Jidaw Systems
(MASTERCOMPUTERS)


NIGERIA : ICT4D Annual Review 2007

A synopsis of the ICT4D sector in Nigeria incorporating activities of the Government, Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organizations.

  By

Bankole Olubamise

Executive Director,

Development Information Network,

7, Adesoye Street , Mende, Maryland , Lagos .

Bankole.o@devnetnigeria.org; bolubamise@yahoo.com

and

Jide Awe,

Managing Director,

Jidaw Systems (Mastercomputers) http://www.jidaw.com

   

a.      Background 

Information and communications are integral to human society[1]. In African societies that existed before colonial rule, people communicated using various instruments and codes such as talking drums, flutes, gongs, town crier and village square meetings[2]. Many historical records are still recorded on the walls of caves, and especially through oral tradition. The use of writing and the invention of printing transformed the type and content of recorded history.  Communications on a universal scale became possible through the use of books, newspapers, magazines and radio. "More recent technological innovations increased further the reach and speed of communications, culminating, for now, with digital technology"[3].

The advancements in technology has created so many ICT tools that are necessary and useful in the development process. These new technologies have become central to contemporary societies. A basic classification by Chris Nicol of Association for Progressive Communications of these modern technologies is as follows:

 

  • Information Technology uses computers, which have become indispensable in  modern societies to process data and save time. The use of computers is so pervasive to modern development in commerce, education and governance amongst others.
  • Telecommunication Technologies includes telephones-mobile, fixed (with fax), and broadcasting of radio and television, often through satellites;
  • Networking Technologies, of which the best known is the internet, but which has extended to mobile phone technology, Voice Over IP telephony, satellite communications, and other forms of communications that are still in their infancy.

These all have come to dominate modern society and become the basis for the survival of the modern man, thus defining what is now called the information society. This is the information age!

Globalization-though few agree on any single definition, it generally describes a world where market forces are the driving forces. Today, trade and investments are expanding the hitherto known boundaries of nations. We hear about liberalization, free markets, deregulation, privatization of public enterprises among others as part of the globalization processes. In fact, the major instrument of globalization, information technology has created a global village. According to Alfred P. Sloan, "the big work behind business judgment is in finding and acknowledging the facts and circumstances concerning technology, and the market in their continuously changing forms. The rapidity of modern technological change makes the search for facts a permanently necessary feature." Bill Gates supports him by saying "how you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose". De Horowitz, former President of the International Federation of Library Associations, made this assertion many years ago to the effect that,…developing countries of the future would be those who come late to the information revolution.[4]

The world's digital divide is now rather apparent and reinforcing poverty. All the Computers and telecommunications facilities in Africa are not up to 50% of those of New York City in the USA . This huge gap in application of ICT in the development process is furthering the pauperization of the poor and expanding the gap between the rich and the poor part of the world.

The situation is further aggravated by a lack of ICT policy or poor implementation strategies in many Africa states. In Nigeria , the Information Technology policy passed in 2001 is completely out of date and in need of review. However, over the past three years the government has made certain advances in the field of telecommunications, with the arrival of GSM technologies, telephony has increased in urban centers, with majority of the population still largely unaffected by the revolution. On the other hand the lack of integration of all these recent developments is still a cause for concern.

 

It is in light of the foregoing that the government set up the National Information Technology Development Agency, which is to anchor the governments' ICT policy implementation strategy. The National Strategic Action Plan is to provide concrete implementation strategies over the next 5 years for the key sectors -health, education, infrastructure, human resource development, Agriculture, Legal/Regulations, private sector/industry, media/community, amongst others - as part of an integrated approach to achieving national development espoused through the new National Economic Empowerment Development Programme (NEEDS).

Nigeria is Africa 's most populous country, with a population 140million. Though with oil resources, Nigeria is actually a poor country with only US $17 per person per day in 2002[5]. Nigeria is also severely under-aided. International development assistance is $1-2 per capita compared to a sub-Saharan average of $21 per capita[6]. In May 2004 the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) was launched as Nigeria 's home-grown poverty reduction strategy. Similar strategies are being developed across the 36 states, called State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS). The NEEDS and SEEDS focus on achieving growth, better service delivery, reform of government and the political system, and transforming values to overcome corruption and inefficiency[7]. 

According to the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria ) manufacturing capacity utilization fell from 47% in 2005 to 22.7 percent in 2006[8]. Generally, the economic performance was mixed, with the average capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector closing at 40 per cent at the end of December 2005 down from 45 percent  as at December 31, 2004 . The economy witnessed an increase in Foreign Direct Investment, especially in the non-oil sector of the economy, which was buoyed by the banking consolidation drive at the end of which 25 banks were approved as being fit for services.

The ongoing economic reform programme coupled with high crude oil prices boosted the country's external reserves and enabled the defense of the Naira exchange rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Latest figures released by the CBN shows that Nigeria 's gross external reserves reached an all time high of $40.5 billion.

 

Information and Communications Technology in Nigeria : The Journey so far

Nigeria imported 100 percent of all its IT equipment, and a diversity of firms exists to supply, service, and maintain imported equipment[9]. This was the scenario until very recently, when two major developments have also placed a Nigerian Brand on the International ICT market. Zinox Computers and OMATEK Computers now assemble their own brands of Desktop and Laptop computers for the International market, with government patronage. The liberalization policy of the government has greatly reduced the cost of acquiring a computer unit.  Now, its fashionable to have access to desktops computers at costs below $400-1000, something unimaginable just five years ago!

Historically, as at 1994, there were more than 200 registered companies in Nigeria offering a broad range of computer related services. Most of them were set up between 1977 and 1982 to take advantage of the indigenization decree and the then prevailing economic boom. A partial survey conducted in 1986, involving 47 computer companies, showed that 88 percent of these were vendors; 79 percent were consultants; 70 percent offered training services; 68 percent had maintenance facilities; while 45 percent offered bureau services[10].

