Wednesday, July 13, 2011

MDG’s deadline: Nigeria needs joint action committee – ITAN boss

Just four years to 2015 deadline for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the president of Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Dr. Jimson Olufuye, has said that Nigeria needs a committee on joint action plans to accelerate its goals.

Speaking at the recently concluded Information Technology (IT) Assembly which held at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, organized by the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Dr. Olufuye said there must be a joint effort to achieve MDGs.

In a presentation entitled ‘Mobilizing IT Professionals for WSIS and MDGs 2015; and V20 2020 Goals Realization,’ he said that all stakeholders have common and specific roles to play to ensure that the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), MDG and Vision 20-2020 goals are achieved in Nigeria.

He outlined roles to be played by stakeholders into two bold categories, namely for organisations and IT professionals.

Olufuye prescribed an action plan for organisations such as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National IT Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria MDG Office and Galaxy Backbone plc, saying they must evolve a joint action plan committee to synchronize workable strategies that would deliver projects for the realization of these goals.

He also said some of projects capable of aiding this initiative to include broadband access for all, increased mobility cum internet applications for e-Government, e-Health and e-Learning, stressing that building of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry standards for IT-based Business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.

As a follow-up to the above, he urged CPN to review national IT curricular to ensure that it’s well positioned by engaging global service excellence firm that could help develop eSkills framework to make certain that the products of primary and tertiary institutions in the country are prepared for the industry for a robust digital ecosystem to evolve.

Olufuye further said that every organisation should evolve its IT Policy and eStrategy for a digital Nigeria by 2015.

In addition, he said, software companies or organisations should build local contents by finding ways of localizing contents for local use and for export.

“Therefore, adherence to software engineering standards around Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI), Process Capability Maturity Model (PCMM) and so, should be desirable,” he said, stressing that CPN, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), ITAN and NITDA could help software companies to enhance their processes through exposure to the agile framework.

Nigeria, he also said, must deepen her engagement with the likes of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCSTD), World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) and many other international bodies for her advantage.

Internally, Olufuye canvassed for intra-national and cross agency handshakes between NCC and NITDA; ITAN, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), ISPON, CPN, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) and Galaxy, should flourish.

The ITAN boss went on to prescribe some action plans for IT professionals in the country, saying particularly they should note some specific interventions capabilities for them to bring to bear towards the realization of the WSIS, MDG and V2020 goals.

He made suggestions that these interest groups should engage on eStrategies framework development, underlining the fact that a professional organisation does not have its eStrategies framework for ICT project implementation in place, professionals in such a group can quickly start one.

“Once developed, there must be ownership to drive it and nobody else will drive your vision for you unless it’s not your vision,” he declared.

According to him, promotion of social networking platform for every professional could enriched with the WSIS space by being a part of the social networking ecosystem viz-a-viz facebook, twitter, linkedln, blogs, voice and video content sharing to name a few.

Professionals, he said, should build their own web 2.0 platform to enable them spearhead the creation of the organisation’s on-line interaction platforms to open exchange of ideas and for inputs from the wider community.

Building of capacities, he said, should target knowledge enhancement programmes and organise mentorship programmes that impact know-how to others particularly the disadvantaged in the community such as women, girls and the physically challenged.

He enjoined IT professionals to be good cyber agents for cyber security, noting that the increasing use of the Internet resources will build confidence on the use of the Internet and provide reliability of its associated resources.

“This is important to promote the vast advantages of the Internet to economic development and social cohesion than the disadvantages of its associated crimes which such presence can readily mitigate,” he said.

Further, these interest groups should create outsourcing opportunities in various offices, beginning by identifying non-core processes that could be outsourced, which would in turn create more jobs to enhance digital dividends and reduce poverty.

Creation of projects through open, transparent, and multi-stakeholder approach to attract funding should be encouraged in the ICT sector, disclosing that there are a number of granting oganisations that would readily fund impacting intervention projects such as NITDA Fund (NITDEF), Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Economic Community for West Africa States (ECOWAS), European Union (EU) among others.

He further urged for the use more open standard tools to promote collaborative work in software localization and access to information and knowledge.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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