FG to Start Implementing Universal Licence on Microsoft Products | #microsoft | #hacking | #cybersecurity

•Says company’s $200m ADC initiative will boost local talents in Nigeria

Emma Okonji

The federal government yesterday disclosed that it would soon begin the implementation of universal licence on all Microsoft products, an initiative that would allow the federal government to purchase in bulk, all Microsoft product licenses and sell same to federal public institutions that are in need of such product licence.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, made the disclosure yesterday, during the launch of Microsoft’s $200 million Africa Development Centre (ADC) West Africa initiative and the launch of Microsoft new facility in Lagos.

Pantami who commended Microsoft International for the ADC West Africa initiative, said the centre, which is located in Lagos, would further develop local talents in Nigeria.

According to Pantami, the process of universal licence for Microsoft products, when completed, would be presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration and approval.

“With the universal licence, the federal government is able to negotiate with Microsoft and then purchase in bulk, all Microsoft product licences that are necessary for the use of all federal public institutions in the country, such that any federal public institutions that want the licence, will subscribe through the federal government instead of purchasing directly from Microsoft.

“The federal government is in the process of formalising the business with Microsoft Nigeria, to enable it have universal license on all Microsoft product licences.

“The process has reached advanced stage and I have directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to complete the process for onward presentation to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration and approval,” he added.

Explaining the need for the universal licence, Pantami said some government institutions may have the capacity to purchase Microsoft product licences, while some may not, and this often leads to low patronage for Microsoft.

According to Pantami, “The essence is to increase the scope of patronage and make purchases open to all federal public institutions. It will also reduce cost of the licence, and also reduce the rate of piracy.

“The issue of renewal of licence for institutions will be eliminated because federal government will be responsible for renewal, since federal government will be doing bulk purchase of the licence. It will also provide opportunities for institutions to have access to Microsoft solutions.”

Excited about the Microsoft ADC West Africa Initiative, Pantami said since it is located in Lagos, it would promote local talent development among Nigerian youths.

“Emerging technologies are driving the fourth industrial revolution, and the emerging technologies include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Robotics, 5G, Internet of Things (AI),

Cybersecurity, Autonomous Vehicle among others, but government is focusing on AI, Robotics, 5G and any other emerging technology that drives technology development much faster.

“The ADC West Africa initiative is in line with the federal government policy on National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), and government is happy with the Microsoft ADC West Africa initiative,” Pantami said.

Corporate Vice President for Identity at Microsoft, Joy Chik, said Microsoft would continue to partner with the federal government of Nigeria and technology startups to develop local talents on technology skills.

She said the launch of Microsoft ADC West Africa initiative, and the launch of its new office facility in Lagos, were part of Microsoft’s commitment to further develop digital skills in Nigeria and West Africa.

The Managing Director, ADC Wast Africa, Garfa Lawal, said the centre would employ skilled persons that would be involved in developing Microsoft products for the West African market.

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