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IT experts fault banks on usage of Foreign Solutions

Ladesope Ladelokun

Information Communication experts have faulted Nigerian banks on the usage of Foreign Solutions.

This call was made in Lagos at a Stakeholders Round table on the Use of Nigerian Software in the Financial Sector themed, Adoption and Development of Local Content Technology as Growth Drivers for the Nigerian Economy.

The round table was jointly organised by the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) and the Computer Warehouse Group (CWG).

According to former President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr Chris Uwaje said development cannot be truly actualised in Nigeria ICT sector if the financial sectors continue to patronise foreign software solutions.

Similarly, the minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has harped on the need to implement the Presidential Executive Order 5 (EO5).

He said that there is a need to implement the EO5, so as to improve local content in software applications in the country.

Onu said that the federal government was emphasising on local participation in the execution of government contracts, thereby improving local content in national socio-economic development.

Also speaking, the Director at NOTAP, Dr Ephraim Okejiri also noted that Nigeria banking platforms cannot continue to rely on foreign software to drive its processes, because there are security and economic implications for such reliance.

Addressing the problem of low patronage, they propose that the federal government should come up with a policy that allows banks to provide some percentage of their earnings for the development of software in Nigeria.

While they called for a law to mandate banks to use local software, they, however, suggested that such policy should be given a timeline for implementation during which all parties would have sorted out all the issues relating to such law.

According to Emadoye, software is software and there was no special skill needed to provide core banking functions software, as Nigerian practitioners already processed such skills.

While shifting some grounds on the position taken by the Nigerian software producers, Soladoye said while there would be need in the future for banks to embrace Nigerian software to run its core banking functions, any attempt to put a timeline for such adoption would be counterproductive,

as the banks have shareholders to report to in their value-chain decisions.

One common agreement reached by stakeholders was the need for the stipulation of a common standard for software, the need for more funding of the Nigerian software ecosystem and greater collaboration by the practitioners, the users and the government.

On his part, the Assistant General Manager, Access Bank, Mr Toye Soladoye noted that said that local software made in Nigeria would not, for now, be able to meet the needs of banks core processing systems.

Soladoye had also said that, while Nigerian software may be able to meet the front end, middle end, data layer and multi-channel layers of financial services software needs, the core system, is an area where the banks are not yet confident to use local software because it is the ‘ heart of the banking system’.

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