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FG committed to local content growth – Johnson

By on September 23, 2014

The Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, has said that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring the growth of local content in the Information and Communications Technology industry.

Johnson said this had become imperative because the ICT sector was contributing about 19 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.

She spoke in Lagos, during an inspection tour of Communication Network Support Service Limited, a call centre of one of the mobile network operators in the country.

The minister said the dominance of the sector was by the multinationals and said there was a need to grow the industry, to build successful local industry.

Johnson, therefore, said government would build ICT local content through the implementation of the Nigerian Content Agenda.

She said the ministry had created a guideline that would support local companies in the ICT sector including accelerating the demand for local ICT products and services.

“This will also include ensuring procurements through local companies and partnership with multinational Information and Communication Technology firms including Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Google and others,” the minister said.

She noted that these companies would help grow the software sub-sector, among others.

The minister said the ministry was working with the National Information and Technology Development Agency to provide guidelines that would further help indigenous ICT firms.

Johnson said Nigerian companies needed to be more capitalised to be able to compete favourably, and lamented the pangs of multiple taxation in the sector.

She said, “But we are currently engaging the state governments on how to resolve this. Multiple taxations are not only illegal but also arbitrary. In a state, about eight agencies tackle a single firm. You can imagine the impact.”

The minister commended CNSSL for pioneering Business Process Outsourcing call centre in Nigeria with an international outlook.

While seeking greater support for indigenous BPO firms, Johnson said, “I am so excited about what I have seen here. You have the track record and capacity from what I have seen today to offer BPO services outside the country.”

She said, “Nigeria is well positioned to offer this, going by our demography, language, population among others. I will tell your success story everywhere and our vision is to showcase more Nigerian companies to the world.”

The Chief Executive Officer of CNSSL, Gbenga Adebayo, said the firm was the first indigenous call centre outsourcing firm, established since 2009 and which had employed over 6000 Nigerians.

Adebayo, who is also the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, said the firm offered a range of call centre services that met end-to-end customer service needs.

He said, “Our contact centre services cover the entire spectrum of customer support and telemarketing needs of enterprises with expertise in inbound and outbound call centre services; market research; products consumer reach, among others.”

He said that the company handled about 60 million inbound and outbound calls and process about 300 calls daily.

Adebayo added that the impact of operating successful contact centre on generation of employment for the youth cannot be over emphasised in the country, stressing that the ability of technology to break down geographical barriers was huge.