The federal government has commissioned three ICT infrastructures deployed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) across the country with a view to expedite the implementation of the National Digital Economy Strategy and Policy.
The minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, virtually commissioned the projects. They are Information Technology (IT) hubs at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, and University of Lagos respectively. Other projects commissioned include an IT Community Centre in Daura, Katsina State; Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre, Enugu State Polytechnic; NIGCOMSAT northwest regional office, Kaduna State; and Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC’s) Emergency Communications Centre Kaduna.
He said: “The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Document strategically captures the three focal points of economy, security and anti-corruption of President Buhari’s administration. The projects are directly attached to the pillars of the national digital economy for a digitalized Nigeria, which include promoting digital skills, a digital society, Infrastructure and the promotion of indigenous content.”
He pointed out that the IT hubs in Kaduna and Lagos were established in order to promote digital economy as they will make it easier to identify young innovators, support and mentor them, incubate their ideas and help them seek funds.
The NITDA boss explained the IT Community Centre (ITCC) in Daura, Katsina State is a centre for digital literacy, because it is part of the plan of the present administration to make sure that 90 per cent of Nigerians are digital literates, adding the sector is determined to ensure entrepreneurship thrives so the current trend of producing employees will be replaced by digitally skilled entrepreneurs who are employers of labour, stressing the world is currenting tilting towards skills development with less emphasis on certificates.
“It is because of this that we established two virtual institutions, digitalnigeria.gov.ng and academy.nitda.gov.ng during the COVID-19 lockdown, they are virtual learning institutions offering world class trainings in different spheres of technology including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoTs), cloud computing, cybersecurity etc., where our youths can acquire digital skills that will place them on a globally competitive pedestal as the global outlook has shifted from mere certificates to practicable skills,” he stated.
Earlier in his goodwill message, the director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said the commissioned projects have shown the commitment, will and action of government in implementing the digital economy, adding a lot has been done in terms of the broadband plan and other initiatives.
He further called on government to encourage telecom investors by making the building of ICT infrastructure a part of the master plan as done in other countries.
“The unprecedented disruption by COVID-19 has made the need for digital economy more urgent than before, government operations, industry structure and business are being disrupted which in turn has made the digitalization of the economy in general to be widely facilitated,” he added.
Dignitaries present at the commissioning include the executive governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum; minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; minister of Finance Budget and Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed; chief executive officers of agencies and parastatals under the supervision of the ministry and other IT stakeholders.