If the plan of the present administration for the Original Equipment Manufacturers, OEMs, in Nigeria and other ICT product manufacturers is anything to go by, then the future appears to belong to them, as the administration is poised at giving them a competitive edge over their foreign competitors.

This followed a resolution by stakeholders at the just concluded Local Content workshop organised by the National Information and Technology Development Agency, NITDA in Abuja, where concerned participants condemned the dominance of Nigerian ICT market by foreign brands.

Participants argued 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 law. The purpose of the Local Content Act is to promote the indigenisation of Nigeria’s ICT industry, implementation of local content but on the contrary, foreign companies had taking advantage of obsolete policies and flooded the market with their goods.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government at the workshop, said it is currently seeking to enact enabling laws with the aim of criminalising non patronage of indigenous ICT brands, mainly by MDAs and other relevant stakeholders.

The Minister of Communications Technology, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, who stated this in his keynote address at the event, said the Federal Government would be aggressive in addressing this anomaly by prioritising Local Content development which is geared towards ensuring that all the local OEMs partner with our local operators to ensure backward integration.

Shittu, who frowned at the dominance of the $39.7bn Nigerian ICT market by foreign brands, noted 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.

Shittu said: 2The 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 conceptualisation, adaptation, and design and prototype development.

“The local content development policy world be implemented to protect indigenous players in the industry and the ministry would galvanise right policies that would see to the needs of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)” he said.

In her goodwill message, the Managing Director, OMATEK, Florence Seriki said the move would address the issue of apathy towards the patronage of Nigeria ICT products, thereby creating huge opportunities and enabling environment for the local ICT industries to thrive and succeed in business.

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