Today the structure of the industry would still be largely the same. Vendors representing all the major global brands in ICT dominate the industry. Between 1999 and today, some of the leading brands have opened country offices along side their vendors/distributors. Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Dell , CISCO, ORACLE, are among the leading brands with a Nigerian office. Nigerian owned firms are now also growing in strength, but besides Zinox and Omatek, they are largely players in the distributive trade.

The developments in telecommunications over the past four years, especially with the advent of GSM technology has also spurn new companies offering telephone sales and after sales services. In fact Nigeria has been ranked as the fastest growing Telecommunications market according to a report by Actis[11].

Nigeria has certainly left the telecomm state where there were only a few dial-up e-mail providers and Internet service providers (ISPs) and when Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) was the only Telecommunications operator. It was a dark era characterized by slow Internet links, poor service, high cost, lack of infrastructure and an unprogressive telecoms monopoly. Things have certainly changed.

Deregulation of the telecommunications sector led to the introduction of major Global System of Mobile Communications (GSM), mobile phone providers such as MTN Nigeria, Celtel, Globacom and Mtel are key players. Towards the end of 2006, Nitel and Mtel were acquired by a multipurpose vehicle-Transcorp Inc.

Nigeria 's government had earlier provided the impetus for liberalization by setting up the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Although NCC became the regulatory body for Nigeria 's telecom sector in 1992, it is the present government that dealt with the telecom policy, interconnection agreements and the empowerment of NCC. The process commenced with the launching of the National Telecommunication Policy in year 2000. In 2003 the Nigerian Telecommunications Act was passed by the National Assembly, giving autonomy to Telecommunications Regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). NCC issues licenses to private telecoms companies providing a variety of telecom services to the Nigerian populace.

The GSM revolution changed the face of Information and Communications Technology in Nigeria . But the picture will not be complete without mentioning the Private Telephone Operators (PTOs) and other landmarks such as the licensing of Globacom as Nigeria 's second national operator (SNO) as well as the licensing of 22 fixed wireless operators. Though Globacom is presently more active in the mobile telephony sector (Glomobile), it has the same licenses as NITEL. Globacom's license constitutes a multi-service package of National Carrier, GSM, International Gateway and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).

At present there are (two) national carriers, 5 (four) digital mobile (GSM) operators[12] and over 20 operators have been licensed to provide fixed wireless services at national and regional levels. Some of these PTOs and FWAs  licensed earlier have now been granted Universal Licenses and about two of them - Multilinks and Starcomms have rolled our GSM services.

Since the GSM launch, mobile telephony has rapidly become the most popular method of voice communication in Nigeria . Growth has been so rapid that Nigeria has been rightly described in various fora as "one of the fastest growing GSM markets in the world". Indeed these developments have been truly explosive:

According to Chief Cornelius Adebayo, the former Federal Minister of Communications, (ITU, March 2006)  "The number of fixed lines which was about 700,000 in 2002 had almost doubled by the end of 2005, while the number of Mobile lines had risen from about 1.56 million in 2002 to the present figure of about 20 million. It is no wonder then that the Nigerian Mobile market has been rated as one of the fastest growing in the world and it is projected that by the year 2010 it will be Africa 's biggest mobile market. The prices of SIM Packs have crashed to the extent that these are now virtually free. Investment in the sector continues to grow and has risen to over $10billion from $50 million in 2000 and the investors are smiling to the banks, from the profit figures published by the operators".

But Nigeria 's telecom infrastructure story and growth has not been due to GSM alone. For example, GSM doesn't have much to do with the upsurge in Internet usage and access. In essence it is the combined activities of Nigeria 's telecoms providers - GSM, FWA, PTOs, telephony and VSAT operators and NCC's regulatory efforts that have led to increased competition and availability of a wide range of voice, data and internet applications and services. The improvement in the telecom situation in Nigeria has made significant impact in all sectors - commerce, social and educational[13].

Deregulation has also led to the issuance of licenses for fixed wireless networks, Internet services, VSAT (Very Small Aperture Satellite System) and telecommunication equipment services. The telecom boom has resulted in greater usage of Internet Technology, growth and availability of cyber cafés, increased Internet provision by ISPs and PTOs, increased communications services (mobile telephony, e-mail, VOIP), reduction of Internet costs, online information gathering and research, e-learning, Internet business opportunities, online advertising opportunities as well as developments in e-banking. Growth has been phenomenal because Nigeria 's size is massive and Nigerians have been starved of such access for decades.

A few years ago, "cyber café" was a strange word from another world. Today cyber cafés exist in virtually every neighborhood especially in the urban centers. Because cost of ICT is still relatively high for most individuals, the cybercafe has significantly improved accessibility to the Internet in Nigeria .

With the exclusivity period granted the 4 digital Mobile GSM Operators ending in 2006, NCC is set to replace all existing licenses including the five-year exclusive mobile licenses granted GSM operators in February 2001 with Unified (Universal) licensing. Unified licensing is expected to be technology neutral and is a move to further open up and liberalize the sector in the interest of the consumers. The new regime is expected to foster development of the sector, encourage a level playing field, increase competition and ultimately reduce tariffs.

In addition to other efforts to serve the rural areas, the federal government is currently embarking upon an expansive national rural telephone project.

Computer  Education

Computer education in Nigeria has come a long way since the foundation of the IBM African Education Training Centre at the University of Ibadan in 1963 for the training of computer personnel to operate, program, and, to a limited extent, service IBM 1461/1620 machines. Today there are fully fledged computer science departments in Nigeria universities and other tertiary institutions teaching a range of subjects including computer science; software engineering; programming and programming languages; numerical computations; and systems analysis. Studies at these institutions lead to degrees or diplomas in computer science. Computer education and training is also provided by private institutions, polytechnics, training institutes, some vendors amongst others. A lot of vendors and training institutes now offer certification programmes to qualify as computer professionals.  In, addition the advent of cheaper access to the internet now  makes it easier to access training opportunities on the internet.

