Buhari pledges support for digital entrepreneurs, ICT stakeholders
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to support Nigerian digital entrepreneurs in order for them to develop innovative solutions that will help address challenges of technological development in the country.
The President, gave the assurance at the “2019 e-Nigeria Conference, Exhibitions and Awards” in Abuja, on Thursday.
In his remark at conference tagged “Achieving Digital Economy,” Buhari, commended the Minister of Communication and Digital economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), for their unwavering commitment towards ensuring that the country’s ICT sector transforms Nigeria into a digital economy.
“The second quarter report by the NBS in 2019, showed that the ICT sector contributed an impressive 13.85% to the GDP of Nigeria. This clearly, shows the importance and potential of the ICT sector to boost job creation and fast-track our economic diversification agenda. Already, Nigerian ICT startups are leaving their marks at the global stage,” he said.
The President, expressed delight that the digitalization of key activities such as Bank Verification Number (BVN), Treasury Single Account (TSA) and Integrity Personnel Payroll System (IPPIS), has enabled the Federal Government to save cost on service-delivery in the public service, and boosted the anti-corruption fight.
“As we celebrate the successes and explore the opportunities of this sector, we must remain mindful of its threat. We all know how the use of unregistered sim cards by terrorists is threatening our national security. As a Government, our priority is to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians.
“If we may recall in 2018, we directed that all government funded-ICT project must be reviewed and cleared by NITDA. Our goal was to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of government to record multiple success. Today, I am informed that through this directive, government has saved over 16.8 billion. I want to encourage the ministry and NITDA to sustain this tempo,” he added.
In his address of welcome, Pantami, disclosed that the Communication Ministry is collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to organize the regional entrepreneurship acceleration program, aimed at training Nigerian youths on ICT, tech-Agric and construction.
“The policy we are working on is to make sure that we leverage on digital technologies to create jobs for our teeming youths and it has started, and it is also yielding results.
Also, we have been able to support our security institutions by commissioning the first Emergency Communication Centre. The centre will be able to receive calls from people in distress and emergency situation, and link them up with relevant authorities for timely response,” he said.
He called on relevant stakeholders, agencies and departments to support the ministry’s initiative towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes a robust digital economy by 2023.
On his part, the Director General of NITDA, Mr. Kashifu Abdullahi, explained that the conference is a platform where government, academia and ICT experts meet yearly to discuss on better ways to develop and shape the future of the country’s ICT sector.
The keynote speaker and founder of MAINONE, Ms. Funke Opeke, commended the efforts of President Buhari and Pantami, in growing Nigeria’s digital economy by supporting local contents, promoting the ease of doing business, and developing critical national infrastructure.