The Federal Government, working in concert with other Governments in Nigeria, would have to deploy 25 million PCs nationwide to facilitate the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and set the pace for the achievement of vision 20 2020. This opinion was expressed by Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman Zinox Technologies Limited, while speaking at the seminar marking 10 Years of the ICT Revolution in Nigeria organized by the ICT Publishers Alliance in Lagos.
Pix shows Dr.Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Technologies receiving the plaque of ICT Icon of All Time from Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, @10 Years of ICT Revolution in Nigeria, Former Minister of Communications, Engr. Olawale Ige watches and applauds
Presenting a keynote address titled The Road to 20 2020, the Zinox Boss said that the Nigerian State needs to deploy a minimum of 25,000,000 PCs, in the next 3 years, 3,750,000 for each of the 6 geo-political zones and 2,500,000 in Abuja, or forget the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. These PCs, he said, would be targeted at youths who leave secondary school with 6 ‘Alphas’, all graduating students from the Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, and Universities. Leo Stan Ekeh said that this robust deployment will power domesticated technology and place in the hands of Nigerian youths the equipment to launch an era of ‘unlimited possibilities’. These young men and women would form the nucleus of a new generation of job providers while kick starting a new knowledge economy. He said that those who go into paid employment would be IT savvy enough to introduce a new era of efficient service delivery in public and private sectors. Mr. Ekeh asserted that this generation closely interconnected by satellite television, social media and the internet would give rise to a new ICT based work culture, increasing productivity and self sufficiency; reducing corruption and the kinship that leads to ethnicity; and enabling a self interpretation of faith that would undermine religious extremism.
Going down to specifics in the address, Leo Stan Ekeh said that the machines are to be funded by the Governments in the Federation under an arrangement that requires all corporate persons to pay 1% ICT tax for a period of 5years. On the alternative, he said, savings from the sovereign wealth fund could be ploughed into the provision of these PCs in the next 3 years. Listing the benefits of the deployment of 25,000,000 systems to the ICT industry the Zinox boss said that the most important concern is that these 25,000,000 systems are manufactured and delivered by the indigenous OEMs. This would address the problem of capacity building as Nigerians acquire more technical competencies. Prices would be forced down appreciably enabling the local OEM’s to compete with their foreign counterparts. Necessary industry infrastructure would be installed and more reliable market expansions in the sub region can be expected.
Furthermore, Leo Stan Ekeh said, that Nigerian Banks are not lending money to local OEMs and vendors because of unpredictable patronage. He urged the Governments to “boost the local industry with 25,000,000 PCs and you can be sure that the banks would line up with all kinds of finance packages”. Besides, he added, the deployment of large numbers of PCs would immediately boost participation in the development of software applications, the internet and social media and we can start talking of the ICT revolution in real terms – hastening the attainment of the MDGs by 2015 and placing this nation firmly on the road to 20 2020.