Cheaper telecommunication costs has also made access to the Internet cheaper and therefore commonplace. Cyber cafés now help provide access to the Internet, whilst a few telecommunications companies also offer Internet connection with telephone services.

 

Three categories of institutions identified as providing Computer Education in Nigeria are:

1)      Tertiary institutions setup by statutes e.g. Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Technology, Colleges of Education, etc

2)      Institutions that run professional computer education courses and training for public exams and international certifications, e.g. CPN, BCS, IDPM, International certifications developed by Microsoft, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, etc.

3)      Institutions that run computer literacy programmes including computer awareness, appreciation, computer utilization and use of computer packages

For (1) and (2), of such educational programs the aim is to produce professionals with expertise in high demand areas such as Programming, Technical Support, Engineering, Database, Information Warehousing, Networking, Web Development, Research, Internet and E-Commerce. Since ICT is the infrastructure of the Knowledge economy, such skilled professionals are needed to create, operate, design, maintain, program and deploy information and communication technology solutions.

In addition for (1), Computer Science and Engineering graduates produced can be involved in conducting hardware and software research and development.

For (3) the aim is to produce improve the level of computer literacy of students and working professionals irrespective of their course of studies or profession. The Knowledge economy requires knowledge workers who are IT savvy.

 

ICT Services Available in Educational and Research Institutes[14]

In most of the educational and research institutes visited, the ICT infrastructures had just been put in place. There had been computer systems available for so many years but their use was limited to word processing. The ICT drive in most of the educational and research institutes visited is on Internet service provision. A lot of the institutes have achieved this using government allocation, privately or internationally sourced funds and grants.

All the educational and research institutes visited had computing equipment, such as computer systems, printers and scanners, while the provision of Internet service in most of the institutes is a recent development.

Computers: There was a wide range of computing equipment available in the institutes.

Most institutes had a mixture of branded and assembled computer systems. The numbers of laptops in most institutes are very few. The computer-to-researcher ratio is very low, about 2:1 in most of the institutes. This may be due to lack of physical security at the educational and research institute or a low priority of computing facilities on the institute's lists of needs.

It was also discovered that the computing needs of the administrative staff have priority over that of research staff.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) recently carried out (January - March, 2005) an equipment audit, including computing equipment, of all federal universities. Access to this information was to be made available on the commission's website. However, on enquiry the information is yet to processed

Local Area Network (LAN): Almost all the institutes have a LAN, which is usually wired.

The LAN may be restricted to the resource room, the library or the main building of the institute e.g. NIHORT, NACETEM, FIIRO. The LAN at NIPRD consists of several LANs in different buildings joined together by a wireless link. All the LANs are based on the 10/100 Mbps Ethernet technology.

 

Regulatory and Professional Activities

National IT Development Agency (NITDA)

National IT Development Agency (NITDA) is responsible for the implementation of the National ICT policy and the facilitation of the use of ICT as a tool for national development. However, NITDA has been hampered by a lack of legislative backing which they secured only in December 2006, which has  limited its effectiveness, coupled with the lack of human and financial resources to facilitate its work.

 

REPORT ON THE NATIONAL ICT STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN[15]

"The Nigerian National Strategic Action Plan is in line with the implementation of the approved Plan of Action of the Geneva phase of the WSIS. Member countries that have existing ICT policy are expected to develop corresponding e-Strategies on who does what amongst all stakeholders in implementing the policy. The Strategic Action Plan document will serve as a road map on how the National Information Technology System will be upgraded and used in addressing several development issues such as:

            - Bridging the Digital Divide by encouraging Investment in Information and Communications Technology.

            - Using ICT as a tool for a wide range of applications, such as remote sensing, environmental, agricultural and Infrastructural planning.

            - Identifying and exploring opportunities for trade, investment and finance.

            - Helping in the fight against illiteracy and embarking on programmes to improve the state of health and Educational sectors.

            - Encouraging Identification and pursuit of areas of research and required development, amongst others.

 

The National committee has been divided into sub-groups as follows:

            i) Human resource

            ii) Research and Development (R & D)

            iii) Infrastructure

            iv) ICT in Education

            v) National Security and Law Enforcement

            vi) Legislature and Governance

            vii) IT popularization and deployment in Communities

            viii) Private sector development

            - Trade and commerce

            - Tourism

            - Service sector

            - Industrial sector development

            - Local and foreign Direct Investment

            - SMEs

            ix) Legal and Regulatory framework

            x) ICT in Health

            xi) ICT in Agriculture

            xii) eGovernment

 

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is supporting NITDA in drawing up the plan. In addition to the recruitment of an international resource person to facilitate the group committee work, financial assistance is being received from ECA.

In all, several meetings have been held both at the general and sub-committee levels. At the sub-committee level, relevant stakeholders have been identified especially for questionnaire administration, focus group discussion and general input to produce an all inclusive and generally acceptable plan of action for implementation at the national level. The resource persons are also working hard to meet up the new deadline November 2006. The work has reached 75% completion."

NITDA should do everything within its powers to publish this plan for Nigerians to see. It would help integrate man of the initiatives currently being developed in the country in a coherent manner.

Prof Cleopas Angaye is the current CEO of NITDA located at Portharcourt Crescent , Off Gimbiya Street, Garki, Abuja . www.nitda.gov.ng

 

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)

Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is the regulatory body for Nigeria 's telecom sector. NCC issues licenses to private telecom companies providing a variety of telecom services to the Nigerian populace.

According to NCC, deregulated telecommunications services include:

"Sales and Installation of Terminal equipment (Mobile Cellular Phones, Satellite Communication and Switching equipments etc); Public Payphone Services; Internet Services; Prepaid Calling Card Services; Community Telephony wth exchanges; Paging Services; Trunk and 2-Way Radio Network Services; Fixed Telephony Siervices, employing cable and Radio; Satellite Network Services (e.g. Domestic VSAT networks); Repairs & Maintenance of telecommunications facilities; Cabling services; Tele-Centers/Cyber Cafes".

