FG commends NITDA @20, asks it to redouble efforts to promote IT

The Federal Government has commended the National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA on its 20th anniversary and urged it to build on efforts to advance the IT sector of the country.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, made the call in a news conference organised by the agency to celebrate its achievements in Abuja.

The theme of the anniversary is “Growth and Resilience’’, while activities to celebrate the anniversary will last until April 30.

Pantami recounted that NITDA from inception, especially from 2016 to date, activated its IT project clearance function, engaged in diverse capacity building and established the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation, among other achievements.

“NITDA has done well in IT project clearance, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is more about fighting corruption and this is one of the strategic areas that has fought corruption in Federal Public Institutions.

“IT project clearance by NITDA has saved the FG over two billion Naira and the agency has been consistent with that and exercised high level of integrity in IT project clearance.

“Nigeria Data Protection Regulation, established in January 2019, which ensures data protection and the first of its kind in Africa is another area where NITDA deserves commendation.

“I encourage NITDA to redouble the efforts because the reward of hard work is more work.

“FG has appreciated the efforts of NITDA by recently approving its Conditions of Service and the Career structure,’’ Pantami said.

He recalled that in April 2012, Mr Steve Oronsaye, former Head of Service’s report on some government agencies recommended the scrapping of NITDA and transfer of its responsibilities to other government agencies.

According to the minister, we are no longer discussing that, but we are looking at more responsibilities to be added to the agency and this is a significant change.

He commended the efforts of previous Directors-General (D-Gs) of the agency, adding that the present leadership was building on their legacies.

Pantami prayed that the ICT sector would continue to advance for a better national economic growth.

The D-G of NITDA, Mr Kasifu Inuwa, said that the agency had substantially actualised the National IT Policy goal to digitise the country.

Inuwa also said that the agency was participating in implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy launched by President Buhari in 2019.

He said that the idea was to facilitate the diversification of the country’s economy and position Nigeria to tap from the $11.5 trillion global digital economy worth.

He recounted that the agency had contributed in improving the IT sector, creation of jobs, igniting innovative activities in the IT ecosystem and aligning the country with emerging technologies.

“The achievements of the agency include huge ICT contribution to Gross Domestic Product from less than 0.5 per cent in 2001 to more than 14 per cent in 2020.

“From inception to date, the agency has deployed over 1,560 ICT centres across the country, with minimum of two centres in each of the 774 Local Government Areas.’’

He also said that from 2017 to date, lots of regulations were put in place to advance the IT sector, which included the NDPR, Rule-Making Process Regulation, among others.

Inuwa added that the agency, as part of activities to celebrate its 20th anniversary, would unveil a new strategy to advance the IT ecosystem.

“The new strategy roadmap has seven pillars; it will focus more on creating enabling environment for our country and also to help position Nigeria to tap into the fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Today, we celebrate what we have accomplished in 20 years, but next week, we will unveil our new strategy to raise the bar a little higher to help us do more before our silver jubilee anniversary.’’

Mr Festus Dauda, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, in his vote of thanks, called on the media to project good reports about the country.

According to Dauda, negative news discourages investors and limit development.

Highlights of the event included unveiling of NITDA at 20 anniversary logo by Pantami. (NAN)