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Deepening concern over lack of IT development framework bill

There appears to be deepening worry by the Nigerian IT professionals over lack of IT development framework bill to address local IT challenges and economic development.

Just recently at the Information Technology Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, roundtable convened by the computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria, CPN, held in Lagos,   participants at the forum were   deeply worried, saying that Nigeria’s quest to attain digital economy may be derailed unless IT development framework bill is formulated.

From left: Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, Vice President/Vice Chairman in Council, Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria, Mr. Kole Jagun; ; President/Chairman in Council, CPN, Prof. Charles Uwadia; and keynote speaker, Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman, during the CPN CEOs Rountable 2017 held in Lagos recently.

The forum believe that the bill would go a long way in resolving grey areas in the IT industry as well challenges that had delayed the development of the industry for decades.

For the majority of the speakers at the forum, IT experts group should be assembled to urgently formulate and draft a strategic national Information Technology Framework Bill to address the challenges ahead.

Accordingly, the IT professionals expressed concern saying that the Nigerian IT industry needs a strong voice for advocacy to accelerate required legislation for constructive     IT development and growth.

The forum in a communique jointly signed by Prof. Charles O. Uwadia , President/Chairman-in-Council   of CPN,   and   Mr. Allwell C. Achumba, Registrar/Secretary to Council of CPN,   lamented that   presently,   Nigeria does not have a holistic national IT framework bill as a fundamental legislative vehicle to organize, galvanize and cement together all other existing Acts   in isolation of each other.

Although the country already had CPN Act 49 of 1993; National IT Policy of 2001; NITDA Act of 2007; Cyber security act of 2015?; National Software Policy, among others, the President and the Chairman in Council of CPN, Prof   Charles Uwadia in his contribution said that an IT Framework bill is the omnibus law that is supposed to bind all the other acts together in a coherent manner.

The keynote speaker Mr. Adedotun Sulaiman, earlier in his speech, noted that government should be in the forefront of facilitating the development of ICTs in Nigeria as well as the critical role of ICT in the economic development of the country.

He enjoined the ICT professionals to play a lead role as well as key into it by assisting the Government in the implementation of the highly commendable strategic items stated in the plan.

For the Oracle of the Nigerian ICT industry, Chris Uwaje, who moderated the roundtable, IT development framework bill for the country has become urgent so as to address local ICT challenges for digital economy.

He said that Nigeria will continue to be digitally colonised unless legislation is put in place to protect local market from foreign vendors.

The roundtable in the communique also noted that there was need for constructive policy framework and strategies for the development and growth of local content in Information and Communications Technology, ICT.

IT intervention for retooling the National workforce, according to the communique,   is a strategic imperative. Intellectual Property in Science, technology and promotion of indigenous research, the communique added, should be encouraged as fundamental to the development, progress, wealth creation and survivability of the nation.

To attain international best practice in the Nigerian education system, the communique noted that that innovative IT curriculum is deployed at all levels of education with special focus on the training and re-training of lecturers and teachers of IT at all levels.

Meanwhile, after an extensive discussion on the various issues, the forum agreed   for the enactment of   IT  legislation, government to scale up creativity in the industry through the provision of a special intervention fund, review the CPN Act , key into the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Development Plan,  ERGP, software developers should come up with solutions that can be deployed to assist women, the Roadmap on how to integrate technology with education should be created, establishment   of the Federal Ministry of Information Technology, among others.


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