Today, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), had a double celebration: the NITDA 20th anniversary lecture and the launch of its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024.
As part of the anniversary lecture, the Director General of NITDA, Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, expressed gratitude to the past Director Generals of NITDA.
“First and foremost, my heart goes to the family of Dr Ashiru Daura who passed away late last week. Dr Ashiru Daura was a former acting DG of the Agency, May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace, amin.
“Secondly, I would like to express our gratitude to the past Director Generals of NITDA from late Prof Gabriel Olalere Ajayi, Prof Cleopas Officer Angaye, Mr Peter Jack to my immediate predecessor Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami. Our gratitude also goes to those who led the Agency in acting capacity, the late Dr Ashiru Daura and Dr Vincent Olatunji. We sincerely recognise and appreciate their contribution to making NITDA what it is today”.
He said that 20 years is a significant milestone in the life of any institution.
“Some of the biggest companies in the world today were established in the last twenty years or less. Therefore, it is critical for NITDA to introspect its past and project into the future, set new targets, and improve for the better. As I mentioned earlier, today’s event is twofold. The first part will review the purpose of NITDA’s existence and reflect on the journey so far, and the second part will unveil the next phase of the journey.
Speaking on the theme for the day: “Growth and Resilience”, the Director General of NITDA, said that the Agency has grown beyond the dreams of its founders.
“NITDA was established to implement the Nigerian National IT Policy, which I can confidently say that we have delivered 100% with higher and deeper impacts to our economy.
“Now, we talk of resilience because NITDA sees digital technologies as a source of inspiration to reinvent and meet the digital age challenges in an increasingly dynamic and competitive world.
He said that NITDA has made a difference and touched the lives of more than 2.5 million Nigerians.
“Our impact is visible across the country, and this can be attested to by the outcomes. Just recently, our sector, the ICT sector bailed Nigeria out of a covid-induced recession that was predicted to crush the Nigerian spirit. We have attracted more foreign investments into the digital economy sector than any developing country globally.
“Our developmental regulations have created new economic industry such as business process outsourcing, data protection and a robust software industry”.
The DG, however, stressed that despite the modest achievements recorded by the Agency, they are not oblivious of the multi-dimensional challenges confronting our country.
“We believe there is a silver lining for innovation to create prosperity for all. We have an excellent opportunity to leapfrog into the future through the 4th industrial revolution. We are blessed with the most prominent black diaspora, resilient and resourceful youths, solid and diverse culture, abundant natural resources etc.
“The NITDA of the next decade is prepared to act as an institutional catalyst to actualise the long-held dream of every Nigerian to build a Nation where peace, prosperity and justice shall reign.
“The foundation for this dream has been laid by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, championed by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, who has a laser-focused vision of digitalising Nigeria. This vision has been well articulated by the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
“The NDEPS is an overarching policy vision that needs strategic action by all relevant stakeholders to become a reality. NITDA, no doubt, is pivotal to the implementation of the NDEPS. It is for this purpose that the Agency has initiated a thorough strategy drafting process as introduced by my predecessor Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami”.
He said that this process was carried out in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders by identifying gaps and opportunities in Nigeria’s digital economy aspiration.
“Critical government policies and documents such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship policy, National Broadband Action Plan, Cybersecurity Policy, amongst others, were consulted to have strategy coherence. This process was culminated in the NITDA Strategic Roadmap Plan and Action Plan (SRAP).
Objectives of the Strategy:
The DG said that the strategy was meant to articulate a new strategy for NITDA in accordance with the current aspirations of the Government, the realities of today and the demands of the future; to contribute its quota towards the implementation of NDEPS, especially within the framework of its mandate; and to implement programs that would facilitate the digital transformation of Nigeria.
This SRAP is built on seven pillars with their respective goals and objectives, which are:
1. Developmental Regulation:
This pillar will foster dynamic regulatory instruments that will unlock opportunities across different sectors of the economy.
2. Digital Literacy and Skills:
This pillar will enable the development of digital skills of Nigerians across different works of life as well as support the goal of achieving a 95% digital literacy level in the next ten years.
3. Digital Transformation:
This pillar will provide a robust digital platform to drive digitalisation processes in the digital economy.
4. Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship:
This pillar will enable innovation-driven enterprises and Micro, small and medium enterprises to thrive. We expect that the outcome of this pillar will create opportunities for job creation.
This pillar will strengthen cyberspace and reduce vulnerabilities exploitable by threat actors to create a vibrant digital economy. This will, in turn, protect the digital asset and allow citizens to have confidence in the digital economy.
6. Emerging Technologies:
This pillar will facilitate the adoption and adaptation of emerging technologies in Nigeria. This pillar will map the development of the digital economy with sustainable development goals in providing quality education, poverty eradication, good health and well-being, reducing inequalities et cetera.
7. Promotion of Indigenous Content:
This pillar will create an enabling environment for promoting and adopting indigenous innovation for a digital economy.
This pillar will develop indigenous products and services, increase patronage, and create an enabling condition for iterative problem-solving by indigenous digital technology.
Notably, every pillar has its goals, initiatives to drive the attainment of the goals, objectives and desired impact.
“Additionally, we introduced a new approach by formation of workstreams into the implementation process. This workstream approach will aid the harmonisation of roles, smoother planning, cross pollination of ideas and better inter-deparmental planning”, the DG said.