Leo Stan Ekeh, chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited, has said that the global economic melt down might turn out a golden opportunity for national growth if Nigeria gets her priorities right.
Ekeh stated this while speaking to journalists on the impact of the economic crisis on the ICT sector of the Nigerian economy. He noted that Zinox was expanding and employing more Nigerians in spite of the recession because the company has a clear roadmap and the needed human capital. He said that Zinox has invested heavily in infrastructure in the past two years resulting in new corporate headquarters, the most digitalized computer assembly plant in Nigeria, as well as the establishment of subsidiaries to provide software and broadband solutions to the economy.
He however, pointed out that the entire IT sector might falter because of poor foundations and the declining access to disposable funds. Mr. Ekeh added that the IT sector has made remarkable gains in IT penetration in the past seven years beginning with the launch of Zinox Computers and the launch of the GSM.
He recalled the huge responsibility on the shoulders of the IT sector as the main pivot of national development and averred that the best way forward would be a conscious and systematic intervention by the governments of the federation.
Leo Stan Ekeh commended the Federal Government for the huge interventions in the textile and agriculture sectors but said that the IT sector was in dire need, requiring immediate attention because ICT is the greatest capacity building platform ever. Making reference to Hong Kong, India, Japan, China, and the USA, the Zinox boss observed that only nations who deliberately grow a knowledge economy can guarantee a productive citizenry. He urged the Federal Government to pump money into the ICT sector to “re-train Nigerians, re-brand Nigerians, and give them global opportunities”
Ekeh further said that Nigeria would be a different and better place if the Government were to inject N150b to provide subsidized computers and free internet access for all Nigerians. “Within weeks it would change the mindset of the people. It would stop kidnapping, armed robbery, child trafficking and many other vices. Such a move would create immense goodwill for Government and engender skills that would attract not just foreign capital but that would make Nigeria a great outsourcing centre like India. These things are possible because the incubation period for Information Technology is very short unlike other sectors of the economy, maybe three months. The people are retooled and empowered to get jobs anywhere in the world.
“The Governments of this nation should invest directly on the people by giving them free access to the internet, to knowledge and the free world” he said. According to him 85% of Nigerians are in darkness not because of electricity but because they are analogue.
Leo Stan Ekeh urged the Government to take a cue from what other nations are doing to ensure the growth of the IT industry. He said that it was important that the Government creates patronage for the products of credible local IT companies like Zinox in order to ensure that Nigeria’s technological platform is indigenous, secure and patriotic.
Ekeh Harps on Opportunities in the Global Economic Meltdown