Nigeria to end dependence on crude oil through ICT innovation

Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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Nigeria has restated its commitment to digitalise its economy, urging States and local Governments to key into the policy to promote entrepreneuship in the country.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami made this known during the commissioning  of an Information Technology and Innovation Centre by the National Informational Technology Development Agency, NITDA, at the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, in Cross River State, Southern, Nigeria.

The Minister said the facility, known as Information Technology Innovation and Incubation Park building, would be used to develop ideas to end the nation’s dependence on crude oil.

He said: “This policy was derived after we came up with idea of establishing IT skills centres all over the country.m The Nigerian  Government is establishing these centres across the country as part of its drive to diversify the economy away from oil and gas. Presently, the world is moving from natural-resources based economy to knowledge –based economy and so, government is following suit in order not to put all eggs in one basket.”

According to him, digital economy occupied a central position in a knowledge-based economy, that Nigeria was on track to having a digitised economy.

Patami noted that many countries, including the United States, China and Europe, no longer employ people based only on degrees but skills acquired.

“Recently, China shut down 600 universities and converted them to skill acquisition centres. Nigeria needs to bridge the gap between the academy and industry. We need to change the current system where theories are only thought in the universities and skills acquired in the industries,” he explained.

South-South IT Centre
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Professor Ndowa Lale, commended the Nigerian government for citing the South-South IT centre in the institution.

He said the university was delighted to host such prestigious IT and innovation centre, that would be used to recruit and train specialised skills on telecommunication.

Improved Ease of Doing Business
The Director-General of NITDA, Mr. Kashifu Inuwa said that the World Bank had rated Nigeria as one of the countries with improved-Ease of Doing Business.

He expressed delight that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had identified Information and Communication Technology as an enabler for development.

Kashifu added that digital economy was reshaping economies and social lives of many societies in the western hemisphere, adding that Nigeria should not be left behind.

 

Confidence Okwuchi