By Sunday Ani
The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), has launched locally developed software that would establish a database of Nigerian professionals for the implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order 5 (EO5).
Speaking at the event which was held in Lagos last week, the Director General of NOTAP, Dr. DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim, said the Order is aimed at engaging indigenous professionals in execution of government jobs for improvement of indigenous skills and also to protect and encourage the development of local capacities.
He noted that the EO5 was intended to give preference to Nigerian professionals in the execution of government contracts and projects in science, engineering and technology, to gradually develop their technical skills well enough to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
Dr. Ibrahim said the Order was a government’s initiative to set the nation on the path of viable and sustainable economic growth, using the instruments and platforms of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)
Decrying the enormous amount of foreign currency spent to procure foreign technologies, especially in the area of software by Nigerians entrepreneurs, the DG said it became necessary to encourage the development and utilization of indigenous skills. “NOTAP, therefore, engaged an indigenous Information Technology (IT) company, Cogewox Dot Net limited for development and deployment of a robust database that captures, stores, analyses and reports profiles of Nigerian professionals,” he noted.
He noted that where expertise was lacking, procuring entities would give preference to foreign companies and firms that have demonstrated clear and verifiable plans for indigenous skills development prior to the award of such contracts. “With the signing of Executive Order, companies with the intention of employing foreign nationals on long term work authorisation and requires the grant of expatriate quota will undergo additional extensive scrutiny. The Order, companies would be required to employ Nigerians to understudy their foreign experts to enable them acquire the requisite skills for the eventual takeover of the expatriate positions by a Nigerian counterpart. Although this has always been the case, it is our opinion that there would be stiffer scrutiny and monitoring of this requirement for proper implementation,” he said.
In his presentation titled, ‘Database of Experts for Policy Formulation,’ the former President and Co-founder of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Dr. Chris Uwaje said NOTAP had demonstrated competence and willingness to launch the country into a technology dependent nation through the encouragement of software development in the country.
He expressed confidence that NOTAP would religiously implement the Order and turn Nigerian into a technology hub, even as he urged the Federal Government to give all support and encouragement to the agency to ensure the actualisation of its mandates.
He described the software as a robust and interactive app that provides platform for the Nigerian professionals to easily engage in registration, so long as they have a smart internet enabled devices, stressing that Nigeria is blessed with an array of relentless researchers and software developers that could seamlessly compete with their foreign counterparts if given the opportunity to exhibit their competencies.
He commended NOTAP for trusting in the ability of the Nigerian software developers to develop software that would drive the implementation of EO5, adding that the only way to develop indigenous skills was by believing in the operators of the sector and through patronage.