During the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) President Dinner 2016, many software makers expressed their stand as regards the Senate's recommendation for the termination of Treasury Single Account (TSA) contract with Remita.
Rogba Adeoye, President of the Information Technology Systems and Security Professionals (ITSSP) said that calling for the termination of the contract at this period is not right, as it will derail several government operations. According to Adeoye, the local software, Remita which powers the TSA operation should be encouraged and promoted to other countries to earn Nigeria foreign exchange.
Furthermore, Adeoye explained that “the review as related to the chargeable cost should not be in retrospect as this discourages local IT innovation and empowerment since the contract offers future renegotiations. He admonished the senate to review the cost of the software and charges, seeing that “the professional charges derived through CPN Acts of 1993 as gazetted was never considered in arriving at the Committee’s costing and review of charges of Remita per transaction.”
“This is our stand as regards indigenous software product; that the contract should not be terminated but be allowed to stay as one of IT Products to enhance good Governance, service delivery and transparency” - Rogba Adeoye
Pius Okigbo, Jr, President of ISPON said that termination of TSA contract will not in any way promote or encourage local capacity, adding that “Systemspecs did not do anything wrong. I do not see the reason why the government will terminate the contract. Software industry represents a sector of immense opportunity, massive employment potential, an industry endowed with creativity and technological innovation, wealth creation, talent development and much more.”
Looking beyond the Senate's recommendation, the attendees of the event also discussed the possibilities of indigenous software as a better alternative to help overcome the negative impact of declining Nigerian crude oil prices at the international market.
Chris Uwaje, Former President of ISPON said that Oil and Gas sector has failed to deliver the required value to develop the nation in the last 50 years, and so challenged the government to resort to indigenous knowledge and software and see if the economy would not stand strong as the mainstay of African continent.
“If we must recover lost grounds of our national development and surmount the challenges of the emerging information society, then indigenous Software is the reliable answer and ultimate solution” - Chris Uwaje
Dr. Vincent Olatunji, Acting Director General National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), admitted that the country cannot continue to rely on oil for foreign earning. Olatunji believes that indigenous software development is the good choice for Nigeria, but noted that there is need for partnerships between the government and the private sector.
We aren't sure software development can save the Nigeria's economy but it sure will help to correct some lapses in the system. local software development needs to be encouraged and revisiting the earlier recommendation made by the Senate to renegotiate Remita's contract with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will help show that Nigeria's leaders support indigenous software development.