FG To Enforce Ban On Foreign Computers

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Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, LG and other foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) will lose their grip on Nigeria’s personal computer (PC) market as the Federal Government yesterday finally moved to enforce a comprehensive ban on foreign computers and technology products in public institutions, including schools.

The aim of the ban is to encourage patronage of ‘made-in-Nigeria’ products and foster growth in the local Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry.

Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Cleopas Anganye, made this declaration during a two-day retreat on draft guidelines for home grown IT hardware products.

Stressing the importance of benchmarking Nigeria’s IT products against international standards in order to make them competitive and marketable globally, Angaye declared that the procurement by public institutions, of foreign computers, where certified local brands exist, would be an offence punishable by a prison term and fine, under the NITDA Act.

Angaye noted that the Federal Government’s accreditation of computer assembly plants had expired. This, he added, called for the development of new standards for computer manufacturing in the country. After the conclusion of the retreat and subsequent issuing of the new guidelines, the NITDA boss explained, it would be regarded as economic sabotage if ministries, departments and agencies did not patronise Nigerian IT products.

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Angaye, represented at the retreat by Director, Standards and Regulation, NITDA, Inye Kemabonta, said the IT implementing agency would in the next fortnight, launch a monitoring scheme to ensure compliance by all public institutions across Nigeria.

According to NITDA, under its enabling laws, three key actions would be offences punishable by prison terms, fines or both, if flouted in the emerging dispensation.

First, the public procurement of non made-in-Nigeria computers and IT products where certified local brands exist, is an offence. Secondly, the display and use of foreign made computers in government offices and for government business, where certified local brands are available, is also an offence punishable by law. Lastly, use of non made-in-Nigeria computers in public schools at all levels is likewise an offence.

—Henry Ojelu