NITDA DG Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) says it will go ahead and begin the registration and licensing of information technology (IT) contractors despite the objection of the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS).

It said it was rather late to stop the process as already, several indigenous IT contractors and service providers had commenced the process of registration with NITDA, adding that the agency appreciates all those that have initiated the process. "It clearly shows their commitment to the growth and development of the IT sector,” NITDA said.

While it said NCS was correct that the Computer Professionals (Registration Council) of Nigeria as a Council had the mandate to have control and supervision of the (Computing) profession as provided by Section 1(2) of the Computer Professionals (Registration council of Nigeria) Act, it argued that the registration of IT contractors and service providers by NITDA is in line with its mandate as specifically stated in Section 6 (a,f) NITDA Act 2007. It argued further that the section mandates it to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardisation, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of IT practices, activities and systems in Nigeria. It is also to render advisory services on all IT matters to the public and private sectors.

“Therefore, it is within the regulatory and developmental role of NITDA to ensure that IT contractual practices and project delivery in the public sector are done in accordance with best practices, within acceptable standards and in the interest of the development of IT in Nigeria. Furthermore, the agency, as the clearance house for IT projects of the Federal Government, has the responsibility to ensure that IT projects are executed by professional firms. NITDA as a regulator will not relent in its quest to improve IT practices and expose projects that are ill conceived or poorly executed,” the agency said.

The agency assured all that it will not allow sub-standard projects in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) being executed by companies that have limited or no capacities. "The registration process will therefore ensure professionalism in IT service delivery, value for national investments in IT and to weed out quacks who may seek to take advantage of public procurement for selfish interests. The process will also provide a detailed database of indigenous IT capabilities in Nigeria to guide the government in planning IT projects and for the promotion of Nigerian content through appropriate use of public sector spend in IT. Furthermore, the process will lead to a review of failed projects with a view at curating knowledge on factors that may have led to failure. NITDA in partnership with other relevant authorities shall take appropriate action where fraud may have led to failure," NITDA explained.

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