Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nigeria keen on protecting intellectual property rights – Minister

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The Federal Government will soon formulate a regulatory framework for the protection of intellectual property rights in the country, and the patronage of indigenous Information and Communication Technology products, the Minister of Communications Technology, Omobola Johnson, has said.

The Minister said this on Monday at a dinner jointly organised by the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and the National Association of Computer and Software Companies of India (NASSCOM).

Represented by her Special Assistant on Information Technology, Ola Ogunleye, the minister said that the proposed regulatory framework would support the privileges of local entrepreneurs on technology biased policies like tax breaks, tariffs, levies and concessions.

”We are developing appropriate guidelines and standards for IT products and services, as well as campaign for the patronage of ‘Made in Nigeria’ products,” Ms. Johnson said.

She said that the ministry was creating the enabling infrastructure to boost Information and Communications Technology, ICT.

Ms. Johnson said her ministry is working on fibre optic cables, satellite base stations, network operating centres and the communication devices required to properly and securely carry voice and data traffic.

She said that the Ministry would ensure an enabling environment for ICT innovation to blossom, while creating and supporting opportunities for local skills development.

The communication technology minister said the Federal Government’s local content agenda is premised on a national imperative to ensure that Nigerian companies and Nigerians participated more meaningfully in the ICT sector.

The five major areas in the local content agenda include software and services, device production, cards manufacture, ICT infrastructure input and skill development.

”By local content, we mean placing priority on the development of our entrepreneurs by leveling the playing field or making it more advantageous for Nigerians to do business with Nigerians.

”IT entrepreneur investment in local content development will bring earnings of income into the national economy and more importantly, help to alleviate poverty.

”This investment can make Nigeria become producers and creators in high value areas of the knowledge economy,” she said.

ITAN CEO-NASSCOM Business Forum and Dinner is an annual event where Nigerian and Indian ICT sectors converge for partnership.

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