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DRAFT NATIONAL ICT POLICY DOCUMENT RELEASED

The Honourable Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, on 25th August 2011, set up an Adhoc Committee to harmonize all the various policies for the different sectors in the ICT industry (Telecommunications, Broadcasting, Information Technology and Postal Services). The draft of the Harmonized ICT Policy is now released to the public for comments and views.

Click here to download the Draft National ICT Policy Document for your views and comments. Please submit your views or comments to roundtable@commtech.gov.ng or click the “No Comments” link below to submit your views.

 

5 Responses

  1. COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT NATIONAL ICT POLICY OF JAN. 2012

    1. We would like to commend the Honourable Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson for her wisdom in setting up the Committee to harmonise all various policies for the different sectors in the ICT industry.
    2. We note that the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Committee was “to harmonise all existing Policies in the Information and Communication Technology Sector into a single Information and Communication Technology Policy” and we commend the Committee for having faithfully and effectively rendered its job as contained in this TOR.
    3. However, we note that in Section 1.1 of the Chapter on Introduction, it was stated that “In addition, the ICT Policy shall be used to develop action plans, sub-sectoral policies and specific implementation guidelines as appropriate”. For the Health sector, which concerns us specifically, we do not see any expressed or implied Policy referring to the mechanism or process for the development of a sub-sectoral policy for the sector.
    Section 4.12 in the Chapter on Challenges of ICT in National Development grouped all e-Applications and asserted that “Government will therefore put in place appropriate measures to create enabling environment to enhance effective service delivery in all sectors”. The issue in e-Health goes beyond “service delivery”. The major concerns and challenges include security of personal and private data, lack of standards for exchange of information and lack of standards for applications with the emergence of applications that do not talk to each other.
    Recommendation: A section under Chapter 7 should give focus to sub-sectoral ICT policies and propose strategies for supporting other sectors to develop additional ICT policies specific to the peculiarities of each sector.
    4. Section 7.3.1 dealt with Software Development and Section 7.7 dealt with Capacity Building. We feel that both sections have not appreciated the potential role of Open Source Software in a developing and low-resource economy like Nigeria. Nigeria has myriads of small and medium scale industries and enterprises that would not be able to afford legacy software for many years to come and would be left behind in the ICT revolution being propagated by this Policy. The health sector today is largely donor dependent and low-resourced by government hence it is unable to afford the cost of license of legacy e-health applications and where such is donated by a Partner, there are problems with renewal of these licenses. Even the US government recognizes the potential role of Open Source Applications in the achievement of its ICT Policy in the health sector and is actively encouraging their use as long as they meet prescribed standards. The advantages of Open Source applications go beyond the savings in cost and include being a platform for technology transfer to students and young software developers all over the world. Also, it eliminate the risk of vendor lock-in which is a problem in developing countries. We think that the statement in paragraph (iv) of Section 7.3.1.2 is not strong enough as a policy strategy for Nigeria in view of the above.
    Recommendation: We recommend that the paragraph should read something like “Encourage and actively support the development and use of Open Source Software especially for e-applications”.
    Thank you.
    Prof. Kayode ODUSOTE,
    FSHD,
    Convener, National Health Information Technology Conference 2011.

  2. Is there a deadline for submitting comments and can a group submit a memorandum to the Committee apart from comments made here?

  3. dapo_ladeji

    Looks like a very good start. As an input to item 7.4.2, I would suggest that the next step should be policy statements like ‘all software applications used in Nigeria should be customized and supported in Nigeria and by (on a long term basis) Nigerians’, ‘ all ERP applications used in Nigeria should be hosted in Nigeria’ etc.

  4. faniyi

    I believe there should be a deliberate policy to encourage those Enterpreneurs who have staked their money to provide internet or communication service in underserved areas. By staking their money, they have shown committment. They are the ones who make the place underserved as against it being unserved. A novice, using subsidized money really has little stake and could decide to manipulate the cost of service in such a way that the other Enterpreneur will ne forced to close shop.
    My suggestion is that, if their should be subsidy at all, it should go to the Enterpreneurs, who have already put a stake in this area without subsidy instead of new people. They should be the ones to be encouraged to access the subsidy not people who never had the intention of going into that field but will now go when they see cheap money.
    I understand that Government Officials want their people to benefit from some of these largesse but then if that must be then they can allocate 50% to that and the rest to this crop of Enterpreneurs who, on their own, have started running the venture oblivious of any subsidy or government intervention. I think they should be trusted more to deliver.

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