Lagos, Nigeria – The Managing Director of the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO), Dr. Darren Wilkins has said that Liberian IT Firms should be given the opportunity to participate in large IT projects that are often awarded to foreign firms.
Speaking at his 18th Street office on Friday, the LIBTELCO boss said many of the Large IT projects, especially Government of Liberia (GoL) IT projects that are advertised in newspapers or on the Executive Mansion website tend to be designed for foreign-based companies because the terms or requirements of those projects are those that no Liberian firm can meet.
“I have no problem with foreign firms implementing IT solutions in Liberia. What bothers me is that when these firms implement solutions, there’s little or no transfer of knowledge which impacts the sustainability of the solution.”
Wilkins said that if Liberians are not able to meet the terms or requirements of large Government IT projects, they should at least be given chance to work or partner with foreign-based companies to deploy IT solutions in Liberia.
“Liberian firms must be allowed to partner with foreign-based IT companies in the deployment of IT solutions, so that when those companies leave, local capacity and support are available.”
Many IT firms in Liberia seem to agree with the LIBTELCO boss. A seasoned IT business solutions provider who asked to remain anonymous said that Dr. Wilkins is absolutely correct.
“Many times when you see an advertisement in the papers, you will see a requirement that says: “must have completed a multi-million dollar project.
Now, we all know that there is no Liberian-owned IT firm that has completed such project on their own.
So this is only designed to suit companies outside of Liberia and this is not fair. Dr. Wilkins knows this because he comes from the private sector and has experienced this unfortunate and anti-development problem that this presents.
Now that he’s in position to impact change in the sector, we are glad that he hasn’t forgotten about this problem and has begun to advocate for us.”