" ITREALMS: Foreign software craze: ISPON members battle NPA, C/Rivers govt

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Foreign software craze: ISPON members battle NPA, C/Rivers govt

Members of the Institute of Software Practitioners (ISPON), have criticized the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Cross Rivers State government over the invitations for the bidding of Oracle solutions including the Database Engine and Pay Roll by the two government institutions.
This, software experts said negates the purposes of promoting local software.

ITRealms Online recalls that Nigerian software practitioners have been clamouring for indigenization of software usage in the country and are very well known in Human Resources and Pay Roll applications.

  NPA it was gathered, last two months and precisely August 24, invited expression of interest through advertorial in some of the nation’s newspapers for “Invitation to tender for supply of licensed Oracle 11g RDBMS Database for the Nigerian Ports Authority” and “Invitation to tender for supply, installation and implementation of Oracle human resources application software.”

  Whereas the Cross Rivers State government on September 29, 2009 ran its own advertorial on ‘Specific Procurement Notice Invitation for bids under international competitive bidding (ICB)” for the procurement of software, hardware and accessories for BATMIS with credit number: 4084-UNI.

  However, stakeholders found fault with the both advertorials, especially with the NPA invitation to bid tagged public notice “3718” and “3719” alleging that they did not comply with the so much professed due process of the current Musa Yar’Adua’s government.

  For some who spoke to ITRealms Online on condition of anonymity said that if the Federal Government is implementation an electronic payment system, which is on-going and have due process office, why should NPA summon the encourage to advertise for the implementation of the Human resource aspect of the invitation at this time of stringent spending, especially in the public sector.

  “Thereby throwing the tax payers amount of money to advertise inconsequentiality,” one of our resources declared, arguing that in the first instance, NPA should be aware of the government’s determination to patronize local software developers following a circular by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration on giving local developers the first options.

  In addition, our respondent indicated that the call for bidding by NPA implies that the company is biased in its choice of application, especially as it specifically requested for Oracle brand.

  “Which means NPA has made up its mind to buy Oracle without giving opportunities for local software developers,” our source stressed.

  As for the Cross State government, our sources said that it is as guilty like NPA and called for immediate stop of this crazy, mostly by government agencies, decrying that capital flight involve is enough for an upstart to stand and stand firm.

  Reacting to these developments, the Second Vice President, ISPON, Dr. Chris Uwaje, agreed that Oracle has assumed the presence of a global software under “Database Engine,” saying that it is one of the classes of software that Nigerians are yet to master and therefore requires foreign service delivery.

  “Other classes of Software Nigerians may not be capable to deliver in the next few years are: Operating System, and Internet Engines,” he asserted, noting that this does not mean that where Nigerians have competence like the human resource should be kept local as earlier directed by the government through a circular to all its agencies.

  Uwaje also said that the likely implications are of two-fold, namely that all foreign software entering Nigeria are not yet being tested before application and usage, thus he insisted that they must be subjected to Mandatory Testing and import certification approval before usage.

  Emphasizing that undue patronage of foreign software against where the local software exist amounts to compromising of national security and capital flight in foreign exchange.

  He advised that in order to stop this trend Nigeria should institute a national master plan for software development.

  “There is need for a national master plan, policy, standard and legislation for all software in circulation in Nigeria,” he said.

  Further, he explained, Dr. Uwaje said, the policy when in place must empower indigenous software developers through allocation of special Information and Software projects.

  “Nigerians are very good and capable in “Application Software, Engineering and Development. All they need is the enabling environment, which consists of a software development parks, government patronage, development incentives such as tax-free pioneer status holiday and interest free loan.

  ISPON is the umbrella body of all software developers in Nigeria and has been reportedly in comatose for some years; even as industry observers have predicted that this resuscitated war over local versus foreign software dealers could be an opportunity to for ISPON to relaunch itself in nation’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

  Efforts made to get contact the Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs at NPA, Mr. Musa Ilya, for the agencies position was not fruitful as at the time of going to the press, as the agency refused to respond to our email or short message service (SMS).

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