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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nigeria needs 25m PCs to attain MDGs by 2015 – Ekeh

The executive chairman of Zinox Technologies, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh, has predicted that a total of 25m personal computers (PCs) are needed if Nigeria is keen at attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by end of 2015.

Dr. Ekeh made this declaration at a one-day forum on ‘A decade of ICT revolution’ which held in Lagos at the weekend, saying that contrary to this prediction may spell doom for the nation and chatter the dream of MDGs with regard to computer access to every home.

“The Nigerian state needs to deploy a minimum of 25,000,000 PCs in the next three years,” he asserted.

According to him, Nigeria would need to deploy an estimated 3,750,000 in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.

He said that additional 2,500,000 PCs would be needed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja otherwise the dream for attainment of the MDGs by the country would be efforts in futility.

“… Or forget the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015,” he declared.

Ekeh pointed out that the 25m PCs if deployed within this period, must be targeted at the youths who have leave post-primary education with six alphas and all graduating students from the Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Universities.

These PCs, Ekeh opined should be funded by the Federal Government under an arrangement that requires all corporate persons to pay 1 per cent Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tax for a period of five years.

Alternatively, he said the savings from the sovereign wealth fund could be ploughed into the provision of these PCs in the next three years.

This investment, he said, apart from powering domesticated technology, would place in the hands of Nigerian youths the equipment to launch an era of ‘unlimited possibilities.’

“These youth men and women would form the nucleus of a new generation of job providers while kick starting a new knowledge economy,” Dr. Ekeh said, stressing that those trained under this proposition would go into paid employment with enough IT savvy to introduce a new era of efficient service delivery in public and private sectors.

He said that this generation closely interconnected by satellite television, social media and the Internet would give rise to a new ICT based work culture, hence increasing productivity and self sufficiency.

“Reducing corruption and kinship that leads to ethnicity and enabling a self interpretation of faith that would undermine religious extremism,” he predicted, adding that this scenario would encourage even development, hasten the attainment of MDGs by 2015 as well as placing the nation firmly on the road to 20-2020.

He pointed out that various governments have failed to create adequate jobs for graduates averaging 600,000 annually, because they still concentrate on deploying outdated solutions in a digital century.

According to him, what the deployment of 25m PCs would do to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, would encompass job creation because these PCs would first be manufactured and delivered by indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for PCs.

This, he said, automatically address the challenges of capacity building as Nigerians acquire more technical competences, with attendant prices forced downward, thereby enabling the local OEMs to compete with foreign brands effectively.

“Boost the local industry with 25m PCs and you can be sure that the banks would line up with all kinds of finance packages,” he said, stressing that the deployment would immediately boost participation in the development of software applications, the internet and social media as well as kick-starting the ICT revolution in real terms.

He said that until Nigerian engineers began to fabricate local factories and run them optimally; built Nigerian satellites launched from this shores, the nation may not meet up with the MDGs.

Although he noted that Nigeria missed out in the industrial and scientific revolutions, but deliberate policies must be put in place for an effective participation in the ICT revolution.

Ekeh cautioned Nigerians to jealously protect and sustain the ICT industry as the only source of healing from the terminally ill-crude oil industry and avoid being hostage to nature.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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