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A

REPORT WRITING

ON THE

EFFECT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES ON SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

APRIL, 2011

INTRODUCTION Information and Communication Technology has been defined as a broad based technology (including its methods, management and application) that supports the creation, storage, manipulation and communication of information (French, 1996). According Hang and Keen in Nworgu (2007), information technology means a set of tools that helps you work with information and perform tasks related to information processing. The definition of French is more encompassing than that of Nworgu, which was limited to information processing and did not extend to the communication of ICT. Actually, the term originated as Information Technology (IT) until recently when it was thought that the communication component ought to be highlighted because of its significance. It was then that the concept transformed to Information and Communication Technology ICT (Olusanya and Oleyede, 2003). ICTs cover Internet service provisions, telecommunications and information technology equipment and services, media and broadcasting, libraries and documentation centres, commercial information providers, network-based information services, and other related information and communication activities. It is a well established fact that telecommunications infrastructure and services, in the age of information and transnational communication, are linchpins of a healthy, growing economy. ICT is the backbone of business activity, productivity, trade and social development. For a developing country like Nigeria and other West African countries, effective implementation of ICT policies is a precondition to the emergence of a strong market economy. The growth of industries and enhancement of social activities is dependent not only on adequate skilled labour but also effective implementation of ICT policies. Knowledge-based activities have become increasingly important and pervasive worldwide. ICT is the foundation of this knowledge-based world. It allows economies to acquire and share ideas, expertise,
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services, and technologies locally, regionally, and across the world. It also contributes to making the global economy more integrated than ever before. ICT can help create and sustain new opportunities for economic and social development. Accelerated knowledge transfer and technological diffusion amplify the competitive advantages of fast-learning economies. As the information requirements for innovation in economic and social activities increase, the importance of ICT for the development agenda will continue to expand. Harnessing ICT for development requires a strategic framework that takes advantage of various ICT roles which helps integrate the options made possible by technological revolution into the design and implementation of sector development strategies. As such, ICT is not just a sector of the knowledge economy, but a lens through which new possibilities and modalities of comprehensive development can be realized. The objective of this report writing is to emphasize the socio-economic impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Nigeria, and as well its merit and demerit, and the application to the development sectors. GENERAL IMPART OF ICTs The development of any nation is usually barometered by the degree and extent of the socio-cultural, socioeconomic, and political improvement that are brought to bear through the enterprises of science, technology and mathematics. According to Bajah and Fariwantan in Olorundare (2007). Sustainable development leads to fulfillment of societal ideals considered relevant to the needs and aspirations of the society. Factors, which influence such developments, are based on human ability to explore, invent, and utilize. Satisfaction of spiritual, physical and material needs and the mastery of the environment are parameters of development when applied to the human society. It has been stated by several authors and scholars that the development of any nation depends very much on the advancement and application of science and technology. The role of science in the development of
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modern societies is not in dispute more so now that the influence of modern technological innovations is far reaching in every sphere of mans life. If Nigeria is to build an organized, selfreliant, and technologically compliant society, much emphasis has to be continually made on science and technology Most developing nations have embarked on various reforms that foster the use of ICTs in their economies. These reforms tend to yield little or minimal benefits to economic growth and development, especially when compared with the developed countries of the world. Technological advancement is known to impact fast rate of economic development. In Nigeria, policy on adoption of Information and Communication Technologies was initiated in 1999, when the civilian regime came into power of government. The operations of the licensed telecommunication service providers in the country has created some well-felt macroeconomic effects in terms of job creation, faster delivery services, reduced transport costs, greater security and higher national output. Social practice (technology use and, for example, policy-making being a part of it) can have an effect on the benefits which members of society derive from ICT, and as well on the extent to which potential damages exert a negative influence. If instead one reduces technology to the blueprints of some ingenious inventor, one misses its socially constructed and appropriated character and falls victim to the trap of instrumentalism. The same is true if one assumes technology to solve all social problems (although problem solving may often be related to technological change in one way or another). The global nature of information and communications technology (ICT) provides developing countries with a unique opportunity to compete in a global economy that was hitherto beyond their

