Science and Technology Minister Advocates new strategy for Software licensing

The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Ita Okon Bassy Ewa has requested the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) to adopt a new strategy that will ensure effective technology transfer in the software sub-sector of the Nigerian economy. He made the request while declaring open a two-day National Workshop on Software Licensing and Development organized by NOTAP recently in Lagos.

The Minister who was ably represented by the Director General of Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Elemo, commended NOTAP for organizing the workshop, a necessary platform for robust interaction and exchange of ideas among participants, with a view to aid in formulating new policies and strategies aimed at encouraging the development of indigenous software that will power the operational activities of Nigerians.

While expressing satisfaction over the current leadership’s desire to develop the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sub-sector, Prof. Ewa expressed confidence with the calibre of participants at the workshop, resolutions that would impact positively on government policies for the growth and development of the sub-sector would be actualized. He promised to forward appropriate recommendations from the workshop to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval to fast track the development and utilization of the sector.

In his remarks, the Director General of NOTAP, Engr. Umar Buba Bindir explained that the Office organized two similar workshops in the past in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were resolutions like “the institutionalization of standard fees of Annual Technical Support (ATS) and introduction of local vendorship in software licensing and implementation to encourage the development of indigenous skills and capabilities in software were made.
He lamented that businesses in Nigeria especially in the banking, telecommunication, hospitals and even government establishments, depend on the importation of various foreign software to drive businesses. This leads to coronary increase in the costs of software acquisition and implementation without the corresponding development in indigenous knowledge and skills to support them.

In a paper presentation on “UBA’s” experience with licensors, local vendors and Support Services, the Head, Group Regulatory Affairs, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Daniel Egbe, advised NOTAP to focus more on training of local vendor’s licensors for a meaningful inroad to technology transfer. He insisted that Nigeria was a big market and licensors with interest of the country at heart, should be ready to give much more than just a percentage of the software license fee for the development of the sector.
While addressing the importance of technology in banking services delivery, Mr. Egbe said banking software applications were rapidly increasing their relevance in today’s global business environment and have practically expanded the banking horizon.

On UBA’s experience with licensors, he noted that there was a tendency to charge amounts in excess of what was charged in other countries, insisting that international best practices should be strictly adhered to.

In his paper presentation titled “Regulatory Framework and Process of Registration of Software License Agreement in Nigeria”, the Director of Technology Transfer Agreement (TTA), Dr. Ephraim Okejiri, said the justification for intervention in most economics arises from an alleged inability of the marketplace to deal with particular structural problems.

He added that regulation rests partially on economic, political and social grounds. He reiterated that regulations remained an apparently reasonable governmental response to addressing certain imperfections in the policy. He further informed the audience that it was the primary responsibility of NOTAP to register technology transfer agreements entered into by Nigerian entrepreneurs and their foreign technical partners.

Raymond Onyenezi Ogbu