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NITDA Identifies Stiff Competition with Foreign Software as Bane of Indigenous Software

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has identified stiff competition from foreign developers as the bane of software development in Nigeria.

The agency, which is responsible for the regulation and development of the information technology in Nigeria, said “off-the-shelf software” from foreign developers deny local producers the opportunity to grow.

NITDA’s director general, Isa Ibrahim, who stated this in Abuja on Tuesday said his agency is working to change the situation by evolving software testing and information system security best practices.

Speaking while opening a stakeholders’ engagement for the review of the Guidelines for Information Systems Audit and Nigeria Software Testing Guidelines, he said the local industry is not reaping the growth in IT investment.

The director general was represented at the event by Vincent Olatunji, NITDA’s director of e-Governance and Regulatory.

“The acquisition of technology-driven solutions to drive growth in the public and private sectors has continued to increase in Nigeria.

“The indigenous software market has not been left out of this growth trend, but continues to suffer stiff competition from foreign off-the-shelf software used to meet local needs, where indigenous software could have provided the appropriate solutions,” he said.

Quoting unnamed industry analysts, the NITDA DG said the trend has affected the growth of the local software sector, “which by now should be in excess of probably $10 billion annually if well harnessed”.

He attributed the low patronage of local developers to quality assurance challenges.

Mr Ibrahim said the two new regulatory documents will help in addressing some of the challenges.

“The Nigerian Software Testing Guidelines (NSTG) is developed on the premise that mitigating software vulnerability risks through the promotion of structured software testing practice for safety and quality of software development will create the enabling environment for growth of the indigenous testing sector in Nigeria,” he said.

“The Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), has estimated that Nigeria loses about N127 billion to cybercrimes yearly. This is caused in part by our inability to adequately secure our Information Systems. Therefore, securing our information systems is a must if we want to guarantee the safe delivery of our services.

The proposed Guidelines for Information Systems Audit by the Agency is one of the tools to guarantee this safety.”

He said since coming to office, NITDA, under his leadership, has come up with a number of subsidiary legislations and regulations to enhance the productivity of the industry.

“For instance, in 2019 alone, I had launched and signed off five regulatory instruments and we have presented five additional documents to stakeholders for inputs and contributions.

“All these instruments were issued to address various challenges facing us as a nation,” he said.

In his review of the guidelines, Churchill Aribodor, an IT consultant, said the regulations developed by the agency are needed to tackle “the dark side of ICT”.

He said the new regulations will ensure tightened security, provide confidentiality and protect data systems from havoc.

Mr Aribodor said the news internet security guidelines will provide an improvement on the level of information security, avoidance of improper information security, ensure effective of control and safeguard access, and maintain key data and system attributes.

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Facebook Agrees to Pay $5Bn in Vast Privacy Settlement

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Federal Trade Commission is expected to announce on Wednesday that Facebook has agreed to a sweeping settlement of allegations it mishandled user privacy and pay roughly $5bn, two people briefed on the matter said.

 

As part of the settlement, Facebook will agree to create a board committee on privacy and will agree to new executive certifications on user privacy, the people said.

 

‘The Washington Post’ reported on Tuesday that the FTC will alleged Facebook misled users about its handling of their phone numbers and its use of two-factor authentication as part of a wide-ranging complaint that accompanies a settlement ending the government’s privacy probe, citing two people familiar with the matter.

 

Two people briefed on the matter confirmed the Post report that the FTC will not require Facebook to admit guilt as part of the settlement. The settlement will need to be approved by a federal judge.

 

The FTC confirmed in March 2018 it had opened an investigation into allegations Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The inquiry has focused on whether the data-sharing violated a 2011 consent agreement between Facebook and the regulator and then widened to include other privacy allegations, reports The Guardian.

 

A person briefed on the matter said neither the phone number nor two-factor authentication issues were part of the initial Cambridge Analytica investigation.

 

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How, Why Mobile Wallets Can Deepen Financial Inclusion

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Access to financial services opens doors for families, allowing them to smooth out consumption and invest in their futures through education and health.

 

Access to credit enables businesses to expand, creating jobs and reducing inequality.

 

Unfortunately, in Nigeria, financial Inclusion is a serious challenge as Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), a financial sector development organization that promotes financial inclusion in Nigeria recently said that 60.1 million Nigerians are currently financially excluded.

