Software practitioners carpet Senate on termination of TSA contract
NIGERIAN Information, IT, practitioners have carpeted the Senate over its recommendation for the termination of Treasury Single Account, TSA contract, saying it will kill local efforts and capacity. According to them, the termination of the contract will derail the TSA operation, undermine the anti-corruption stance of the current administration, discourage local IT innovation and kill local content initiative of the Federal Government.
President of the Information Technology Systems and Security Professionals, ITSSP, Mr. Rogba Adeoye said that calling for the termination of the contract at this period is not right, as it will derail several government operations. ITSSP is a security group of the Nigeria Computer Society, NCS. According to Adeoye, the local software, Remita which powers the TSA operation should be encouraged and promoted to other countries to earn Nigeria foreign exchange.
He said that “the review as related to the chargeable cost should not be in retrospect as this discourages local IT innovation and empowerment since the contract offers future renegotiations. He equally berated the senate on review of the cost of the software and charges, saying that “the professional charges derived through CPN Acts of 1993 as gazetted was never considered in arriving at the Committee’s costing and review of charges of Remita per transaction.”
“This is our stand as regards indigenous software product; that the contract should not be terminated but be allowed to stay as one of IT Products to enhance good Governance, service delivery and transparency” he added.
Also, ISPON President, Pius Okigbo, Jr, said that termination of TSA contract will not in any way promote or encourage local capacity, adding that “Systemspecs did not do anything wrong. I do not see the reason why the government will terminate the contract. Software industry represents a sector of immense opportunity, massive employment potential, an industry endowed with creativity and technological innovation, wealth creation, talent development and much more.”
Recall that the Senate at the weekend had asked the apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately terminate the 2013 contract with Systemspecs on Treasury Single Account (TSA). It also directed that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) transaction fee of one percent for e- collection/transfer be disregarded. The development has irked many local software makers who reacted at the weekend during the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, ISPON, President Dinner 2016. Besides the senate recommendation, the group also looked at other national issues including local content, indigenous software among others. They were unanimous in their conclusion that to overcome the negative impact of declining Nigerian crude oil prices at the international market, Indigenous software could provide a better alternative.
Former president of ISPON, Mr Chris Uwaje, said that Oil and Gas sector has failed to deliver the required value to develop the nation in the last 50 years, and so challenged the government to resort to indigenous knowledge and software and see if the economy would not stand strong as the mainstay of African continent.
“If we must recover lost grounds of our national development and surmount the challenges of the emerging information society, then indigenous Software is the reliable answer and ultimate solution”, Uwaje noted. Earlier in his remarks, the Acting Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji admitted that the country cannot continue to rely on oil for foreign earning. Olatunji believed that indigenous software development is the good choice for Nigeria, but noted that there was need for partnerships between the government and the private sector. VANGUARD