The Nigerian Content initiative has provided great opportunities for allied sectors of the Nigerian economy particularly the local IT companies/OEMs to key-in on the provisions of the NOGICD Act, build capacity in-country development without compromising quality, standard and safety as well as receive a boost in line with the provisions made by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board within its mandate to empower and provide the required policy to encourage local patronage by the oil and gas industry.
This was made known by the Executive Secretary, Engr. Ernest Nwapa who was represented by the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Tunde Adelana at a one day industry stakeholder’s factory tour of Omatek Computers Factory which showcased the development of local ICT manufacturing in Lagos recently.
According to the Executive Secretary, an essential first step by the Board was the identification of indigenous OEMs and their current capabilities through an intervention in September 2012 to inaugurate the Information and Communication Technology, (ICT) Forum of the Nigerian Content Consultative Forum, (NCCF) as a common platform for all local IT companies and professional bodies.
Engr. Nwapa further disclosed that the ICT Forum of the NCCF was for all the local IT vendors/OEMs and their stakeholders to share ideas and strategies on how to fully benefit from the opportunities in the oil and gas industry and properly position themselves for competition in IT related services, noting that the Board through this forum shall issue and enforce ICT guidelines to support the indigenous OEM’s efforts in locally assembled brands/IT services in relation to local patronage.
The Chief Executive stated, ‘in pursuant to the compliance of the NOGICD Act on Information Systems, Information Technology and Communication Services, the Board identified quality standards as a key area for development which is imperative on indigenous IT companies to engage the services of IOCs in line with the Nigerian Content philosophy of new developments and innovations to move indigenous technology beyond mere discussions and lead it to measurable impacts’.
In her response, the Group Managing Director, Omatek Ventures Limited, Engr. (Mrs.) Florence Seriki expressed appreciation to the Board and other industry stakeholders reiterating the firm’s commitment in bringing Nigeria and the African continent together to bridge the technology divide to make the nation a manufacturer rather than an adept consumer of computer products in order to pride itself as a truly African and world class company.
Engr. Seriki observed that Omatek brand of products deliver on quality and performance because the company is privileged to buy its raw materials from first class manufacturers like other notable brands in the ICT industry and as a proudly African company, it has contributed to the development of the economy and the education of her people.
Conducting the Board and industry stakeholders round the factory, the Managing Director maintained that Omatek Ventures will always strive to put Africa on the forefront of ICT in order to make it a centre stage for computer revolution. She enumerated the company’s unique products such as portable automobile power inverter with USB charger for laptops while in transit, and multi-socket USB phone charger for various mobile devices.
Other products on the factory line include servers, laptops, desktop computers, tablet personal computers, home entertainment systems and power solutions. Engr. Seriki explained that the Omatek production process goes through casings, speaker lines, desktop assembly line, laptop assembly line, burning room, quality control and packaging. In a related development, the Executive Secretary of the Board addressed the maiden forum of the Information Technology Association of Nigeria, (ITAN) which also held in Lagos for members to integrate and gain opportunities as a new phase of its harmonization process. Speaking through the Manager, ICT of the Board, Mrs. Priscilla Okafor, Engr. Ernest Nwapa highlighted opportunities available to ITAN members on the NOGICJQS portal, noting that the Board’s collaboration with the ICT industry brought about the issuance of ICT Guidelines to the oil and gas industry in line with provisions of the Act. He, therefore, charged players in the ICT industry to leverage on the objectives of the Nigerian Content Development Fund, (NCDF).
Engr. Nwapa observed that from the Board’s perspective, knowing the issues and challenges faced by indigenous companies will help develop appropriate intervention strategies and collaboration opportunities, the advantage being the ability to promote common industry IT standards and leverage global alliances which many of the IOCs already have.
The Executive Secretary acknowledged that the Board is developing an Industrial Park Scheme to encourage SMEs grow their capability in the manufacturing sector of which one of the parks will comprise of an ICT component assembly and called on every sector of the economy not just the oil and gas industry to effectively patronize Omatek Computers to sustain the value it is achieving. Speaking earlier, the Group Managing Director of Omatek Ventures Limited and President of ITAN, Engr. (Mrs.) Florence Seriki enumerated ITAN’s many achievements to include taking its members to countries like Singapore and China to hold interactive sessions with a bid to partner with computer component manufacturers through trade and business missions. She stated that the maiden forum was to integrate its members for empowerment and funding opportunities which showed new ways of funding ICT businesses.
The ITAN President charged members to shun petty issues with a view to move forward and encouraged all Chief Executives to attend quarterly meetings in order to intermingle with resource persons from other sectors. The forum, however, had in attendance captains of industry from the oil and gas, finance, manufacturing and ICT.