Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has commended the proactiveness of the Federal Government to come up with initiatives that reposition ICT to play a critical role in the diversification of the nation’s economy.
The Director-General, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who expressed this view while hosting the Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Major General, Jamilu Sarharm, said the efforts will reduce the negative impacts that the COVID-19 would have had on the digital economy.
Mallam Abdullahi stated that Nigeria is lucky to have started putting out measures aimed at promoting Digital Economy. He recalled that the unveiling of Digital Economy Strategies and Planning and the Digital Nigeria project which focuses on digital capacity building and digital literacy would go a long way in reshaping our Economy in the post-pandemic era.
‘These initiatives have helped because they are emerging globally and in Nigeria, what we have learnt from the pandemic or the crisis just made them profound and we are all embracing digital technologies,’ he said.
He stated further that ‘a lot of things are going to change. We are not going to go back to normal life. In terms of businesses, some will close down and new opportunities will come. So, we don’t want to be left behind. We want to be part of the people shaping the new normal we are currently facing.’
While admonishing that people should explore the opportunities the crisis has provided to accelerate the trend that will shape the digital economy, Mallam Abdullahi reiterated the need for people to acquire requisite skills needed for the digital economy.
He said: ‘When we talk about the digital economy, we are talking about the knowledge economy which human capital is a key enabler because knowledge is what influences the digital economy.’
Citing an example of how 25 people became the richest people in the world made $255 billion within two months of the global lockdown, the DG affirmed that that is the power of knowledge.
He said NITDA gives good attention to capacity building and collaborates with universities to produce the right skills needed for the digital world. He added the MIT REAP project of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy identified five key stakeholders which the University is part of. He said the idea is for the corporate to work with the University to produce the right skills needed for the digital economy.
Earlier, Major General Sarharm said that the management that the Academy had resolved to approach NITDA for assistance in terms of e-learning and capacity building.
He stated that the management has considered the need to pay a courtesy visit to the NITDA and seek collaboration in various areas, notably in the area of ICT intervention for the Academy.
He said: ‘The NDA has over 2000 cadets and things are changing and affecting modes of learning especially during the lockdown adding that the whole world is now driven by ICT, we want to engage in online training for our cadets.”
He said: ‘We can’t wait any longer than to come around here basically to seek collaboration and more importantly seek for assistance and expertise.’
In granting the prayers of the Academy, the DG assured that special consideration would be given to the requests. He said: ‘I have looked at your prayers even though you are not specific of what you really want from NITDA but you talked about e-learning, capacity building and ICT infrastructure, we do all these as interventions and we will see what we can do now and those we can plan for next year.’