 

That is why the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recently authorized commercial banks to commence full operation of mobile money wallets.

 

The move is expected to deepen financial inclusion in Nigeria and maintain the CBN’s commitment to actualise 80% of the target by 2020.

 

Sam Okojere and Ahmad Abdullahi, directors of Payments System Management Department and Banking Supervision Department respectively of the CBN, said, that the aim of the initiative is basically to complement growth in agent banking services under the Super Agent and the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) initiative.

 

They also, said that the initiative is also being implemented in recognition of the increasing demand for no-frills mobile money services.

 

Mobile payment (also referred to as mobile money, mobile money transfer, and mobile wallet) generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device, that is mobile phone.

 

Mobile payment works in just three simple steps; To send or receive money to a friend: (1) Register with a money transfer service by setting up an account and making a deposit.

 

(2) Use the provided short text commands to text cash to your friend’s phone number or account id; and to (3) Receive funds by requesting and accepting payments via text message.

 

Though there are inherent dangers of mobile banking, including the risk of getting fake SMS messages and scams, the benefits are far greater.

 

For instance, there is the ability to access funds anywhere, anytime saves time, improves security and provides a means for saving and managing money more effectively than traditional methods.

 

But it also creates an effect that drives broader economic growth.

 

 

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Experts Urge Implementation of National Cyber Security Policy & Strategy

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Worried by absence of coordinated approach in the fight against cybercrimes, information and communications technology experts hare seeking the revival of National Cyber security Policy and Strategy document.

 

Speaking at Telecom Executives and Regulators Forum, organised by Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mohammed Rudman, president, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), said the National Cyber security Policy and Strategy is supposed to be the highest document for Nigeria when it comes to cyber security.” It was supposed to be constantly reviewed so that certain frameworks of cyber security will always be added and implemented as security should be constantly reviewed for effectiveness.

 

“It was implemented in February 2015 during federal executive council meeting when they wanted to change the timing of election of 2015, at that time President Jonathan approved that document. Since that time, I have not heard anything from the Office of National Security Adviser regarding that document. That document is the most critical document among all the cyber security documents coming out from NCC and NITDA; they are supposed to be all coordinated to have a national strategy to know where we are going.

 

“The Office of National Security Adviser needs to do more because Computer Emergence Response Team (CERT) is actually an output of that regulation. CERT that is supposed to handle and monitor activities of Nigerians, detect and respond to issues of cyber security derives its power from that document and nothing is been done much,” he noted.

 

Engr. Ike Nnamani, president, Demadiur Systems, publishers of Nigeria Cyber Security report, corroborating Rudman said that National Cyber security Policy and Strategy is a guideline for different organisations to secure their infrastructure against cyber attacks and how they can collaborate as well as report incidences of cybercrimes.

 

“As at today, I don’t know anything about this document after it was approved. What has happened with the absence of its implementation is that organisations and institutions’ cyber security efforts as well as policies are in silos without coordination and collaboration,” he added.

 

On sovereignty of data, Rudman said: “we need to be ambitious in terms of localising our data. The target of NITDA to achieve 30 per cent local cloud adoption in five years is small. I have been an advocate of localising data and traffic in Nigeria for the last 12 years.

 

“I have been pushing that as a country with huge population we can position Nigeria as a hub for internet content in Africa, right now South Africa for example has 70 per cent of their websites registered and hosted in South Africa, while 80 per cent of their internet traffic are localised within South Africa and IP resources they are consuming is 26 per cent.

 

“IP resources Nigeria is consuming is only 3 per cent while we are number seven in the world in the use of internet and people doing this are aware; the telecoms doing Network Address Translation, using private IP addresses.

 

“We need to find ways to be honest to ourselves, find ways within the industry to collaborate while pushing the cloud. If we don’t have a localised cloud services, how can you regulate what you don’t have on ground?

 

“The data centres we are using is somewhere in the world which you don’t know where it is, in fact some of the data centres are hidden, they are in black market. How do you regulate that?

 

“We have the infrastructure on ground with international certified data centres with tier IV, what we need is determination to ensure compliance to directive for our data to be hosted in the country.

 

The biggest government agencies in Nigeria are not hosting their data in the country. You can’t be talking about data sovereignty when almost all your data is outside of the country,” he said.

 

 

 

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