As part of the current administration’s drive to create employment and diversify the economy due to dwindling of oil revenue, the Ag. Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Vincent Olatunji Ph.D. and his management Staff paid a courtesy visit to Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to explore areas of mutual collaboration between the two sister Agencies under the Ministry of Communications.
The Ag. Director General of NITDA said that ICT is one of the few options government has to diversify the economy and to build capacity, by using ICT to improve productivity and service delivery for Nigeria to cope with the present economic reality and increase the ICT contribution to Nigeria’s GDP by 50%.
The Ag. DG added that, NITDA as an ICT regulatory body oversees the overall development of the ICT industry in Nigeria in order to ensure a steady growth of the sector, and also increase the integration of ICT across all sectors and under-served communities in a manner that supports diversification of the economy while achieving growth, job and wealth creation.
The Ag. DG stated that since inception, the Agency has embarked on a number of ICT programs towards; increasing access to knowledge, provision of information through ICT tools, creating jobs and wealth amongst the youths, bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas, empowering Nigerian youths; to drive inclusive development across rural and under-served communities.
He said NITDA has identified the challenges of ICT and the need for multi-stakeholder partnership to brainstorm and formulate policies to drive the ICT sector. The Agency through two platforms has been bringing stakeholders together to brainstorm on identified thematic areas to accelerate the growth of ICT; these platforms are the Annual e-Nigeria Conference in Nigeria and the Gulf information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) which takes place in Dubai UAE.
e-Nigeria is a platform that brings together ICT experts and solution providers within and outside the country to brainstorm on emerging technologies, local content innovations and relevant ICT issues for the sustainable socio-economic development of Nigeria, he said the program has been sustained for more than 10 years.
The Ag. DG said GITEX is an annual Information and Communication Technology trade show, exhibition, and conference that takes place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The inaugural event took place in 1981 and NITDA has coordinated Nigeria’s participation at the event since 2013. Nigeria’s presence at the event is designed to foster attention on ICT startups, the burgeoning ICT sector and attract offshore investments and partnerships between local and foreign ICT companies which are part of the present administration’s drive to develop human capital and indigenous capacity in ICT; adding that the Agency has set up the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship OIIE and office of Nigerian Content in ICT to drive that aspect.
The Ag. DG said the Management of NITDA is open to inter-agency collaboration to meet the yearnings and aspiration of all Nigerians for better service delivery in the ICT industry, which telecoms play a major role. He added that, if ICT infrastructure and broadband penetration is available to Nigerians, service delivery will improve and the underlying impact on other sectors of the economy will increase the nation’s GDP. He, therefore, stressed the need for NCC and NITDA to work harmoniously in helping President Buhari’s administration to find solutions to the economic challenges through ICT by concentrated harmonised effort.
He said NITDA seeks to collaborate with NCC with zeal to deliver effective and efficient ICT services to the public which will yield impact in line with the change mantra of the present administration towards making Nigeria the number one center for ICT diffusion in Africa.
The Executive Vice Chairman (Chief Executive Officer) Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, thanked the Ag.DG/CEO NITDA for his brilliant strides since his assumption of office in repositioning the ICT sector , he said NCC will be very much interested in playing a pivotal role in GITEX and e-Nigeria respectively.
Prof. Danbatta affirmed that NCC is ready and willing to collaborate with NITDA towards effective and efficient service delivery to the public especially in the area of job creation in ICT. He called on both parties to work towards a pervasive penetration of ICT while taking into consideration the existing ICT infrastructures in line with the mandates of the two Agencies.
The meeting identified some possible areas of collaboration namely: the review of the National ICT4D Policy; Smart city Initiatives; and Capacity building for Startups/ Nigerian University graduates.
Eight (8) man committee was constituted to brainstorm and come up with a report geared towards the integration process and the way forward in respect to service delivery and non-duplication of services being rendered to the public within 2 weeks