• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Stakeholders urge FG to bridge Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure gap

Stakeholders urge FG to bridge Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure gap

Stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sub-sector of the economy have called on the Federal Government (FG) to pay more attention to providing adequate ICT infrastructure, as this will reflect on the socio-economic and technological development of Nigeria’s digital economy.

Accordingly, the stakeholders pointed out that the shortfall in infrastructure has created a drive for tech companies, especially business-to-business (B2B) companies like Alerzo, Konga and Jumia to create their own infrastructure from the ground up in order to provide efficient services.

The federal government has said that Nigeria’s digital economy will contribute 15 percent of the country‘s total gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025. However, concerned over issues that may obstruct the projected growth, stakeholders in the sector pointed out that the government needs to bridge the infrastructure deficit in the sector in order to harness the global digital economy estimated at $11.5 trillion (which translates to about 16 percent of the global economy).

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Michael Olawale-Cole, the president of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), while speaking during the eighth edition of Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication (ICTEL) Expo, stated that the multiplier effects of an effective and efficient digital infrastructure on national development cannot be less emphasised.

For example, Alerzo has created an end-to-end cocoon within its business-to-business e-commerce platform, where it delivers fast moving goods (FCMG) to retailers in different cities across Nigeria. Owning over 400 vehicles to ensure goods are delivered to the retailers even in hard to reach locations, free of charge.

“To provide a solution to the problem of logistics, we ended up doing something unthinkable by buying a fleet of vehicles and owning our warehouses. We own over 400 vehicles which we use in delivering fast moving goods (FCMG) to customers. We do deliveries within four hours of order because we own our entire vehicles,” Adewale Opaleye, group CEO of Alerzo stated.

According to Opaleye, the creation of proprietary infrastructure by tech firms often compliments the government’s efforts. As such, the provision of digital products such as Alerzoshop, Alerzopay, Veedez and others built partly by local talents help in promoting the growth and profitability of informal retailers and micro businesses.

“We geo mapped areas of coverage and helped develop software to provide banking solutions to customers. Our Veedez app, for example, was designed to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with easy-to-use bookkeeping and inventory tracking systems,” Opaleye stated.

He stated further that informal traders are empowered through its Alerzopay PoS terminals with extra stream of income in addition to the ease and profits they get as subscribers on the e-commerce platform.