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Topic-icon Tech & Gadgets: ICT crawls under Buhari’s administration

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6 months 1 week ago #1 by Elnukeda
Elnukeda created the topic: Tech & Gadgets: ICT crawls under Buhari’s administration

Stories by Olabisi Olaleye

Stakeholders in the information and communication technology industry have always boasted of the achievements of the industry, especially as it was viewed globally as the fastest growing sector in the country. But that was before the President Muhammadu Buhari administration came to power, as recession and hike in customs duties, among other factors, have been stiffling the once boisterous industry.

For some observers, the ICT industry has not really thrived under this administration and they point to features that butress the position that the sector has been crawling at snail speed.

Recently, major ICT investments that ought to have been finalised with the Nigerian government were taken to South Africa. While some telecoms firms and service providers are looking out of the window for another country in order to re-jig their almost comatose businesses.

For instance, a while back, Microsoft took its data centres to Johannesburg and Cape Town, at the expense of Nigeria and other neighbouring countries. The two data centres were worth $30 billion and the multiplier effects would have been explosive if the money were invested in the Nigerian economy by now.

Similarly, last year, Samsung Electronics took its manufacturing plant to South Africa and Egypt, and gave a diplomatic answer to journalists, hinting that the Nigerian plant would be set up when the economic situation of the country improved.

Meanwhile, most of the multinational companies are sacking staff or covertly sending expatriates to either China or Korea. Even the telecommunications operators are not left out, they all have internal struggles that include huge debts that may affect their operational capacities owing to the biting recession that has obstructed their expansion vision.

During the appointment of the immediate past Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. (Mrs.) Omobola Johnson, the industry thrived and ICT hubs and parks were established. Even startups were assisted via seed funding from the government but all these have been virtually blown away because of paucity of funds.

For instance, the thriving IDEA Hub that was established by Johnson has been shut down because of funding gaps, policy inconsistency and lack of continuity. Several other issues similar to these are also affecting major IT agencies of government.

For instance, little or no laudable achievement of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been recorded in the last one year.

Minister of Communications , Barr. Adebayo Shittu, and the Ministry of Communications are incapacitated by paucity of funds and political undertones.

Perhaps it was the reason the ICT blueprint that would have been beneficial not only to the ICT community but also the larger country in the form of accelerated gross domestic product (GDP) promised by the Minister over 18 months now is yet to materialise.

In he same vein, Internet subscription has continued to fluctuate and teledensity is nosediving by the day.

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