By Prince Osuagwu
Since coming into office, the Minister of State for Information and Communications, Alhaji Aliyu Ikra Bilbis, is not known for too many words and as a matter of fact have not been heard so much. But it seems that the urgent need to realise the dream of Nigeria becoming one of the 20 top economies of the world by the year 2020, is bringing out the tiger in him.
Bilbis can no longer bottle the strategies he know could help Nigeria realise her dreams; and so he chose the opportunity granted by the partnership between world renowned computer makers, Dell and popular Nigerian based ICT equipment distribution centre, Technology Distributions, TD, where he played the Chief Guest of Honour, to give tips on how Nigeria can come out of the economic woods.
The partnership between TD and Dell, challenges the Nigerian company, to position Dell well, in the African market, like is the case with Microsoft, HP, Acer, Toshiba, CISCO, Epson, APC and Zinox, which TD said it was responsible for helping in placing their footprints strong on the IT map of Africa.
TD however said that though it has built a reputation of sourcing and supplying breakthrough technology through reliable partnerships with Original Equipment Manufacturers and dependable Resellers, Dellâ€™s partnership was a real delight because they were coming into the partnership from a position of strength and proven abilities with an array of outstanding products for home, small and medium business and for large enterprises.
But Bilbis was seeing it from a broader and holistic perspective. He described the TD/Dell partnership as a handshake cast in gold for the uplifting of the technological development of the Nigerian nation.
According to him, â€œthe issues of foreign investment and technology transfer are central to the realization of the Nigerian dream for Nigeria to be seen and to be acting as that country that is home to every 5th black man in the world. This government appreciates the fact that the basic element in any successful development strategy should be the encouragement of domestic investors first before going after foreign investors.
This policy is built on the realization that the dreams of the entrepreneur must come before the imperatives of capital and the other factors of enterprise. The industrial landscape in Nigeria is not just acutely competitive; it has inherent complexities arising from energy and, before this administration, policy instabilities that ensure that only the best can survive. We are aware that there is a tinge of patriotism in most indigenous enterprises and this tinge is often in sync with the vision of Government for accelerated developmentâ€.
He however, noted that the government never losses sight of the fact that â€œpartnerships with reputable foreign companies yield access to technical and financial resources at such a stage as can greatly influence the outcomes of local initiatives. The third of the 7 Point Agenda of the Yarâ€™Adua administration lays emphasis on wealth creation through reliance on revenue from non oil sources.
This reform is focused on wealth creation through diversified sources especially in the agricultural solid mineral and Information Technology sector. Information Technology is fast taking the center stage as the goose that lays the golden egg for most emerging economies in the 21st Century. Nigeria is making appreciable impact in this vibrant sector with superb initiatives from entrepreneurs like Leo Stan Ekehâ€.
In her own speech, the MD of TD, Mrs Chioma Ekeh, corroborated Bilbis, agreeing that a well thought out technology transfer and strong ICT blueprint could produce a bright economic magic wand. She said that â€œthe global economic recession has robbed the corporate world of revenue and profitability, ICT being no exception. But as we watch the stagnant and negative growth in the ICT markets of the mature western world, we experience with delight the growth and huge ICT growth potentials of Africa.
â€œThe continent remains rich in mineral resources and in dire need for the technological tools for self actualization. This is the right continent to turn to under the present circumstances. Nigeria is a strategic centre in the new marketing plan because of her size and population. We dare say it is just natural that Dell should desire to gain respectable market shares in Nigeria and the West African sub-regionâ€ she added.
Zinox mega ICT Mall underway
Meanwhile at the end of the event, Chairman Zinox technologies, Mr Leo Stan Ekeh, was surrounded by a group of reporters who wanted to sound him out on his feelings of the extent of ICT growth in the country.
Ekeh was full of optimism that Nigeria was going to take it pride of place in the world economies if patronage of Nigeriaâ€™s ICT market continued in the present progression. He however revealed that it was for the level of trust in which people like Bilbis has on the power and ability of ICT to turn economies around that he was investing heavily on a mega ICT mall that could conveniently serve as ICT hub of the West African sub region if not the whole of African continent at large.
Ekeh said that the Mall is sited in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria and would be due for launch in the first quarter of next year. No wonder, Bilbis in concluding his speech at the occasion, said â€œgovernment is aware of the pioneering role that Leo Stan Ekeh is playing in the Information Technology sector beginning from Task Systems to Technology Distributions and to Zinox Computers. Personally, I am highly impressed that a Nigerian citizen is building a conglomerate built on professionalism and accepted world-class standardsâ€