Dr Ernest Ndukwe is the current CEO/ Executive Vice Chairman. NCC is located at it new headquarters opposite the Transcorp Hilton Hotel. See www.ncc.com.ng

 

Professional Associations

The first professional computer body in Nigeria was the Computer Association of Nigeria (CAN), established in 1980.  Sectoral and National bodies now exist to take care of the  interest of different players in the sector. Prominent amongst them are the Computer Society of Nigeria (NCS), Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Computer Vendors Association of Nigeria amongst others.

Nigeria Computer Society is the premier member association responsible for the advancement of Computer Science and Technology, Computer Applications and Professionals Practice.

The Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), established by Decree 49 of 1993 is responsible for the control and supervision of the Computing Profession in the country. CPN has responsibilities amongst others for the accreditation of Computer Training institutions, courses and programmes.

However, most Computer training institutions and programmes operated and run in Nigeria are presently not accredited by the CPN.

 

- The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) is a nonprofit organization specifically set up to facilitate business and trade in software and related services in Nigeria .

- The Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) is the umbrella organization of all telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria .

 

Non-Governmental Associations (NGOs)

ICT4D in Nigeria is largely driven by Non-State Actors, who with little resources have made substantial impact at local and international levels promoting the emergence of an information society. Some of the leading ones include:

Development Information Network (DevNet) 

DevNet started the ICT4D campaign when she collaborated with the British Council and WangoNet to form the Nigerian Network on ICT. This platform was used to facilitate a national educational project that culminated in a National Conference on Nigerian IT Policy. DevNet also facilitated contributions of NGOs to the WSIS ( Geneva ) and Tunis Phases. DevNet is a member of the National ICT Strategic Plan Committee and also is a member of ACSIS-African network of NGOS in the Information Society. Since 2004 DevNet has published 12 publications as part of promoting the information Society in Nigeria . A yearlong Television and Radio programme highlighting the information society ended in February 2007. See Appendix for a full list of publications. Contact Bankole Olubamise, 7, Adesoye Street , Mende , Maryland , Lagos , Nigeria .

 

Lagos Digital Village/Nigerian WSIS Youth Caucus-facilitated by the young former IT Ambassador Gbenga Sessan has contributed immensely in promoting youth in ICT4D. At WSIS Tunis, they collaborated with NYIN, Schoolnet Africa, Paradigm Initiative Network and Nigerian WSIS Youth Caucus to put up a most scintillating performance on youth and ICT in Nigeria . Their publication Global Process, Local Reality: Nigerian Youth lead action in the Information Society is a seminal contribution on the efforts of youth in promoting the information society.

Fantsuam Foundation; led by the affable Dr John Dada, this is Nigeria model Rural Based ICT4D initiative. The Award winning foundation is a Cisco training center, microfinance and empowerment center for over 3500 women in Kafanchan, Kaduna State Nigeria . Dr Dada recently collaborated with Lagos Digital Village and Coseo Limited to launch the Nigerian Telecentre Network to facilitate Telecentre initiatives in Nigeria See www.fantsuam.org

The Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) is a non-governmental organization promoting and facilitating full Internet connectivity in Nigeria . It has recently launched a campaign to use the internet to create over 20,000 jobs through the Internet for Jobs initiative.

Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) Founded with a vision  to use information and Communication Technologies for the development of society.  The organization works under five semi-autonomous projects. These are the Computer Literacy Project (CLP), the SchoolNet Project (SnP), the Community Access Network (CAN), the Trade in ICTs Monitor (TIM) and the ICTs Research and Adaptation Programme (ITRAP). The method of work includes training, seminars and workshops, research, advocacy and publication.

Contact : Y. Z. Ya'u  Flat 3, First Floor, Zumuchi Stores Building , BUK Road , Kofar Kabuga, Kano P. O. Box 10201 , Kano Yunusayau@hotmail.com

 

Further details about NGOs active in ICT4D contact devnet@devnetnigeria.org

 

c.   The Private Sector in Nigeria : An Overview

Nigeria is the second largest economy in sub-Sahara after South Africa . It is the tenth largest producer of crude oil in the world at 2.1million barrels per day.  It also has enormous natural gas reserves, vast agricultural lands, natural resources and a dynamic private sector.

The private sector in Nigeria was largely dominated by foreign brands until the indigenization decree in the 1970 made it possible for Nigerians to own businesses. It has since grown to become the engine of the Nigerian economy. Largely dominated by the Oil industry, which contributes over 80% of National Income, Agriculture and trade/commerce play a role. Industry and Banking, now seems to be on the upward swing, especially with the consolidation process which will produce about 25 globally competitive banks. Other major players include the service industry, trade and commerce.  SME's also provide a sufficient level of activity to be relevant, though support is virtually nil.

Small and Medium Enterprises

A Nigerian Bank for Industry (BOI) was set up by the government to meet the financing needs of local manufacturers and small and medium scale industries (SMEs). In addition, in its Monetary Policy the CBN in 2001 mandated banks to set aside 10 percent of their gross profit towards financing SME projects through the Small Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS). Under this scheme, the CBN makes available loans, channeled through selected banks to small enterprises, such as farmers, at a rate lower than prevailing commercial rates. All banks operating in Nigeria are required to deposit 10 percent of their profit after tax to fund SMIEIS loan programs.

Furthermore, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) was established by the SMEDAN Act of 2003 to promote the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector of the Nigerian Economy. There is also an Association of Small Scale Industry (NASSI) that represents the interests of SMEs operating within the economy.

The largest investment in SMEs has been in the ICT sector, with the popular   Lagos Computer Village a manifestation of the growing ICT industry in Nigeria . It is estimated the turnover of the Lagos Computer Village is in excess of $50Million per annum. A Testimony to the growth of small scale ICT industries.

