Bauchi State Governor, Barrister Muhammed Abubakar said that embracing Information and Communications Technology is the only way out of the present unemployment quagmire the nation is currently facing. He stated this when he led the Management of the Bauchi State Commission for Youths and Women Rehabilitation and Development (BACYWORD) on a working visit to NITDA’s Headquarters, Abuja with a view to exploring avenues for possible collaborations between the Agency and his State.
Emphasising the importance of ICT to “every facet of our national development,” Bar Abubakar maintained that “even the agricultural sector cannot witness any tangible development without the adoption of ICT”.
Describing NITDA as a strategic partner in the development of the State ICT, Barrister Abubakar maintained that to achieve the desired result in deploying ICT for poverty alleviation in the state, it is imperative to seek guidance from NITDA. “We have a state ICT Agency which is tailored along NITDA’s goals, though it has been mismanaged in the past, efforts are underway to reposition it into steering the state out of poverty.
The governor disclosed that “although we closed down several of the State’s Agencies which were used as conduit pipes to siphon funds, we took a wise decision to keep the IT Agency and BACYWORD as they could be used to reduce the poverty in the state and also attract donors and development partners”.
In his response, NITDA boss, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami assured the governor of the Agency’s total support in designing a roadmap for IT development in the state adding that the state governor needs the support of the Agency for digital job creation.
He stated that NITDA would work with the state government to provide a policy direction which will guide the state on planning and execution of its ICT programmes.
While enumerating some of the NITDA’s intervention projects in Bauchi state, Dr Pantami assured that the Agency would increase its interventions in the North East generally in accordance with presidential directives to rebuild the region in the aftermath of the Boko Haram crises that ravaged the zone.
He said part of his agenda is to strengthen the regulatory roles of NITDA and affirm its status as the Clearing House of all government IT projects with the aim of regulating and developing the sector for digital job creation and local content development.
The NITDA DG maintained that the Agency will not allow corrupt government officials use IT projects to embezzle public funds adding that its clearing house functions is to have a value- for- money analysis of government IT projects.
While commending the governor for his laudable projects especially in the construction of roads in rural areas, Dr Pantami said he was glad the governor realizes that ICT is a veritable tool that can be explored to reduce the poverty level of the state.