The need to cushion the effect of economic meltdown through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tool was the focus of the gathering of ICT experts who gathered recentlyÂ in Lagos at an event tagged â€˜An Evening with Tech Legendsâ€ hosted by Technology Africa.
An Evening with Tech Legendsâ€ is a technology platform that brings ICT stakeholders together annually to discuss ways of using new technology in driving the economy. It is equally a platform for the award of men and women, including organizations that have contributed immensely to ICT development the country.
At the event which attracted capacity audience,Â ICT experts discussed issues that were germane to ICT development and proffered solutions to the harsh impact of the current economic meltdown that is affecting the globe.
In his leadÂ paper, theÂ President of Computer Professionals [Registration Council] of Nigeria (CPN), Mr. Ibraheem Tizhe, stressed the need to address the global recession through the use of technology tools.
According to him, organizations must actively begin to look for new ways to streamline cost and increase productivity. This, he said calls for innovation, co_location, facility sharing, and outsourcing. Firms would also do well to seek alternative funding including options such as vendor_ financing and maybe even going public via the stock exchange.
He said thatÂ government should consider investing some of its stimulus funds in mobile phone networks, fibre_optic connections and broadband infrastructure as part of an effort to boost the wider economy.
â€œ This is all the more necessary when one considers that the spread of information technology in the country, in particular mobile devices (phones, laptops among others), is having momentous implications on individuals, and the national productivity, he said.
Similarly, the Chairman of the Association of Licenced Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr Gbenga Adebayo spoke on power, infrastructure support and security as a means of addressing economic meltdown.
According to him, there was urgent need to expedite and vigorously pursue the power sector reforms and address the current minimum requirement for the sector: 260Mega Watt. He said there should be fast_track on the on_going efforts by the Federal Government at improving the power supply from the national grid and that there should be zero duty on generators and dedicated supply of diesel from refineries.
On the issue of infrastructure support, Adebayo said broadband was important for today and the future, and that government must continue to encourage the roll_ out of fibre optic networks and last mile copper infrastructure. â€œWe need to return to the basis to rebuild our terrestrial fibre and copper infrastructure, which will bring high capacity, cheap and high quality data communications,â€ he said.
â€œIn this regards I advocate the scrapping of all forms of levies and fees charged by various agencies of Government on right of way approvals. Government should not consider right_ of_ way approval as a way of making revenue, but they should see the end result as in the overall interest of the national ICT development and limits its role, to standard compliance and control.
On security, Adebayo wants government to accord telecommunications operations the legal status of critical national infrastructure and severe criminal sanctions for acts of theft, vandalisation and sabotage, and provide adequate police support & protection to telecoms equipment & facilities supported by legislation