What has Programos been doing in the Nigerian IT ecosystem in the last three years?
Programos Software specializes in software development services for the African capital markets. We have groomed the markets for about two decades now. Though the Nigerian capital market has undergone a lot of recession challenges, Programos has been advancing technological innovation by introducing new software products into the markets. These products include the 100% CloudIntegra investment software integrated with the newly NSE-certified IntegraFixPro5.0 for stockbrokers trading via OMS (Orders Management System) over the X-GEN FIX (Financial Information eXchange) trading platform of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE. Programos Software Limited has been ensuring that technology assists the entire investment ecosystem to grow into a global and competitive one and guarantee investor comeback to the market. These have been our engagements within the last three years.
What do you think of the adoption of cloud solutions in Nigeria?
Cloud solutions in Nigeria have been long overdue. It will work very well in the sense that the need for going cloud is a global requirement for any modern business. The attributes that could have made it fail do not particularly associate with the Nigerian business environment. Nigerians should take advantage of the situation and use it to grow their business organizations.
We import software and deploy locally, what is the problem?
I must be very frank with you, when you say you are a software developer, the business acumen of the practice of software engineering can be local to the environment. In Programos, we actually have not been reselling the software of foreign companies instead we trade our own developed software – CloudIntegra, Integra2000+ Software, IntegraFixPro5.0. It may interest you to note that the software use in the Nigerian Capital Market has been indigenous and no foreign influx.
Can a software be called Nigerian or international software?
You may be right to say this is a local software, reason being that all our products are international. Java, Microsoft Visual Studio .NET are all international development tools, but in terms of innovative production, it can be attributed to the indigenous capacities. That is why a country can measure its production, export and import. Because if a software was not identified to be an Indian software in the first place, how would you have known that it is a foreign software? Even Facebook and the Twitter have an indigenous originator, so you must give it to the country of innovation.
What are you expecting from young Nigerians that are developing mobile applications?
I expect young Nigerians to concentrate on developing e-content on society changing mobile apps in the areas of m-Government and Open Data, m-Health, m-Inclusion and Participation, m-Tourism, m-Media, m-Business, m-Entertainment and m-Learning. So, with the production and supply of more mobile phone e-contents among the Nigerian population, we are trying to see how these mobile phones can be put to more functional use than for ‘hello! hello!’ commonplace now.
How is ISPON and others putting pressure on government to patronise local products?
This should be my personal opinion. First, I don’t have a listening government that cares yet! We have a very degenerate government from inception and nothing has changed from this. ICT stakeholders in this country have done the best they could have done, but the benefits due the citizens have been compromised at different levels by these government lords. But I think the local companies need to be very good at what they do, and objectively present their products. A government that is growth directed should know that institutions like ISPON, ITAN, NCS show have a budget line for national and economic development and there is no politics about that, simple!.
The case for local software
Nigeria’s local software industry is often touted as having at about the best potential any industry can have. The snag is the industry has remained just that: a latent potential. Amos Emmanuel, CEO, Programos Software Group, should know. He operates an industry bereft of sufficient government support and left to pander miserably to the whims of a market lustfully greedy for foreign products. As a result, Africa’s largest economy is one of the biggest importers of foreign software products and has practically become a dumping ground for software products from India, Brazil, Middle East, and Europe. The industry is practically in chaos and open for business but only for foreign solutions. The consequence? Nigerian financial sector virtually run on foreign software and applications. Contrast this with South Africa. You have a ratio of almost 100 percent dependence on offshore solutions for Nigeria to South Africa’s less than 30 percent dependence. Is Amos right? He said: “ICT stakeholders in this country have done the best they could have done, but the benefits due the citizens have been compromised at different levels by these government lords.” Software developers in Nigeria are enjoying less patronage than they might expect due to the lack of sustained support from government, which has largely neglected local developers. With the new helmsman at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), it appears change is in the offing. There are plans to accelerate support for the national/local software development policy. This should bring benefits to the industry and radically altered the fate of an industry that has rested too long in a latent state. NITDA plans to unload series of software support, software testing and software patronage initiatives in the months ahead. These initiatives are long due and once implemented could change the cynicism of practitioners such as Emmanuel Amos. They deserve the fillip.