Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Alteq, ICT, Dr. Armstrong Takang has advice the Federal government to develop a sound policy on local content that will drive an encompassing economic growth in the ICT sector.
Dr.Takang who made the call in an interview with Nigerian Pilot in Abuja, also urged the government to introduce incentives for the youths who want to start-up companies in the Information and Communications Technology industry to enable them to help the government realise the three million jobs target by 2018.
According to him, “the incentives, would drive the sector’s growth, range from tax holidays, the ICT Innovation Fund and the ICT Incubation Scheme towards ensuring that the youth are motivated to go into ICT”
He said, “just imagine that a young Nigeria develop an app that will lead technology innovation in Africa, As you all know, ICT innovations are powering economies across the globe, creating employments and wealth, therefore, government need to make it a priority to diversify the economy by committing resources on a continuous basis”.
Takang said, “we need take deliberate steps to create program that are well design, specific thought-out deliverables with a mechanism for effective monitoring and evaluation towards achieving a diversifying the economy in ICT”.
He said, “government must commit resources on a continues and a sustainable basis to make sure that change is achieved
We need to understand that the seriousness with which do it will determine how much resources is committed to it,
The expert said for Nigeria to diversify the economy through ICT, the three dimensions must be taken seriously which includes, demand, supply and the enabling environment,
“ we need to create an enabling environment that foster innovation, we need to grow that deliberately by creating the enabling environment for local content development”.
The expert further noted that countries like Singapore and India had set up special interventions to support the high growth of the ICT industry, saying, “So, we will be supportive of whatever initiative that you have.”
He added, “Through the National Information Technology Development Agency, government should going to introduce the ICT Innovation Fund to cater for early start-ups and ICT Incubation Scheme to support establishment of more high-growth incubators across the country.
“We believe with these incentives, the sector will witness tremendous growth, thereby generating employment and massive wealth for our people. We are also going to monitor the hubs across Nigeria in order to ensure standards and to mould them for global competitiveness. Our aim is to make Nigeria the ICT hub for Africa.”
He charged entrepreneurs in the sector with articulating some of the challenges they faced and the sorts of intervention they wanted from government in order to sustain the existing hubs and more importantly, to recognise the government would always be the driving catalyst for funding start-ups.
“For two reasons – you can create jobs within the sector, and you can use ICT as an enabler to also create a lot of jobs. That is why government must make a deliberate effort to achieve this by means of monitoring and evaluation” the expert added.
He said that no nation could prosper without using technology. According to him, beyond the incentives, government should patronise the companies in the sector by giving them business.
“ The government need to be a lot more committed, our body language must change, we must begin to match words with action to have the capacity to achieve result