Agriculture

In 1960s, agriculture was the most important sector in Nigeria in terms of its contribution to domestic production, employment and foreign exchange earnings. However as from the mid to late 1970s Oil became the principal foreign exchange earner.

Agriculture however employs over two thirds of the population, and accounts for a third of the GDP. Nigerian agriculture is characterized by its product diversity - tree and food crops, forestry, livestock and fishing. However, the agricultural sector is not very efficient as Nigeria still imports much of its foodstuffs.

Traditional Industry and Manufacturing

There are different types of manufacturing industries in Nigeria . Industrial outputs vary from industry to industry - manufacture of food products and Beverages, Tobacco, Textile products, Electrical Equipment, Vehicle Assembly, Building materials, petroleum/chemical products, Paper conversion, Weaving apparel, Tanning and Dressing of leather and recycling.

Nigeria's manufacturing capacity utilization still remains very low due primarily to the high costs of production owing to the poor state of infrastructure such as power generation and water supply Most  depend on generating sets for reliable power supply..

Although buy-Nigeria campaigns have been launched, demand for local manufactured goods is quite low compared to cheaper imported products.

Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) is a national industrial association serving and representing nearly 2000 companies in private and public sectors in manufacturing, construction and service sectors of the national economy. 

There is renewed focus on local sourcing of raw materials, and a need for the manufacturing industry to become more globally competitive. Export of manufactured good isn't really significant at present.

Oil & Gas 

Nigeria is the world's sixth largest oil exporter and the leader in oil exports in sub-Saharan Africa . Thus petroleum production and export play a dominant role in Nigeria 's economy and account for about 90% of her gross earnings. The oil and gas industry is the most important private sector group in the economy of Nigeria . The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC), is the oldest and largest of the oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria .

The dominant role of Oil has pushed agriculture, the traditional mainstay of the economy, from the early fifties and sixties, to the background. Since the 1970s, it has become heavily dependent on earnings from oil, which account for more than half of Federal Government revenue and over 90% of export earnings..

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) is responsible for upstream and downstream development, which entails exploiting, refining, and marketing Nigeria 's crude oil.

Besides oil, Nigeria had substantial reserves of natural gas. Nigeria is marketing liquefied natural gas (LNG) (instead of flaring gas produced in the oil fields). Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) is jointly owned by  the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%), Shell (25.6%), Total LNG Nigeria Limited (15%) and ENI (10.4%). NLNG was created to harness Nigeria 's vast natural gas resources and produce Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for export.

Major oil companies exploring oil resources in Nigeria are Shell, Chevron, Mobil, Agip, Elf Aquitaine , Phillips, Texaco, and Ashland .

The relationship of the companies and the Government with local communities in the Niger Delta region is still a troubled one. Inter-ethnic clashes, community strife, vandalism, hostage takings, and the rise of other criminal activity clearly highlight the tension in the area.

Finance

The Nigerian financial system comprises bank and non-bank financial institutions which are regulated by the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Insurance Commission (NIC), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), and the National Board for Community Banks (NBCB).

The CBN is the apex regulatory authority of the financial system. In 2005, CBN gave the banks 18 months to recapitalize the minimum paid-up capital for banks from N2 billion to N25 billion and at the end of the day only 25 banks were able to meet this target. A major component and source of investment drive for the 25 recapitalized banks is the synchronization of their computer networks. All the Banks now offer real time online transactions, Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) services and even online internet and mobile banking. Most of them have also migrated to new banking software platforms.

Following the successful conclusion of the banking industry consolidation / recapitalization exercise in the banking industry, the National Insurance Commission of Nigeria (NAICOM) is also carrying out a reform of Nigeria 's insurance industry. Insurance companies in the country must recapitalize by February 28, 2007 . Life insurance companies are required to recapitalize to a minimum of N2 billion while non-life insurance companies will have a minimum paid-up capital of N3 billion. Each insurance company will also be required to  have a functional Information Technology Centre in each of the 36 states of federation. A key body in Nigeria 's insurance industry is the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA).

The main institutions in the capital market include the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is at the apex and serves as the regulatory authority of the market, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (LSE), the issuing houses and the stock broking firms.

At present, there are six branches of The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Clearing, Delivery and Settlement: Clearing, Settlement and Delivery of transactions on The Exchange are done electronically by the Central Securities Clearing System Limited (CSCS), a subsidiary of The Stock Exchange. The Exchange had since June 2, 1987 , linked up with the Reuters Electronic Contributor System for online global dissemination of stock market information - trading statistics, All-Share Index, company investment ratios, and company news (financial statements and corporate actions). In 1996 The Exchange launched its Internet System (CAPNET) to provide access to key market information and facilitate communication, by local and international participants in the market, as well as subscribers to the system  include stockbrokers, quoted companies, issuing houses, etc,

 

The Current Reforms

The financial services industry plays a critical role in the socio-economic development in any society. The current reforms in the finance industry aim to strengthen the operators for global competitiveness and for better performance. Financial services are improving in Nigeria . But in addition to low capitalization, there is a great need to address issues such as lack of innovation, poor public perception, low level of IT leverage, poor national finance culture, (savings, insurance), limited capacity (human and financial), poor research and development, lack of innovative products and unethical business practices.

Development Finance Institutions

The Bank of Industry (BOI) is a product of the merger of three development financial institutions. They are: the Nigerian Bank of Commerce and Industry (NBCI), the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) and the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND). BOI was created in January 2000. BOI's mission is to "transform Nigeria 's industrial sector and integrate it into the global economy by providing financial and business support services to existing and new industries in order to attain modern capabilities to produce goods that are competitive in both domestic and external markets."

Other Financial institutions and funds operating in Nigeria 's financial system are Finance and investment companies, Bureaux de change operators (Banks also offer this service), Primary mortgage institutions and the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). The Pension reform law of 2004 also established a contributory pension system for the country and though in its early stages has attracted a lot of investment in ICTs. 12 Pension Fund Managers have been licensed-some of them a merger of the Pension Fund Managers of various banks and insurance agencies. These companies have also made substantial investments in ICT, especially online pension services.

