The Federal Government has said it is currently seeking to enact enabling laws with the aim of criminalizing non patronage of indigenous ICT brands, mainly by MDAs and other relevant stakeholders.
This was revealed at the just concluded Local Content workshop organised by the National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA, in Abuja.
Minister of Communications Technology, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, who made this known in his keynote address at the workshop, said the Federal Government would prioritize Local content development which is geared towards ensuring that all the local OEMs partner with local operators to ensure backward integration.
The Minister assured that this administration is poised at giving indigenous brands, such as the Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs, in Nigeria and other ICT product manufacturers a competitive edge over their foreign competitors.
Participants at the event condemned the dominance of Nigerian ICT market by foreign brands, arguing that for Nigeria to succeed, no stone should be left unturned in giving the needed protection to the local brands through the amendment of the Local Content Act.
The purpose of the Local Content Act is to promote the indigenization of Nigeria’s ICT industry, and also implementation of local contents, but on the contrary, foreign companies have taking advantage of obsolete policies and flooded the market with their goods.
Shittu frowned at the dominance of the $39.7bn Nigeria ICT Market by foreign brands, noting that Nigeria was losing about $2.8billion annually to the continued importation of ICT hardware and services, which he said is largely unsustainable amid revenue constraints occasioned by the dwindling oil resources.
According to the Minister, the Original Equipment Manufacturers can buy components of their systems that are produced by local manufacturers as well as maintain in-country research and development departments for the purpose of product conceptualization, capacity building, innovation, adaptation, and design and prototype development.
Shittu assured that the local content development policy would be implemented to protect indigenous players in the industry and the ministry would galvanize right policies that would see to the needs of the small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs).