From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Prof Isa Pantami has charged the Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DTTWGs) to support the Federal Government’s initiatives on achieving a digital Nigeria.
Pantami made the call in Abuja during the Digitisation Hangout with DTTWGs and Technology/Industry Ecosystem Players organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Tuesday.
The group were first inducted in August 2020 with the purpose of facilitating the implementation of IT and digital economy-related projects in the government.
The DTTWGs members were derived from Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) and served as the critical governance structure for implementing the Nigeria e-Government Master Plan (NeGMP) and National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in the public sector.
Pantami said that digital transformation in the public service was a key part of the government’s strategy for developing an indigenous digital economy and would transform the way the public sector operates, creates value, and delivers services to customers.
The minister cited Gartner’s report, a research and advisory company that said that global IT spending would reach 3.9 trillion Dollars in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to act as a catalyst for digital transformation in almost every major industry.
Pantami, who was represented by Mr Bitrus Nabasu, Permanent Secretary of the ministry also stated that digital transformation required human capital development, innovative use of digital technologies, collaboration and co-creation between the government and technology industry players, which necessitated the hangout where DTTWG members can interact with technology key players and to foster digital economy.
“DT-TWGs are expected to support the Federal Government in developing citizen-friendly digital mechanisms to support service innovations and digital transformation for a digital Nigeria.
“DT-TWGs are required to give preference to indigenous digital solutions while making IT decisions in their respective organisations in line with Executive Orders 003 and 005 of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I wish to state that the government cannot do it alone. We need the involvement of the technology ecosystem to co-create ideas and innovate,” he said.
The minister directed NITDA to keep strengthening the IT clearance policy drive, capacity building for Chief Executives of FPIs, indigenous IT companies’ registration, Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework, Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture, among other initiatives to accelerate digital transformation in the public sector.
According to him, this is aimed at creating friendly competition between FPIs to enhance digital transformation across the board and at the same time create a new sector for economic diversification.
Also speaking, Director General of NITDA Mr Kashifu Abdullahi announced that Nigeria should anticipate a surge in digital transformation initiatives in the public sector in the coming years to keep up with the pace as the world was experiencing a sudden digital shift.
He mentioned that the COVID-19 had raised the world’s consciousness and re-emphasised the importance of digital technologies thereby, propelling advancement in digital transformation.
Abdullahi added that NITDA had been preparing the FPIs for the digital transformation journey by structuring appropriate implementation plans resulting in the DTTWGs.
He recalled that the DTTWGs were formed in 100 FPIs with different roles aimed at the digitalisation of government processes and encompassed departments in each FPI.
“We organised training that lasted for a month in which 442 members were certified. The DT-TWG members were taken through the basic knowledge required to carry out their responsibilities efficiently while leading digital transformation in their organisation.
“Today, we have achieved another milestone by creating a platform for bringing together the DT-TWG members and the key players in the technology industry.
“We hope this engagement will foster cooperation between the DTTWGs and technology industry players and provide a platform where experiences, achievements, and challenges will be shared,” Abdullahi stated.
In his remarks, Managing Director of MainOne Technology Company, Mrs Funke Opeke, said they were engaging with the government to ensure that Nigerian data was domiciled and developed in the country.
“Data is very valuable, for marketing, for all kinds of business development, for analysis and we want to see more Nigerian data stored in Nigeria.
“By storing the country’s data indigenously, jobs would be created and the country would have sovereignty over its data and as well contribute in growing the economy.”
Also, Mr Woochan Chang, Country Director Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), mentioned that the Korean government had earlier signed an agreement with the federal government to fund a 13 Million Dollar project which will focus on capacity building in Public Institutions for five years.