Privatization

Privatization of state enterprises by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) accelerated between 2000 and 2006. Government enterprises in the following sectors were privatized or scheduled for privatization:

Telecommunications, Electricity ( Generation and Distribution), Petroleum Refining,  Coal Bitumen Production (mining, Processing and Export) and Tourism generation (Tour and Travel, Hospitality, etc). Many of these companies have made huge investments in ICTs to enable them recommence business.

Nitel, the government  owned former monolithic in the telecoms industry has been sold to Transcorp- a special purpose vehicle for promoting Nigeria business.

 

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

In an effort to provide an enabling environment for the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the Federal Government of Nigeria has developed a package of incentives for various sectors of the economy.

Since the private sector is the engine of growth and the creator of wealth, government's major responsibility is to provide the enabling environment for the private investors to operate.

The Nigerian government's policy of economic deregulation and liberalization has opened up new windows of opportunity to all investors wishing to invest in the country's economy. Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), is an Agency of the Federal Government which mission includes maximizing the value of domestic and foreign investment resources.  NIPC has the responsibility to ensure the realization of the maximum benefits of the policies of liberalization and deregulation of the national economy.  The lastest investment is the $400million paid by Mukadala for the 5th GSM license. Most of the existing operators are also angling for the new 3-G license that the NCC is about to auction with a price tag of $150 million each!

Export

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is responsible for promoting export development in Nigeria . There is an attempt to shift focus to non-oil exports, however, oil is still Nigeria 's main export earner. Oil still accounts for over 90% of export earnings.

Manufacturers Association Of Nigeria Export Promotion Group (MANEG) is a Sectoral Group of MAN, made of all the exporters of the Association from all the Sectoral Groups.

It is the largest group of manufacturing exporter companies in Nigeria with the largest non-oil exports of products manufactured in Nigeria .

The ICT industry has witnessed export services since 2004 with the establishment of West African operations of many Nigeria ICT firms such as Technology Distributors, ZInox and Omatek Computers.

 

a. The Framework for National ICT4D Development

The National development program is based on a "private-sector" led and "market- oriented" economy. This is based on the need to diversify the economy away from its over-dependence on the capital-intensive oil sector.

Measures taken have included deregulation of fuel prices, privatization of the country's four oil refineries, and instituted the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS). In November 2005, Abuja won Paris Club approval for a historic debt-relief deal that by March 2006 should eliminate $30 billion worth of Nigeria 's total $37 billion external debt. The deal first requires that Nigeria repay roughly $12 billion in arrears to its bilateral creditors. Nigeria would then be allowed to buy back its remaining debt stock at a discount.

The Federal Government has put in place the National Economic, Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS). NEEDS is the instrument for poverty reduction in the country.

The State and Local Government counterparts of NEEDS are State and Local Government Economic, Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS / LEEDS ). 

The strategy lays particular stress on four key actions: reforming the way government works and its institutions; growing the private sector; implementing a social charter for the people; and re-orientation of the people with an enduring African value system.

NEEDS, in collaboration with State SEEDS, constitutes a response to the challenges of underdevelopment.  The aim is to mobilize people around the core values, principles and programmes of both strategies.

After a long campaign by the Nigeria authorities, in October 2005 Nigeria and its Paris Club creditors reached an agreement that will see Nigeria 's debt reduced by approximately 60%. Nigeria will use part of its oil windfall to pay the residual 40%. This deal will free up at least $1 billion annually for poverty reduction programmes.

 

2.      The National Development Strategy

a.      The Framework for National Development

The National Economic Empowerment Development Programme (NEEDS) is the key economic and social development framework of the current administration. Released in 2004, it outlines the key development objectives of the government over the next 3 years (2007) whilst anchoring the pivot of the economy on the private sector.

b.      Challenges to Development Strategy / National ICT4D Plan.

The major developmental challenges are the absence of the infrastructure for the successful take off of the developmental aspiration of the government. The private sector itself is still in infancy, there is hardly a privately owned company that has the kind of experience the national development strategy seeks to pursue. The Strategy itself came late in the life of the government, and thus its implementation is still largely uncoordinated, and without a clear definition of the goals. Furthermore, there is the added problem of low capacity within existing governmental infrastructure for the attainment of the stated national development priorities. Thus, a Multi-Stakeholder Partnership (MSP) is the government's best bet in getting closer to their stated developmental priorities.

The financial sector and the oil and gas industry remain the leading users of information technology in Nigeria .

Lack of Statistics - There is a dearth of statistics on the ICT sector and the effect of ICT on other sectors. Such information is critical for planning, policy analysis and decision-making.

The role of Organized Private Sector (OPS) in policy formulation is still minimal and mainly reactive.

Most of the economy is in the informal sector. Inflation has been a problem hindering growth.

A solid enabling environment needs to be created - Economic activity is still plagued by generally poor infrastructure, including roads, inferior public transportation, gasoline and water shortages, electricity outages, widespread fraud and corruption, and public health crises. Infrastructure, is poor and inadequate - power supply is epileptic, not made much progress in creating a solid enabling environment.

Human capacity needs to be developed to meet the challenges of the Knowledge Economy. There needs to be consistency in economic decision making.

Increased dependence on imports and lack of growth in the non-oil sector indicates that there is still an urgent need to diversify the Nigerian economy - SMEs, traditional manufacturers need to perform better and be globally competitive.

Nigeria is one of the few nations in the world blessed with abundant mineral wealth, an entrepreneurial population and a productive agricultural base.  By virtue of its size, population, location it is well positioned to be hub or economic activities in Africa . ICT is an opportunity to use the private sector to drive economic development and bridge the digital divide.

