ICT industry is key to Nigeria’s digitalisation – Communications Minister

Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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The Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor  Isa Pantami says the government’s collaboration with  Information Communication and Technology, ICT industry is key to fully and rapidly digitalise Nigeria.

He disclosed this in Abuja, at the Digitisation Hangout With Chairmen, Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups And Technology/Industry Ecosystem Players workshop to brainstorm on new innovations and ideas to fast track the Nigerian digital policy.

Represented by the  Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr. Bitrus Nabasu, Professor  Pantami emphasised the importance of a collaboration between government and the industry. “The importance of collaboration and co-creation between the Government and the technology industry players is a critical determinant of a digital nation.”

Pantami also affirmed  that “the innovative use of digital technologies through empowered human capital makes the difference between the digital economy haves and have-nots.”

According to him, “these two requirements served as our motive for conceiving the concept of establishing Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DTTWGs) in the FPIs. I inaugurated the first batch of DTTWGs on Thursday, August 27, 2020. My directives for the establishment of the DTTWGs were intentional and purposeful.”

He noted that DT-TWG will be required to ensure all ICT and digital technologies-related policies and regulations are adhered to by their organisations in a manner that enables national development.” Service and Soft Infrastructure are critical to achieving appropriate Government Digital Services (GDS) deployment and strengthening public confidence in the use of digital technologies and services”.

“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”

The Minister added that, “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. To ensure strategic and successful implementation”

He highlighted some of the  strategic initiatives to build a foundation and evolve an effective digital transformation journey in the public sector for a digital Nigeria:

“IT clearance policy drive: this has saved the Federal Government of Nigeria billions on Naira which would have gone into failed projects; Capacity Building for CEOs, Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF) and others

He noted that this is to ensure that there is data on the status of IT systems in the MDA’s

He used the opportunity to thank the Director-General NITDA Kashifu Inuwa , management and staff of the agency for their efforts and building upon the foundations he laid when he was the DG NITDA.

“I wish to commend the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, along with the Management and Staff of the Agency for continuing the reforms that we started and sponsoring new and creative ideas. It is highly commendable . All these initiatives, if properly implemented, will progressively build an enabling environment and foundation for digital transformation in the FPIs.”

The Minister admitted that government cannot do it alone and called on the private sector to collaborate. “I wish to state that Government cannot do it alone. We need the involvement of the technology ecosystem to co-create ideas and innovate. On this note, I called for the establishment of a digitization hangout as a platform for continuous engagement between DTTWGs and the technology ecosystem players.Digital Transformation calls for a rethink in how public institutions do business and deliver public value and experience to customers.”

According to Pantami, “Public institutions should be looking for innovative ways to leverage digital to deliver value better than ever before. Doing this requires both the Government and the private sector capabilities to create and deliver the expected value to citizens.”

In addition, he called on them to use this opportunity to join government agencies to co-create new ideas.

“I implore you to take advantage of this opportunity, examine all our initiatives, share your experiences, and let us co-create ideas to bring public sector digitization and the digital economy to the next level.”.

In his remarks, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa said “We at NITDA believe that realising the objectives of these documents requires appropriate human capability to ensure effective implementation. This puts the competence and ability of professional public servants to utilise digital technologies at the forefront of the digital transformation agenda. 

He stated that he expects a great surge in Nigeria’s Digitalisation within the next few years. “In Nigeria, we expect a drastic surge in digital transformation initiatives in the public sector in the coming years to keep up with the pace as the world is experiencing a sudden digital shift. As reported by Statista.”

Chief Executive Officer of Mainone, Funke Opeke, said, “it is an opportunity to work with agencies of government in Nigeria and to wonder across the private sector to see how we can pattern to deepen digital economy.

She added that “this is also an opportunity to own our data and build on the very good work NITD has put in place with the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations and to continue to drive the growth of Nigeria’s economy to create jobs locally for our young people, investing and setting the right policies in place for the digitalized transformation.we are excited about and look forward with NITDA, various government agencies to continue to ensure that our data residence in Nigeria for the benefit of Nigeria under the management of Nigerians”

Programmer Officer KOICA in Nigeria, Kayode Adebisi who spoke on, E-government in Nigeria said the second phase is a follow up to the first phase. “This project is the second phase project of E-government in Nigeria. The first phase was from2013-2019 and when the first phase happened it was around eight point five million dollars which of cause the outcome was the E-government master plan capacity building programme  and E-government renewing centre, so this project is a follow up to the first phase project.”.

He said, “The project is a grant aid project to be fully funded by the Korean government in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy but we are funding the project 100%”.

 


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