The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, says the ministry is collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to include the ICT and Telecom industry on Forex priority list.
Shittu, represented by Mr John Emeawa, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS), Ministry of Communications, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja while inaugurating the ICT, Computers/Devices Service Centre.
The centre was established by the Ministry of Communications and Certified Computers Manufacturing of Nigeria (CCMON).
According to the minister, there is an ongoing discussion between the ministry and the CBN to include the ICT and Telecom industry in the list of sectors to be accorded Forex priority.
“In this regard, I will proudly say that Nigeria has an array of young people with great energies and creative abilities to launch Nigeria into the league of world leading economies by leveraging on ICTs.
Shittu stressed the need for the nation to adopt a deliberate, planned and sustainable national programme for developing a competent, knowledge-driven workforce and society.
He said sustained access to ICT tools was a critical component of competent and knowledge-driven workforce.
The minister said in ensuring a competent workforce that the Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON) seeks to collaborate with the ministry and its agencies to establish the centre.
According to him, the ministry fully identifies with CCMON since its activities align with the mandate of the ministry because we know that their value propositions will be beneficial to the sector.
“Our collaboration with CCMON is intended to transform and build the capacity of the workforce in digital literacy and in preparation for a full implementation of the National e-Government Master plan.
“ICT Roadmap and also equip benefitting tech savvy youths with entrepreneurial and job creation skills.
“I am happy to inform you that the Computer Service Center aligns with the implementation of the Federal Government Local Content Initiative,“ he said.
Shittu said the centre will support all systems bought in the public service, saying it was a pilot project of the ministry with plans to be replicated in every MDAs to provide after sales and services support.
“Such after sales support will ensure that computers bought by government are duly maintained.
“This will stop all incidents of breakdowns and malfunctioning of computers used for government business.
Consequently, the centre is for skills acquisition of staff that will provide services to various MDAs.
“The programme, therefore, will save costs for government and eliminate huge maintenance costs in government IT infrastructure.
“ I wish to state that our ministry will continue to support CCMON as well as other equipment manufacturers to provide policy direction, who may wish to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria in the future,‘’ he said.
In her opening remarks, Mrs Nkechi Ejele, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, said the centre would serve as a model for promoting in-house maintenance of ICT devices.
Ejele said the centre would also carry out preventive maintenance, encourage purchase of locally manufactured ICT devices.
“Increase the life span of systems and serve as a training centre for devices repair and maintenance thereby lowering the total cost of ownership.
“As a ministry, we have consistently stated the ICT sector of the Nigerian economy has the capacity to serve as one of the leading sources of government revenue, if the enabling environment is created through partnership and investment.”
On his part, Mr Bode Pedro, President, CCMON, said the centre will create trade opportunity for the unemployed youths, the MDAs and private sector.
Pedro said the coming together of local manufacturers to set up a unified service centre will reduce cost and provide efficient services.