" ITREALMS: 2011: Committee urges INEC to consider indigenous manufacturers

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

2011: Committee urges INEC to consider indigenous manufacturers

As preparation thickens for the 2011 general elections hots up, the Joint Action Committee for ICT Awareness and Development (JACITAD), has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider the involvement of local Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the award of its Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines contract.

Making this call after an emergency session of an extended exco meeting, JACITAD noted that the contract for the DDC is the kind of opportunities needed by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to maintain its current development.

The group, which is an umbrella organisation of ICT media practitioners in the country, in a press statement jointly endorsed by the President and Secretary General Messrs Prince Osuagwu and Oluwaseun Ayotokun, the group said there are many IT companies in Nigeria that could meet INEC’s urgent need for 120,000 DDC machines.

Prince Osuagwu was quoted as saying that some of these companies comprises but not limited to the likes of Zinox, Omatek, Brian, Beta Computers and NigComSAT.

“We are suggesting that they should invite the local OEMs for interview and find out how they can put them together so as to deliver quality service if INEC cannot leave the task with only one of them,” he said.

Osuagwu also said that they are advocating a situation in which the Institute of Software Practitioner of Nigeria (ISPON), is involved in the exercise to give a list of companies that can partner with NigComSAT, a Federal Government’s company, so that they could all deliver flawless software solutions.

He stressed that there is the need for people in authorities to know that Nigeria’s ICT could adequately take care of the technology needs of the economy if given the room to do so.

He cited the example of Remita, an e-payment solution by SystemSpecs, a Nigerian software company, which has not only been embraced by almost all the financial institutions in the country but by many key government agencies, ministries and departments.

“If the solution had not been found to be superior, many of the organisations that are using it would not have switched over to it,” he declared.

Osuagwu further said that going abroad to look for what is available in the country is an act of economic sabotage and it would spell doom for Nigeria’s ICT sector.

“But will also rub off negatively on other sector of the economy which ICT has been driving since the advent of the current ICT revolution,” he said.

He reiterated the fact that Nigeria need not throw its security overboard when tackling a national assignment, pointing out that giving it to foreign firms could give out critical data base of this country, which could be manipulated for any untoward end.

“If you give to foreign firms, what if there it is a problem along the line like the 2006 experience when Zinox was finally called upon to bail out INEC? So, we, in JACITAD are saying the beginning of the 2011 elections’ credibility starts from allowing local IT firms to handle the procurement and deployment of the 120,000 DDC machines that INEC wants to use,” he said.

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