Nigerian group forges ahead on IT project

A group of Nigerian business and academic leaders has started a project aimed at bringing large-scale hardware and software manufacturing to the nation.

Called United Information Technologies Ltd. (UITL), the group consists of representatives from Joint Komputer Kompany (JKK); Task System Ltd.; Micro Product International Ltd.; Feyita Co. Ltd.; Data Sciences Nigeria Ltd.; Falcon Computer Ltd.; Management Information Services Ltd. (MIS); Data Metrics Nigeria Ltd.; Chams Nigeria Ltd.; Digital Age, and Mega Hertz Ltd.

Implementation of the initiative will occur in two phases, according to Gaspa Teboh, of Maldai Associates in Nigeria. The first is focused on assembling in-house manufacturing systems, while the second will emphasize developing a local software engineering institute to serve Nigeria and then the expanding regional IT market in West Africa.

Though the hardware production is geared at serving the regional market to stave off high costs of imported components, it also will be beneficial to Nigeria as it coincides with the growing telecommunications market there.

UITL does face criticism, however. Some say that the project might be too ambitious, particularly because Nigeria lacks a reservoir of skilled IT and telecommunications workers. Furthermore, the nation’s telecommunications and electrical power systems are not reliable. Possible roadblocks also include environmental and financial issues, as well as historically low wages paid to employees in Nigeria.

But the UITL board of directors, according to local sources, is currently trying to forge partnerships with consulting firms that have a global presence, including KPMG Consulting LLP, Arthur Andersen LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.