IT NEWS NIGERIA:
Nigeria Computer Society has urged Federal Government, under the Leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari, to fulfil its Local Content commitment to indigenous companies by ensuring REMITA is paid, Chams PLC is reengaged in the national Identity contract, and Omatek Group is reopened for business.
NCS President, Prof. Adesola Aderounmu said this passionately during an elaboratepress conference in Lagos weekend.
He said: in the last four years, NCS have identified the following key areas in the ICT Roadmap of the Federal Government: Infrastructure development including Information Security, Broadband development and improvement of Quality of Service & Access, Smart Government, Human Capital Development and Local Content development
First, on behalf of the 20,000 members of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the umbrella body of all Information Technology practitioners, Stakeholders and Interest Groups both in Nigeria and Diaspora, I wish to express my appreciation to the Federal Government (FG) on her efforts related to the growth of ICT, in the past four years. The pronouncement of Executive orders 003 and 005 is a landmark achievement of our Nigeria Computer Society advocacy that we have consistently pursued in the last decade. The three executive orders signed on May 18, 2017 expectedly changed some of the ways government business and operations are conducted in the country. The support for local content in public procurement by the Federal Government definitely is the contribution of more jobs for present and youthful population. This is integral to Nigeria’s economic revival.
“However, we note with concern that compliance to the orders is not 100%. There are also pertinent cases/issues we as body need to highlight. This is in view of the doubts and questions such issues raise about full commitment to the much needed prioritization of local content development.”
REMITA is a product of SYSTEMSPECS, an indigenous ICT solution provider. Up till now the FG has not been able to fulfil its obligation with regard to the services rendered to her through REMITA software.
For the FG and the nation, the worrying implications from this situation are:
- There is very low appreciation or respect for their innovation, intellectual property and pace setting accomplishments. This is in a hostile operating environment where Government has little or no direct contribution to their achievements.
- A disturbingly high level of disregard for contracts entered into with indigenous firms compared with the “high level of respect” accorded foreign counterparts. When will indigenous ICT firms begin to be treated as equal with foreign counterparts and be accorded the level of respect they deserve?
- Despite official declarations, this in practical terms shows extremely low commitment to the implementation of the ICT Local Content Policy. It does not show much evidence exists of a structured approach to ensure Nigerian ICT firms are prepared by Government to take advantage of emergent National ICT opportunities.
- There is no visible attempt to stop mass exodus of exceptionally brilliant indigenous ICT skills to other countries who sell the same skills back to Nigeria at exorbitant rates and attendant capital flight. In this light, when would an emergency on ICT skills flight be declared and what is Government planning to do to curtail this?
- There is an absence of a solid platform to showcase indigenous ICT solutions to the global audience in such a way that makes Nigeria a net exporter of and revenue earner from ICT. Beyond the NITDA led delegation to the annual GITEX show, when will Government create a veritable platform to nurture, package and showcase successful ICT solutions developed in Nigeria on Foreign Missions, Exhibitions and as Technical aid to other countries?
Our prayer to FG is to pay SYSTEMSPECS the total cost of all their services rendered to date.
There are several Federal Government projects in general and IT projects in particular that could resolve the unemployment crisis in Nigeria, if properly executed. One of such projects is the National Identity Management System (NIMS) project. NCS notes that the number of enrolments into the NIMS has accelerated as a result of a number of regulatory innovations introduced by the current administration such as the integration of the National Identity Number (NIN) into the issuance and renewal of International Passports by the Nigeria Immigration Service. Such regulatory innovations will definitely result in economic growth.
It is in the light of the foregoing, NCS highlights the plight of one of our corporate members, Chams Plc (and Chams Consortium Ltd, (CCL)), a forefront operator of the National Identity Management System Concession (the Concession) which commenced officially in the year 2010. It is on record that Chams made huge investments, in excess of N9bn, into the concession. Chams however suffered many frustrations which eventually snowballed into an unresolved state of affairs. This is despite the fact that Chams Plc has submitted to an amicable resolution in furtherance of her faith in the present administration. NCS calls for urgent and decisive intervention to salvage Chams Plc’s position and allow Chams Plc and Chams Consortium Ltd reap the fruits of an amicable resolution freely entered into with the NIMC.
On the basis of the foregoing, Nigeria Computer Society noted that Chams Plc’s shares has suffered huge devaluation at the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) for some years now, which is as a consequence of the NIMS Project that is yet to be executed. I, on behalf of the 20,000 members of the Nigeria Computer Society, urge FG to mandate the following:
- That NIMC stand by and enforce the Terms of the Mediation Agreement dated 19th December, 2017 to enable Chams Plc execute assigned business opportunities under the NIMS project and hence regain stability towards restoring its Share Valuation which has suffered massive erosion consequence of the plight on the NIMC project
- That NIMC, in line with Clause 3.1 of the Terms of Agreement collaborate with Chams Plc to provide adequate financial cushion and compensation to CCL for the funds invested into the project already by CCL.
CCL has indicated its immediate willingness and ability to perform its own side of the Terms of Agreement. Furthermore, under a conducive environment, CCL has indicated that it has the capacity and capability to enrol more than 50 million Nigerians annually and could, if well-empowered, issue the enrolees with National ID cards. To that end, CCL has engaged some international partners who are willing to support the Government in achieving these noble goals at record speed. It is our understanding that early resolution of this crisis will lead to creation of additional 1000 jobs for the youths through Information Technology.
Omatek Ventures PLC is a listed Company with corporate focus in the Assembling, Sales, Maintenance of Computers, Inverters and Solar Power products. An OEM specialising in the local assembly of Computer cases, Speakers, Keyboards and Mouse, other than Computer systems and Notebooks in the whole of Africa. Assembling of these components in this factory has created a great advantage to other systems builders as well as resellers all over Africa for retailing. This has created jobs and developed human capital.
Omatek Ventures Plc, has been accused of defaulting on its credit facility agreement with the Bank of Industry (BOI). According to the development bank, the company has refused to service the N5.81 billion which it obtained in 2012.
According to BOI, several measures have been employed to ensure Omatek keep to the loan agreement, but all to no avail.
After his appointment as Managing Director in 2017, the new Managing Director of the company, Yemi Ogundipe, however, promised to make amends. This commitment hasn’t been fulfilled to date. The company has however been put under lock and key by court pronouncement initiated by Bank of Industry (BOI)
FG should intervene in the matter and prevail on BOI to vacate court order
Locking of the factory for over 24 months with goods worth billions of Naira is not in the best interest of any of the stakeholders.
Allow the company to reopen for business. Some of the goods and materials for which the loans were sought would have been obsolete and rusted away.
Omatek is a major employer of Nigerian youth. At peak production It can employ over 600 teeming youth both directly and indirectly.
Computer spares and consumables have expiry date as we know and if we are not careful; all the stock will rate zero value in no distant time.
It is only while in business that repayment can commence.
Allow an out of court settlement. Omatek Ventures has indicated that it is open to settlement out of court. The company made this known in a letter to shareholders some time ago. The management of Omatek Ventures said it was exploring out of court settlement with BoI in order to reach an amicable agreement on the loan default.
NCS is the umbrella body of all IT professionals and organizations in Nigeria, with more than 20,000 members and major interest groups (ISPON, ITAN, ISPAN, NiWIIT, ITSSP, AITP, NITPCS). NACOSS, the student body has about one hundred thousand students.