reach. ICT has become a vital engine of any economy, be it developing or advanced. Agriculture, education, industry, health, banking, defence, transportation and tourism. THE IMPART OF ICTs ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA The ICT industry according to Nworgu (2007) appears to be making significant in road into the Nigeria society. Prior to 1999, ICT resources and facilities were grossly limited in the country. Only very few wealthy Nigerians had access to these facilities and services. Internet facilities and services were rare to come by and the facsimile remained for a long time, the only means available to Nigerians for transmitting and receiving data or documents to other parts of the world. Public awareness of ICT and its application was low. Information and Communication Technologies is the backbone of business activity, productivity, trade and social development. For a developing country like Nigeria and other West African countries, effective implementation of ICT policies is a precondition to the emergence of a strong market economy. ICT as an input and as a catalyst has contributed positively to socio-economic development of Nigeria and West African countries. Extension of ICT services to rural areas has generated economic and social benefits which include social change, connectivity, decentralization and accessibility (Mody, 1995). But now, the picture is entirely different. Huge investments have been made by both the public and private sectors in the ICT business in the country. Within the last three (3) years, the country has witnessed tremendous expansion in ICT resources and facilities. About 20 million Nigerians now have access to GSM. With the liberalization policy of the Federal Government, more GSM operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been licensed and are now operating in the country. Millions of Nigerians now have access to these facilities and services even in the rural communities. A significant milestone in the development of the ICT industry in the country is the formulation of a
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National Information Technology Policy (NITP), which was approved in March, 2001 by the Federal Executive Council. With the enactment of this policy came the establishment of an implementing agency-the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in April 2001. This agency is charged with the responsibility of implementing Nigerias IT policy as well as promotes the healthy growth and development of the IT industry in Nigeria (Isoun, 2003). The major thrust of the IT policy in Nigeria can be gleaned from its vision and mission statement. According to the then Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Turner Isoun, the vision of the policy is to make Nigeria IT-capable country in Africa and a key player in the information society by the year 2015, using IT as the engine for sustainable development and global competitiveness. On the other hand, its mission statement is to: Use IT for:

Education Creation of Wealth Poverty Alleviation Job Creation Global Competitiveness

The policy relies on human capacity building as the major strategy for realizing its vision and mission (Isoun, 2003).

THE ROLE OF ICT POLICIES ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

An Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy is an official statement which spells out the objectives, goals, principles, strategies, etc intended to guide and regulate the development, operation and application of ICT. ICT policies must take into account other policies such as education
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policies, trade and investment policies, foreign policy, monetary policy, transport policy, etc. The need for ICT policies has been recognized by the African administrators. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a prerequisite for developing countries economic success. The ability of developing countries to thrive in global economy depends on the nations objectives of ICT policies and their ability for proper implementation of such policies. However, previous studies have shown that most of the developing countries especially Nigeria are yet to embrace fully the application of ICT in socio-economic and political life of the people (Bowery, 1995; Williamson, 1991; Anie, 2007). The major clog in the wheel of progress with regards to the adopting and implementation of ICT policies in Nigeria is the governments indifference towards adequate investment on Information and Communication Technologies. Lee (1993) asserted that the biggest hindrance to telecom service development has been the attitude of the government and the desire to control the population, many only see the huge expense and fail to see the benefits to a developing country from establishing an adequate telecommunications infrastructure. A good number of workshops, conferences and seminars have been sponsored by the Nigerian government still, there is no significant development. West Africa nations are far behind the level of industrialization and technological development in this information age due to lack of a well defined ICT policies to guide development plans. It sounds ironical to realize the situation in developing countries using the same or even similar policies that have been used in the developed economies yet; there is no improvement and development in the economies of the developing nations. The latest economic strategy in these nations especially in Nigeria is regulation and privatization policies. Such policies will yield no fruit in the development of the nations economy if the implementation of ICT policies is still dismissed with a wave of hand by the government and the industrialists. It is true and worthy of commendation that the developing nations have emerged from the grip of colonial
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masters, only to discover that they are more seriously placed under the yoke of egocentric and egoistic political leaders, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) etc. However, the awareness for self reliance and self sufficiency is gaining momentum in developing countries, therefore, the promotion of ICT as an essential catalyst for social and economic development is on the high gear in some of the West African countries.

