Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has disclosed that it has enacted policies to help save 100 thousand jobs and create 30 thousand new jobs in preparation for the post COVID-19 economy. The Director General, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said this in a speech at the Innovation Support Network (ISN) North Regional Gathering 2020; a virtual event organised by ISN in collaboration with Ford Foundation with the theme “Repositioning Hubs for Post -Pandemic Success.”
Abdullahi said the agency set up the Tech4COVID-19 committee which came up with plans to ensure it helps people retain their jobs and create additional job in Post COVID-19 era.
He said: “We swiftly initiated several policies and programmes for the technology ecosystem and Startups to be able to withstand the impact of the pandemic. The agency has also rolled out these initiatives in order to ensure that technology continues to enable innovation and entrepreneurship while addressing challenges of the society.”
He further explained that the Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge is where Nigerians were challenged to come up with innovations; to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
NITDA Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Support Scheme support startups and hubs across the country, he said that, “with over 130 hubs in Nigeria, we are finalizing plans to ensure rapid intervention is provided for hubs and startups based on competence and carefully selected criteria”.
The agency is following up the startups with highly innovative ideas that were selected for further incubation and mentorship, this action supports our indigenous and local content policy, thereby creating more jobs.
Abdullahi also said NITDA set up a Startup Clinic which is a platform for gathering Startups, mostly young people to meet with mentors, successful entrepreneurs, investors, industry specialists, business consultants and hub operators with the goal of solving problems and challenges facing them.
The DG added that in order to improve agricultural practices and create more job, the agency initiated its SMART Agric Project where it engages farmers and focuses on using precision/smart farming techniques to ensure significant improvement in efficiency and productivity thereby increasing crop yield, profit margin and create more jobs.