 

Emerging Initiatives

UNIVERSAL SERVICE PROVISION FUND

Pursuant to Chapter VII, Part IV, of the Communications Act of 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria established a Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) to facilitate rapid achievement of national policy goals for universal access to telecommunications, information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Mission :

To achieve universal access, universal coverage and universal service through a public-private partnership framework that stimulates economic and social development, private sector investment and market-based provision of basic affordable and quality ICT infrastructure and services to unserved and underserved areas, communities and populations.

The Fund will seek to contribute to national economic and social development by enhancing the universal accessibility and availability of telecommunications and ICT infrastructure and services to all, particularly to rural residents, and socially and physically disadvantaged populations. The Fund will also promote technological innovation and competition in ICT service delivery in rural areas; support the establishment of efficient, self-sustaining, market-oriented businesses, including cooperatives, which will continue to expand access to ICTs on their own initiative, requiring the minimum amounts of short- and long-term Fund support possible as well as ensure effective utilization of funds to leverage investments in rural communications.

- Strategies and mechanisms for extending access to rural and underserved areas of Nigeria .

 - Criteria and modalities for eligibility to access the fund

 - Type of Projects to be funded

 - Appropriate technology for service provisioning in rural and underserved areas.

 - Micro-financing mechanism

 - Tariff and Interconnection for rural areas

 - Affordability and sustainability concerns of ICT services provisioning for rural areas

 - Alternate Power Sources

 - Research and Development.

 

USPF Projects will be categorised in the following manner:

  • Category A: Projects that require less than NGN 50 million in USPF Subsidies.
  • Category B: Projects that require between NGN 50 million and NGN 200 million in USPF Subsidies.
  • Category C: Projects that require between NGN 200 million and NGN500million in USPF Subsidies.
  • Category D: Projects that require more than NGN 500 million in USPF subsidies.
  • Pilot Projects: Pilots will be executed for projects that test out new models, approaches or technologies.

DIGITAL SOLIDARITY FUND

THE DIGITAL SOLIDARITY CHARTER

In a spirit of digital solidarity, the Charter affirms the following principles, objectives and commitment :

THE PRINCIPLES

To build democratic, fair, participatory and pacific societies, reduce poverty and disparities

  • the information society should give all individuals the means to ensure their physical, mental and intellectual development, a better quality of life and the opportunity to fully tap their potential,
  • the information society should contribute to economic and social justice and enable communities at all levels, wherever they are in the world, to guarantee Human rights and fundamental freedoms. It should help to attain the objectives contained in the Millennium Declaration.

To access education, health and employment

  • the information society should provide all individuals with free access to infrastructure, tools and content required for them to flourish, work, produce, communicate, access learning, transmit and develop their knowledge.

To contribute to the development of humanity's heritage and enrich cultural diversity

  • the information society should, with respect for cultural diversity, ensure the transmission to future generations of values, traditions and institutions that contribute to the long-term prosperity of human communities, while seeking to revitalise them so as to better manage the new challenges of globalisation.

To develop good relations and promote social integration with respect for nature and natural resources

  • the use of ICTs should contribute to better relations and a greater security between people and between populations, and promote social, cultural and economic integration while taking full advantage of the diasporas,
  • the development of ICTs should be compatible with the ecological management of natural resources, particularly natural, non-renewable resources and help respect the natural balances required for a good quality of life for citizens.

The freedom of action of every individual in a caring information society should also take account of the needs of future generations.

THE OBJECTIVES

The Digital Solidarity Fund will devote all its efforts and all its resources to supporting these principles with the following objectives :

  • provide an equitable and affordable access to ICTs and their content for everyone, especially the marginalised, such as women, the disabled, the elderly, indigenous populations and the poor in urban and rural areas, with a special effort devoted to the most disadvantaged countries and communities;
  • promote such access as a fundamental right, and to do so both at public and private sector level, independently of market fluctuations, growth and issues of profitability with respect for a socially, culturally, economically, financially and ecologically sustainable information society;
  • guarantee everyone access to information and knowledge to contribute to the autonomy and personal development of every individual and to strengthen the commitment of local communities at the social, political, economic and cultural level ;
  • effectively reduce economic, social and cultural inequalities between the info-rich and the info-poor through the identification and mobilisation of resources resulting from new financing mechanisms.

THE COMMITMENT TO DIGITAL SOLIDARITY

Recognizing that globalization and the emergence of the information society calls for new forms of solidarity between citizens, private organisations and the public authorities, nation States, local authorities and private companies who approve these principles undertake, on a voluntary basis, to reduce the digital inequalities between the info-rich and the info-poor by devoting effective and identifiable resources to digital solidarity.

This commitment is aimed at people, companies, associations, institutions and national and international organisations and the public authorities. It can assume two forms:

  • public authorities (local and national) commit to include in their public bids for ICT (hardware, software and services), a clause for digital solidarity which stipulates that the company who wins the contract must make a contribution of at least one percent of the amount of the transaction to the Digital Solidarity Fund (in accordance with the « Geneva principle »1) ;
  • as an alternative, public authorities (local and national) commit to donate an amount of at least one percent of their budgets earmarked for the purchase of ICT materials and services directly to the Digital Solidarity Fund.

A commitment similar to that undertaken by public authorities can be subscribed by private companies, citizens and any other institution interested to contribute.

In addition, public authorities, private companies, citizens and other interested institutions can decide to make :

  • a commitment « in kind », through the intermediary of the Fund, donating equipments, software or free training ;
  • a voluntary financial contribution paid directly to the Digital Solidarity Fund.

INTERVENTION POLICY

The intervention policy of the Fund is specific: the Fund will fight the digital divide by means of local action primarily based on a collaboration between the emerging South and the less advanced South, better adapted to the on-field realities. The projects supported by the Fund will comprise grassroots initiatives, respectful of cultural diversity and local content. Turning to women's organisations and micro-credit, these projects will address insolvent demand with a view to creating new businesses and, in the long term, new markets.

