Nigeria is looking to the Indian example to justify its need for a forward looking official thrust at encouraging explosive growth in the local sms gateway industry where more than a hundred companies jostle for existence and opportunities to grow beyond ‘veranda companies.’ Some of the biggest earners in the budding industry include Computer Warehouse Group (ExpertEdge Limited), SystemSpecs, Programos Software Group, CSA, Precise Financial Systems (PFS) Limited, Signal Alliance Group and Infosoft among several others in the top earning league in excess of $80million (about N120 million).
But that is as far as the local companies could go in an industry heavily dominated by foreign software companies particularly of Indian origin who mop up the billion dollars in terms of monetary gains and brand acceptance. Market has remained a perilous ground for the local companies in the absence of clear-cut government support and a mix of factors that tend to erode sustainability and brand acceptability including unwillingness of corporate Nigeria to pay huge sum for locally made bespoke software.
India offers a classic example of how a country could rework its economic fortune in the new world order. The authors of Nigeria’s new national software policy are clearly looking at the strong points. Last year, India made some $20 billion (about three trillion naira and in excess of Nigeria’s entire national budget) from software export to consolidate on its position as one of the biggest earners in global software and applications market.
In the last half a decade, the $20billion figure has become an annual gain-point that Indian software companies and the Indian government have sought to consolidate and expand on as part of India’s economic growth indices.From 2007, the Indian software with auxiliary industry alone employed more than two million people and contributed about 4.8 per cent of India GDP. In the last 10 years, India software export impact on nearly 95 countries to prove reach and acceptability.
In contrast, and according to the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Nigeria loses about $1billion (about N150billion) annually to software importation majorly to India, where Indian software applications virtually run the banking sector. With market potential of $6billion (about N900billion), many experts think the Nigerian software industry lies in limbo because government has failed to see economic potential beyond the oil industry.