From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has on Monday marked its twentieth anniversary by highlighting its various achievements over its two decades of existence.
The ceremony hosted the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, amongst other heads of government agencies.
Pantami, while speaking at the event said the agency has met the expectations of Nigerians in the past 20 years of its existence. He said NITDA has performed extraordinarily in its given mandate.
The minister highlighted the agency’s achievements in Information Technology projects clearance and entrenching integrity in the sector.
Meanwhile, the EVC of NCC, Danbatta
hailed the current Director-General of the agency, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi and all the CEOs and directors of the agency from its inception for doing their best in repositioning the agency.
Addressing journalists after the occasion, the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, highlighted the achievements of the agency in the last two decade. According to him, NITDA’s creation symbolized Nigeria’s resolution to embrace digital transformation, adding that the story of NITDA explains Nigeria’s journey to a digital economy.
He said that since establishment, NITDA has been working assiduously to help Nigeria catch the train of the 4th industrial revolution without leaving any sector of the economy behind.
He said the agency has played critical roles in national development by providing the legal framework for information technology development, pioneering IT developmental projects, facilitating access to information technology goods and services, catalysing job creation and ensuring national security.
He said the agency has substantially actualized the National IT Policy’s goal to digitize Nigeria and the Agency is now in the phase of digitalizing the country.
“On the 23rd of October 2019, based on the digitalization objective, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, approved the re-designation of our Ministry as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
“The primary purpose of the re-designation was to create a policy framework that would oversee the development of the digital economy for a digital Nigeria.
“Subsequently, on the 28th of November, 2019, the President unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) to facilitate the diversification of our economy and position Nigeria to tap from the $11.5trillion global digital economy worth.
“NITDA is playing pivotal roles to actualize the objectives of the NDEPS as it had done with the National IT Policy.
“These achievements include huge ICT contribution to GDP from less than 0.5% in 2001 to more than 14% in 2020, catalysing job creation and igniting innovative activities in the tech ecosystem.
“With this important milestone in carrying out our mandates, we think our 20th-anniversary worth celebrating. Since its establishment, NITDA has evolved in many aspects and responded to its mandates’ dynamics.
“Therefore, the Agency focuses on bridging the digital divide, providing the enabling environment and strengthening the tech ecosystem. In 2007, we started our developmental interventions by deploying ten (10) Rural Information Technology Resource Centre (RITC) across the country’s six Geo-Political zones.
“The number increased to 17 in 2008, 58 in 2009, and 119 in 2010. With increased awareness of the Agency’s intervention, demand-specific interventions were developed.
“From inception to date, you will be glad to know that the Agency has deployed over one thousand, five hundred and sixty (1,560) Centres across the country, with a minimum of two Centres in each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.”
Also in attendance were: the Permanant Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Festus Dauda, Director General/CEO, Galaxy Backbone, Prof Muhammed Abubakar, Director General/CEO, National Identity Management Commission(NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz Managing Director/CEO Nigerian Satellite Company Limited, Dr Abimbola Alale, Post Master General of Nigerian Postal Service(NIPOST), Dr Ismail Adewusi.