By Emeka Aginam
LAGOSâ€”The President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, (ISPON), Chris Uwaje, has projectedÂ that Nigerian could earn about $10b from foreign software exchange annually as an alternative to oil.
Uwaje, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos when ISPON paid a visit to Vanguard Corporate Headquarters in Lagos, noted that by all indications, Nigerian software technology, if well retooled for foreign market, could earn more revenue than oil.
Challenging the present administration to create enabling environment for local capacity,Â Uwaje noted that the key benefit of a vibrant software industry was in producing more knowledgeable and better skilled human capital for nation building.
He said:Â â€œSoftware has, therefore, become and will remain, one of the fastest growing industries with power to enrich and sustain national economies. â€œGlobal projection and current assessment reveal that IT spending will exceed $4trillion in 2009.
â€œWith youth population of about 43.2%, Nigeria possesses an immense advantage and capacity to engage the emerging knowledge information society and succeed economically, provided the right professional framework and incentives for encouraging best practices and quality standards are established as strategic imperatives to match global competitiveness.
â€œSetting a national software development policy and awareness agenda, therefore, is against the backdrop that building software capacities present immense economic opportunities for nation building. â€œSuffice it to say that Nigeria can earn $10b in foreign software exchange annually from software industry.â€
To move the indigenous software industry for global competitiveness,Â ISPON, according to him, recommends that the Federal Government establishes a National Commission for Software Development, empowered with a professional, specialized, exclusive and executive mandate to facilitate the development of Software Policy, Best Practice Standards Regulation, Market Promotion, Capacity Building and Research, Design and Development (RD&D).
It also recommended the establishment of a Software Knowledge Parks (SKPs); Software Engineering Development Corridors at close proximity to all Universities and Institutions of higher learning nationwide; and setting aside 10% of the ETF (Education Trust Fund) facilities for the establishment of a National Software Development Grant to software companies and software start-up firms â€“ with particular reference to train-the- trainer program of software lecturers, amongst others.