions in the textile and agriculture sectors, said that the IT sector is in dire need of immediate attention because Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the greatest capacity building platform ever.

According to him, the global economic meltdown, may turn out a golden opportunity for national growth if Nigeria gets her priorities right.

Affirming that Zinox was expanding and employing more Nigerians in spite of the recession, Ekeh who dwell on the impact of the economic crisis on ICT sector of the nation’s economy, noted that the company has a clear roadmap and the needed human capital.

Ekeh also said that Zinox invested heavily in infrastructure in the past two years resulting in new corporate headquarters, the most digitalized computer assembly plant in Nigeria, and the establishment of subsidiaries to provide software and broadband solutions to the country.

Zinox Chairman pointed out that the entire IT sector might weaken because of poor foundations and decline in access to disposable funds, noting that the sector has made remarkable gains in IT penetration in the past seven years, beginning with the launch of Zinox Computers and the launch of the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM).

He recalled the huge responsibility on the shoulders of the IT sector as the main pivot of national development, declaring that the best way forward today would be a conscious and systematic intervention by the governments of this federation.

Citing an instance with the governments of Hong Kong, India, Japan, China, and the USA, Ekeh observed that only nations that deliberately grow a knowledge economy can guarantee a productive citizenry.

He urged the Federal Government to pump money into the ICT sector to “re-train Nigerians, re-brand Nigerians, and give them global opportunities.”

Predicting that Nigeria will be different and better place if the government were to inject about N150 billion to provide subsidized computers and free internet access for all Nigerians.

“Within weeks, it would change the mindset of the people. It would stop kidnapping, armed robbery, child trafficking and many other vices,” he said.

Such a move, he underscored, would create immense goodwill for government and engender skills that would attract not just foreign capital, but would make Nigeria a great outsourcing centre like India.

“These things are possible because the incubation period for Information Technology is very short unlike other sectors of the economy, maybe three months. The people are retooled and empowered to get jobs anywhere in the world,” Ekeh said, stressing that the governments at all levels should invest directly on the people by giving them free access to the internet, to knowledge and the free world.

As said by him, 85 per cent of Nigerians are in darkness not because of electricity but because they are analogue systems, and urged government to take a cue from what other nations are doing to ensure the growth of the IT industry.

Ekeh further said that it is important that the government creates patronage for the products of credible local IT companies like Zinox among others in order to ensure that Nigeria’s technological platform is indigenous, secure and patriotic.

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