Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has signed an executive order on 5 February 2018 that is likely to have a big impact on the West Afrikan country's technology industry. The executive order seeks to improve local content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.

Essentially this means that all of Nigeria's public institutions are ordered to consider Nigerian technology solution and skills before considering any solutions or hiring anyone who is not Nigerian.

According to the Executive Order, all of Nigeria's "procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007." Another portion of the Executive Order that has received mixed comments from those in Nigeria's technology ecosystem states that the Ministry of Interior is prohibited from giving visas to foreign workers whose Information & Communications Technology (ICT) skills are already available in Nigeria.

"Consideration shall only be given to a foreign professional, where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria."

Some of Buhari's critics have said that the Executive Order is one of the ploys by the current Nigerian president to appease Nigerian voters ahead of the 2019 presidential elections.

As Bloomfield Law notes, the President in signing the Executive Order also directed Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to engage Nigerian professionals in the planning, design, and execution of national security projects. However, where the skills or technology are not available in Nigeria, "procuring entities will give preference to foreign companies and firms with a demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous development prior to the award of such contracts.”

Despite some criticism, the Executive Order is likely to also improve and promote the procurement of technology solutions developed in Nigeria thus boosting the ICT sector in the West Afrikan country in the process.

Cover image credit: Buhari. | Wikimedia Commons

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