The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has emphasised that for digital transformation to become a reality, Nigeria must pay attention to harnessing the quality and the relevance of its population.
Inuwa stated this at the virtual Nigeria Digital Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Startup Policy (NDIESP) Public Sector Stakeholders engagement for further review and additional input.
According to Inuwa this is part of efforts by the Federal Government of Nigeria to grow the nation’s economy through digital technologies and in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a digital Nigeria.
The policy which is being championed by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, comprises of six priority thrusts namely: Advancing Human Capital, Unlocking Access to Capital, Enabling Infrastructure, Boosting Demand, supporting R&D, and Promoting Innovative Entrepreneurship. The policy is formulated to achieve a digital innovation and entrepreneurship driven nation that would become a norm that focuses on seeing improvement in the areas of digital technologies.
According to the Agency as the nation exited from recession, the NDIESP proposes that Digital innovation and entrepreneurship would help fast track the recovery of other traditional economic sectors by supporting the provision and adoption of indigenous and tailor-made solutions for nationwide implementation of the policy
This can be achieved through automation, smart processes and ICT solutions, while applying to key in stakeholders in government, innovation-driven enterprises, consumers of innovation, technology start-ups, innovation hubs and labs, investors, academia, funding agencies, civil society organisations, service providers, and others into the policy
Actualizing the country’s vision
Earlier while making his presentation,the Director General disclosed that the idea behind the formulation of this policy is to bring to the table different and innovative approaches in realizing President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the country.
“The reason we gathered here today is to present a reviewed draft National Digital Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policy for the second time which has the primary objective of digital transformation of our economy with the potential of boosting economic growth and economic diversification. This is a task that requires all hands to be on deck,” he said.
The NITDA Boss who was represented by the Director, Information Technology Infrastructure Solutions, NITDA, Usman Gambo-Abdullahi opined that “For this digital transformation to become a reality, Nigeria must pay attention to harnessing the quality and the relevance of its population, while it continues to maintain the 60:40 ratio of STEM students in universities to other disciplines” adding that “more attention should be paid to the curricular that are being used to teach and how relevant they to the digital economy” he said.
Mr. Inuwa stressed that there is no innovation where new knowledge does not exist.
“The most innovative countries in the world that control the market share of the $11.5 trillion global digital economy are the countries with immense public and private sectors that are funding research and development. We must commit to accelerating our research and development; beginning with our intellectual property environment and solving the underlying problems of funding for innovation research,”.
Inuwa also maintained that relevant to the realization of a digital Nigeria vision is the funding required for startups, spinoffs and already established companies in their quest for digital solutions development for the market.
“For it is in the application of knowledge and its conversion into useful products for the people that innovation ushers in prosperity. While many tax incentives exist already, we must bring together these initiatives in ways that ensure ease of access to those who need to access it. Beyond tax incentives, we must also create innovative ways of facilitating patient venture capital that will provide the runway that these innovative companies require”,the NITDA Boss stated.
He added that “Even as we put all these in place, we must also commit to promoting digital entrepreneurship amongst our youth by all means necessary and put in place the framework that boosts demand for digital products in the economy through government patronage by procurement of these digital innovation products,”.