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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Convergence: NOTAP boss decries lack of manpower

Director-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. Umar Bindir, has said that convergence would add little value to Nigeria’s national wealth unless the challenges of local manpower capacity are addressed.

Bindir who spoke at the Third IT Edge Convergence Forum, decried that the expansive growth in technology deployment as signified by the boom in the telecommunications sector has not been matched by a corresponding boom in the development of human capacity to manage and further expand the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) explosion.

He also said that the huge opportunities created by convergence in the telecommunications, financial, broadcast and other technologically driven industries has not perceived the desired growth in local capacity building, stressing that it could, therefore, be said that Nigeria is still at the fringe of convergence.

“We have over 60 million active subscribers in the country. Let us even take the lower limit. If we have Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) of only N3,000 per month, the expenses of subscribers on airtime is more than two times the national budget.

But what is the local input of into the telecoms operators? It is almost zero.
“Information technology flows into oil and gas, telecoms operations, health and other sectors are mostly imported. NOTAP has a mandate to reverse this trend. We want to encourage software to be written by Nigerians.

“A lot of money leaves the shores of this country to pay for things that can be done locally by Nigerians. We need the cooperation of all stakeholders to reverse this trend which is not healthy for our economy,” he submitted.

Bindir further said the nation has enormous capacity to be one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020, noting that any day he sincerely thinks this was not feasible; he would resign his position in government.

He also expressed hope that by the time IT Edge’s Convergence Forum enters the fifth edition, it would feature the exhibition of local capabilities, maintaining that NOTAP would support the move all through.


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