ECONOMIC BENEFIT OF ICT POLICIES

The economic benefit of telecommunications is enormous, both as a growing industry in its own right and in terms of its influence on economic development. Telecommunications is making the world a smaller place and creating new information highways of high speed electronic data exchange. The economic implication of ICT are far-reaching; mobile telephones, satellite television and automatic teller machines are just a few examples of the way in which ICT is changing how people communicate, become informed or do business.

The relation between ICT and economic development and benefit has been a topic of numerous studies. And all agree that there is a close relation. In a landmark research by Ifidon, (2002); Adoni, (2008); Ochai, (1996/87) and Eyitayo, (1980) on rural economic development implications of ICT in Nigeria in particular, the research found an interdependent relationship between economic activity and ICT infrastructure investment at state and country levels. With the advent of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) as introduced by the Fourth Republic and a democratic government in power, the problems of inefficiency in telecommunication are now to some extent solved.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) network is the basic facility through which information needs of industry, commerce and agriculture can be satisfied. Industrial development
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requires the coordination of a series of operation, including the acquisition of supplies, recruitment of labour, control stocks, processing of materials, delivery of goods to buyers, as well as billing and record keeping. Information technology is vital to the effective development and control of many of these operations. Commerce is essentially on information processing activity, effective buying, selling and brokerage rely on the continual supply of up-to-date information regarding the availability of prices of goods and services. Farmers on the other hand, must not only grow food but they must sell effectively and buy seeds and fertilizer. They also need information on weather conditions, disease outbreaks and new agricultural techniques.

SOCIAL BENEFIT OF ICT POLICIES

The social benefit of ICT is completely invaluable and cannot easily be listed. Notwithstanding, a good number of the social benefits can still be discussed. And these benefits include social interactions. Keeping in touch with friends and relations is one of the major social benefits of ICT. Igyor (1996) also declared the same view that ICT has changed the way transactions are conducted, the way in which information is circulated and the way in which we educate and inform ourselves.

ICT has also reduced inequalities of opportunity between rural areas and the Urban Centres with the introduction of Internet Services, which delivers educational programmes to remote locations. Educational institutions are becoming more dependent on telecommunications to access super computers and broadcast instructions. This has paved way for the introduction of distance learning, which can improve educational achievement in rural areas (Davidson, 1991). Significantly, ICT policy which has given birth to Open Air University in Nigeria has led to population declines in cities and demographic shifts and pressure on rural libraries.
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ADVANTAGES OF ICT AND DISADVANTAGES OF ICT

ADVANTAGES OF ICT Computers can be used with voice recognition software to type for the disabled and to carry out commands not possible Information is available 24 hours a day through access on the Internet or home computer files or office/ workshop servers and computer facilities Vast amounts of data can be stored and processed quickly and efficiently You dont need to leave home to shop you can shop on line and deal with bank transactions and book holidays an advantage if you are disabled and cannot easily get out. You can work from home and use video conferencing/ forum or chat to people across the other side of the world. ( all of which saves money and time) Huge advances have occurred in diagnosing disease and damage to the body with the introduction of body scanners which use software to process the information produced to give us maps of the body. Computers are used to aid surgeons in their operations and in training new doctors.

DISADVANTAGES OF ICT If the hardware fails economies can be badly effected as sales may be halted, stock markets fail to receive information and systems relying on computers stop eg air traffic control of aircraft at airports Information is readily available, however confidential information may be accessed unless properly password controlled
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Photographs can be edited using software resulting in distorted images and distorted reality a common example is airbrushing of photographs of models to improve their figure or the removal of building works from photographs of hotels in holiday resorts or houses for sale. Work involving computers may remove employees from social contact with other employees, this change can cause stress Computers can be misused employees who waste time playing games at work and the unwanted e-mails (SPAM) that fill up the mail box and cause disruption to normal work. Unless sites are filtered it is possible for young children to view unsuitable material on the Internet. The Internet is an easy means of sharing and swapping files often resulting in breaches of copyright.

APPLICATION OF ICT TO THE VARIOUS DEVELOPMENT SECTORS The importance of ICT to different sectors of national, economic and educational life of the nation cannot be over stressed. The specific benefits of ICT to these sectors and how the use has been contributing to sustainable national development are discussed under this segment.

