NITDA new DG Kachifu

Nigeria’s IT clearinghouse, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON) this week, in a virtual meeting, discussed ways of improving the quality of locally produced ICT devices to meet the minimum standard and how to ensure original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) provide sufficient after-sales-support for their manufactured products.

Among others, the talks were hinged on getting more patronage for indigenously assembled devices particularly in the public sector, certification requirements of NITDA, quality of devices, stock availability, after-sales-support, and how to move the country’s ICT hardware sub-sector forward through proper implementation of the local content policy.

The Director-General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, tasked the CCMON on the need to improve quality of locally produced tech devices. He commended the association, as a critical stakeholder, for partnering with the NITDA on Nigerian Content Development in ICT.

But the NITDA’s boss encouraged the indigenous OEMs to be competitive in terms of pricing, quality and brand awareness to the mass market and not merely building their sales target round the government or public sector.

Earlier, the President of CCMON, Mr. Adenike Abudu, had noted that comparative patronage of Nigerian OEMs was relatively low and that investment made by indigenous OEMs was still underutilized because several government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) were still not patronizing indigenous OEMs as required by the Guidelines for Nigerian Local Content and Executive Orders 003 of President Muhammadu Buhari.

She however, identified gaps in communication between NITDA and the association, noting that there is a need to improve communication between NITDA and the association.

She said the purpose of the meeting was to see how they can partner with NITDA to ensure implementation of policies that will help OEMs to thrive, OEMs being in business in turn retains and creates more jobs, she added.

Joint committee to address OEMs aches  

Abdullahi admitted that there were information gaps and need to jointly find a common ground to address the issues affecting OEMs. He then directed that a joint committee be created between CCMON and NITDA to ensure all concerns are addressed and a strategic direction agreed on. The committee will be chaired by the National Coordinator of the Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT (ONC) and will submit its report within a month for consideration and action by the agency

The National Coordinator Office for Nigerian Content (ONC), Mr. Kasim Sodangi, said that NITDA has been engaging MDAs through the IT project clearance channel and has facilitated a lot of purchases of OEMs.

According to him, NITDA cannot be everywhere even though the agency has consistently insisted that IT procurements should be in preference of indigenous manufacturers in line with provision of Executive order 003.

Sodangi admonished OEMs to adopt a more aggressive marketing of their products and do more in terms of product promotion. OEMs need to do more in brand promotion to address poor sales in the mass market and even adoption by the MDAs, added Sodangi.  

Reacting to Sodangi, the CCMON’s boss explained that the issue of specification was complex because the components of hardware are the same. “The only difference is the processor and there over 10 different type of processors. Because of the capacity of the OEMs, it is not possible to stock up one type of processors so they work with the requested specifications at every given time,”

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