By Samson Echenim
Nigeria is losing a whopping $60 billion (about N21.4 trillion) annually to foreign countries through the hosting of its institutions’ and businesses’ websites abroad, a competent industry source has said.
Adamu Garba, owner of TucanaNG hosting platform and CEO of IPI Solutions Limited, told business a.m in Lagos that safety of Nigeria’s data and that of businesses domiciled in the country remained in the balance, as the country is not in control of her data security.
He said with virtually all the e-commerce companies operating in Nigeria hosted abroad and with 116 million Nigerians sharing data online daily, Nigeria’s loss could only be imagined.
“We are losing so much. Based on the checks I did with Fitch Ratings recently, Nigeria is losing close to $60 billion on data that is hosted outside of the country. We import everything and export nothing when it comes to hardware, software and now, data is completely outside the country.
“I can give you an example: the e-commerce value of Nigeria was about $12 billion as at 2017. As at 2018 it was $20 billion and by 2025 it is projected to be $75 billion. Now, where are they hosted? Where is Jumia hosted? Where is Konga hosted? So, this is a problem. About 116 million Nigerians are online. Now, these 116 million are sharing data. Where are the sites sitting? So, everything goes out. We give money to data providers, so we are losing a lot,” he said.
He called on the Nigerian government to take cloud computing very seriously, as it is a lead factor to check in national security.
“It (cloud computing) is a very serious issue, a global issue. It is something that is shocking the entire world and it’s a global evolution. That is why we call it industrial evolution. It is something that is evolving and involving the entire info tech value chain. So, it’s a critical thing for every country to consider in order to realise its objective in information technology.
“We need a national strategy around cloud computing because if you check…down to computing industry and now to the cloud, it is very key among those things that actually enabled those countries that spear-headed those technologies. What is Nigeria doing to ensure that the country comes clear to actualising these new technological changes that will enable a lot of opportunities, a lot of jobs and eliminate all the developmental problems of this country?
That is why it is critical for us to consider but unfortunately, technology penetration is so low because of policy inconsistency and the territoriality of different regulatory agencies that come to synchronise to achieve a common objective. So, this about the need for collaboration so that these things can be achieved.”
Speaking on its web hosting platform and a social media app currently being developed by his company, IPI Solution, Garba said, “Nigeria is getting matured in terms of network provision, but in terms of data centre, collection is what Nigeria is missing. We have the data centre such as, MainOne and Galaxy Backbone, and we also have the service providers, such as the MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9mobile, but all of them are serving the data provider. Who is the data provider? That’s the missing gap. So our company is building applications. We built first application and launched it; we call it tucanang. It is a Nigerian platform for hosting Nigerian services and servers. Now we are building another product, one of the largest social media platform in Nigeria that has most of features of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp built in one and all those features including e-commerce. We are also building another application which will help Nigerians connect to service providers such as mason, plumbers, electricians etc in their neighbourhood the same way you can call Uber service provider to your house. Our target is to collect the data and domicile it in Nigeria instead of us to ship them out.”