ICT APPLICATION IN EDUCATION Most of the discussions and initiatives on ICT in Education tend to focus on the use of ICT for teaching and learning only (The Commonwealth of Learning, 2006; Becta, 2004; Akale, 2003). This emphasis on instructional applications of ICT in education has an antecedent. From the earliest times, educational interest in technology has always centred on the instructional application of such technology to improve teaching and learning. The case of the computer provides a perfect illustration of this point. Long before the emergency of ICT, educational interest in the computer centred on its
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instructional applications as exemplified by computer-assisted instruction (CAI), computer-aided testing (CAT), etc.

It is perhaps easy to understand why the emphasis at the basic and secondary education levels should exclude research application of ICT. The primary responsibility of the teachers at these levels is defined exclusively in terms of teaching. However at the higher education level, teachersprimary responsibility is of a tripartite nature involving teaching, research and community service. In effect it can be suggested here that any approach to ICT adoption at the higher education level that stressed only instructional applications and ignores research applications, will be grossly inadequate in meeting the needs of both students and teachers.

ICT IN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an essential part of national infrastructure and factors greatly in both public and private sector business enterprises. It creates business opportunities, especially for companies located far from urban centres, and improves links among firms, suppliers and clients. When used well, ICT can also make management and operation more efficient. In another development, Sangowusi cited by Attama and Owolabi (2008) maintains that ICT is very useful in corporate environment because it promotes performance and improves efficiency.

BENEFITS OF ICT IN LEGAL SYSTEM

Globalization driven by ICT is having a phenomenal impact on acquisition of legal, and other relevant learning, teaching and research materials in law libraries across the country. Through ICT,
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lawyers and students can have access to current court proceedings/cases and law reports anywhere, any time and in any form in the country.

There is no doubt that the integration of ICT into the practice of law is of much benefit to the profession in Nigeria in the 21st century. ICT is a remarkable tool for providing comprehensive, current and timely legal services to the citizenry. (Okon and Bassey, 2008). The relevance of ICT adoption and utilization in Nigerian legal system for effective and efficient service delivery is a contributory factor to sustainable development in Nigeria.

ICT FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE

The potential attributes and benefits of ICT to policy makers in the society have been accepted as imperative paradigm (Attama and Owolabi, 2008). In all intents and purposes, ICT is the acclaimed engine room of modern day global development and sustainable growth (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 2005). In the same vein, Anehobi (2007) maintains that no institution or organization can still rely only on the traditional printed information resources to perform efficiently.

The infusion of ICT into public administration enhances efficiency in the delivery of services to the people. Heber (1990) in his own view maintains that ICT helps in taking high quality decisions and at the same time saves time. It is in line with the laudable roles that the federal government of Nigeria in order to ensure the full exploitation of the potentials of ICTs in sustainable democracy laid foundation for e-government in Nigeria (Aragba-Akpore, 2004).

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REFERENCES

Adenike Osofisan, Iwara Arikpo (2009). Bridging the Digital Divide: The Nigerian Journey So Far.Nigeria.Ibadan:Heinemann.

Akale, M. A. (2003). Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of Science Teachers Association of Nigeria. Ibadan: Heinemann.

Anaehobi, E. S. (2007). Availability of ICT facilities in academic libraries in Anambra State. Anambra State Library and Information Science Digest 1(1): 57-64

Aragbe-Akpore, S. (2004). Why e-government for Nigeria. The Guardian, March 16, pp 41-45, 59.

Attama, R. O. & Owalabi, K.A. (2008). Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Dynamics in Management and Governance in an emerging Democracy. Nigerian Library Link 6(1). : 35-44

Becta, H. (2004). Enabling Teachers to make successful use of ICT. http://ww.becta.org.uk.

Dimitri J. Amassoma, Dauda O. Ayanda, Kamiludeen Tijani (2010) Internet Usage among Nigerian Polytechnic Students and its Impact on Manpower. Journal of Information Technology Impact

Development: A Case Study Approach Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 161-170.

Sunday Mauton A. Posu. (2006) Information and Communication Technologies in the

Nigerian Economy. International Conference on Human and Economic Resources, Izmir,

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