 

The Future of ICT4D in Nigeria :

Structure and Institutions for National Development

Without gainsaying, structures and institutions are the necessary platforms for the achievement of any developmental goals of any country. However, Nigeria need to erect these structures and where available strengthened for her developmental priorities to be met. The NEEDS document is currently being reviewed and it is expected that it will include major strategic plans to use ICT as a key driver of the development process.

Key Objectives Policy Commitments (NEEDS, MDGs, NAPEM etc)

                                                  i.      Diversification of the productive structure of the economy away from oil/natural resources.

                                                ii.      Ensuring international competitiveness and integration of the productive/service sectors of the economy into the global economy.

                                              iii.      Systematic reduction of the role of government in the direct production of goods and services. Government's policy of privatization, deregulation and liberalization will be pursued as the cardinal objective of the economic and developmental policy of government.

                                              iv.      Strengthening the legal and regulatory frameworks of doing business.

                                                v.      Pursue infrastructural development to facilitate and encourage foreign direct investments that are required to facilitate a competitive economy.

                                              vi.      Ensure sustainable environmental development.

                                            vii.      Promote human and labour rights.

                                          viii.      Coordinate sectoral development strategies with a view to ensuring development across board and ensure that the benefits are accruable to all.

                                              ix.      Predictability of macroeconomic environment and efficiency of resource use predicated on Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MPEF) to ensure predictable and sustainable public finance situation at all levels of government.

                                                x.      Pursue policies consistent with raising domestic savings and increasing private investments.

                                              xi.      Public debt sustainability.

                                            xii.      Efficient tax administration

                                          xiii.      Develop an efficient capital market.

                                          xiv.      Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

 

c.       Key Goals/Deliverables

                                                  i.      Substantial reduction in Nigeria debt profile before 2007.

                                                ii.      Universal Basic Education  for all.

 

The future is bright for Nigeria ICT industry, but the building blocks are not yet in place, following the very landmark success recorded in the telecoms industry through a proactive regulator in NCC, there is need to have a comprehensive ICT strategy for the whole sector. Failure could limit the gains so far made, and the time to start is now.

 

Bankole Olubamise and Jide Awe

April 2007.


Major Players in the ICT Industry in Nigeria

Name

Address

Service

Computer.com 

www.y2kpublishing.com

ICT Monthly Newspaper

Multilinks

www.multilinks.com

Telecoms & Internet

Hyperia

www.hyperia.com

Internet & VSAT

Starcomms

www.starcomms.com

Telecoms & Internet

Technology Distributions

1, Redemption Way , Gbagada, Lagos

Computer Vendor

Skyebank

www.skyebankng.com

Online Banking Services

Linkserve Limited

Plot 308, Adeola Odeku Street , Victoria Isalnd, Lagos .

Internet Service Provider

Zinox

www.zinoxtechnologies.com

Computer Manufacturer

Omatek Computers

www.omatekcomputers.com

Computer Manufacturer

Jidaw.com

www.jidaw.com

Training & certification, Web Content

i-cell

49, Opebi Road , Ikeja, Lagos

Cell Phone vendor

Direct-on-pc

www.directonpc.com

Internet & VSAT

DevNet

www.devnetnigeria.org

ICT4D Research Consult.

 



[1]  ICT Policy: A Beginner's Handbook. Nicol, Chris (ed.). Johannesburg : STE Publishers for Association for Progressive Communications. p9

[2] ICT Tools and Africa . Lagos : DevNet (forthcoming publication) 2003

[3] Nicol, Chris Op Cit p1

[4] Globalization and the challenge of Development in Africa . Welcome address by Bankole Olubamise at a workshop on Trade and Sustainable Development, Calabar, June 5-6, 2004 .

[5] Calculated on the basis of revenue to government from oil and gas in 2002. Data derived from International Monetary Fund, Article IV consultation,2004. in Country Assistance Plan for Nigeria . London : DfID December 2004, p 2.

[6] Development Assistance Committee of the OECD,2003 in Country Assistance Plan for Nigeria . London : DfID December 2004, p 2.

[7] Country Assistance Plan for Nigeria . London : DfID December 2004, p 2.

[8] See Businessday 22nd February and  Keith Richards  column titled Lies, lies and damned statisticsMonday 5th March 2007

[9] Information Technology in Selected Countries: Reports from Ethiopia , Nigeria and Tanzania . Edited by Eleen P. Drew and F Gordon Foster. UNU, 1994, 148p. Chapter 3

[10]  ibid

[11] Blessing Anaro Businessday Monday June 20, 2005 p.32

[12] MTN ( South Africa ), Globacom (Nigerian), Celtel ( Egypt ), Transcorp (Nigerian), Mubadala (UAE)

[13] A research is needed to asses in qualitative terms what real benefits have accrued to the economy from investments in GSM

[14] See the seminal work "ICT Infrastructures Available in Nigerian Educational and Research Institutes" Conducted by Department of Computer Science, University of Ibadan , Ibadan , Nigeria Tel: 234-805-3057329 Email: ao.osofisan@mail.ui.edu.ng Research Team: Adenike O. OSOFISAN PhD and Oluwaseyitanfunmi OSUNADE [2006?]

[15] see www.nitda.gov.ng

 

What Do you Have to Say? Post Your Comments about this content resource Here.

Comments

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December 16, 2008

 

Ola Kazeem Falodun of Kingsgate, Wicklow in Ireland says:

 

 

This is a job well done. It is useful, relevant and informative. Academic references are recommended to be applied.

 

 

April 22, 2008

 

Dr. Joseph AGU in France says:

 

 

This is a very comprehensive and objective report. It contains a lot of very useful information.

 

 

May 20, 2007

 

Jamiu Ayoola from Offa, Kwara State says:

 

 

Very detailed and comprehensive. Thanks for sharing this wealth of information.

 

 

September 6, 2007

 

Anne Chinasa Mpamah from Jos, Plateau state says:

 

 

This article is very rich, broadens knowledge on the on-going- ICT happenings around Nigeria and the globe. More grease.

 

 


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