- ‘Nigeria Can Generate Huge Revenue from Software Export’
Administrator of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Nigeria’s foremost Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capacity building institute, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde has raised hopes that Nigeria can generate huge revenue from indigenous software exportation, through the right synergy and commitment.
According to him, Nigeria could turn the ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’ syndrome into positive energy that will leapfrog the nation in the area of software development just like India.
This, he said, could be achieved when there is a conscious national will to invest in the training of Nigerian youths and creating the right environment where they can unleash their creative and innovative abilities.
Beyond the training, there must also be a consciousness to patronise their products which are basically software and apps rather than sourcing for these products abroad.
“If you look at the demographics of our young people you will find out that they ate very savvy, entrepreneurial and talented but I think there are a number of environmental factors that also limit opportunities which is why some of them, in a bid to survive, deploy these talents negatively.
“India was able to identify the need to mainstream the talents and skills of their young people positively by consciously building a structure and framework to enable them acquire these skills and it became an export product for India and the rest of the world and that is what Nigeria has not done”, he said.
The DBI boss said Nigeria should be able to export software and allied products as an alternative foreign exchange earner in much the same way India has done over the years.
“If we are able to harness the potentials of these young people, especially in the area of ICT it will amaze you how much they will unleash. Many of the Africa economies are waiting for Nigeria; a lot of our young people can go into sub-Saharan countries in West, East and North Africa by exporting their skills to do things but that hasn’t happened because there has not been a conscious effort to actually develop these things and tap into them.
“We had made a case sometime in 2016 at the capacity building symposium organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that the investments in Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) across Africa instead of being channelled wholly and exclusively to ICT infrastructure should be dedicated to ICT skills development. He said if someone is investing $10 million in ICT infrastructure, 10 per cent of the money should go for ICT skills development especially targeted at the youths now commonly called the millennials.
“They are the ones who will use the infrastructure to innovate, create and develop the things that will make the future happen, but as long as we don’t make that investment then it means that you’ll put a piece of ICT equipment in an office and nobody is using it because the skills are not there”, he said.
According to him, there is a critical need to invest in building ICT capacity for the young people and that’s why “DBI continues to innovate programmes that target the young people so that we fulfil our mandate in that area”.
He explained that their training focuses on both young persons and those who are advanced in age but wish to upscale their ICT skills. “We have young people who have just finished from secondary school and are looking to pursue a career in ICT. They join our National Innovation Diploma programme, which is a two-year programme (Telecommunications Technology, Multimedia Technology, Networking and Systems Security and Computer Hardware and Software Engineering), after which they can move on or if they want to continue at a higher level they can pursue a degree in higher institutions,” Adinde said.
COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020
Nigeria’s oil revenue declined by 41.44 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to $2.033 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
This represents a decline of 41.44 percent from $3.47 billion filed in the same period of 2019 when there was no COVID-19.
In the September 2020 edition of NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), revenue from oil and gas rose by 16 percent to $120.49 million in the month of September, a 66 percent or $234.81 million drop from $355.3 million posted in the same month of 2019.
The global lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Nigeria’s crude oil sales and global demand for the commodity. This was further compounded by Nigeria’s high cost of production compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia and others that were offering discounts to boost sales during one of the most challenging periods in human history.
Experts like Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, were not surprised with the drop in earnings given the effect of COVID-19 on the world’s economy.
She, however, called for the revamp of the nation’s petroleum sector laws and diversification of the economy away from oil revenue dependence. She said “Covid-19 made 2020 a very hot year and it battered the oil industry internationally and we are not an exception; so we could not have been unaffected”.
She also said the effect of the fall “is definitely a wake-up call; we have to diversify, strengthen our other resources and capabilities”.
Omorogbe, a former NNPC Board Secretary, urged the government and the operators in the sector to look inward and think strategically, stating: “think medium term, think of where they want to be and the government, above all, must think of how best we can utilize our resources, so that we can achieve our objectives once we know and define them.
“It is a clear wake-up call, if not we will just sit here and find that we have become one of the poorest nations in the world”, she noted.
Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday
Brent crude oil, Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark, gained 47 cents to $55.88 per barrel on Monday, while the US crude oil expanded by 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel.
Gold for February delivery fell $1 to $1,855.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 7 cents to $25.48 an ounce and March copper was little changed at $3.63 a pound.
The dollar fell to 103.80 Japanese yen from 103.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.2139 from $1.2167.
Wholesale gasoline for February delivery rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. February heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon. February natural gas rose 16 cents to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
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