Private sector participation, imperative for ICT growth – Minister

Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa  Pantami has urged the private sector to key into  Federal Government’s drive in  making Nigeria  competitive in the area of technology, especially Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), to help create jobs in the country.

Pantami who was represented by the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Abdullahi, made the call at the 5th edition of the annual event, ‘Nerds Unite 2020’ organised by MainOne.

The Minister commended MainOne, a Technology Service Provider for its steadfastness towards achieving Nigeria’s  migration from natural resource based economy to knowledge based economy.

He said that MainOne deserves commendation for organising an event that brought  together the Technology Community in Nigeria and leading Tech-providers to discuss latest development in the industry and fine tune ways of improving the Technology Ecosystem.

Dr Pantami also stated that the Federal Government re-designated the  Ministry of Communications to Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy,  adding that, this change happened as a result of emerging trends where Information Technology is taking over world’s economy.

He said, “ICT has taken over oil and Nigeria has embraced this idea for economic diversification, however, in digital economy, data is the oil. The sector is now the 2nd largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“We have done so many things and we are still doing more in cloud policy strategy and data protection regulations. Our mission is to build a nation where digital innovation and entrepreneurship are used to create value and prosperity for all.”

Speaking on Nigeria’s data operation, Pantami explained that the  Federal Government has about 90 percent of its data hosted in Nigeria, “more than 90 per cent of government data is hosted locally and we are hoping to achieve 100 per cent,” the Minister said.

He said hosting of National data outside Nigeria has security implications urging MainOne, investors and other private companies to champion data hosting business  in Africa.

The Minister further stated that data centres have critical roles to play in achieving a digital  Nigeria saying that the Federal Government is committed to providing infrastructure to enable  business of data hosting in Nigeria.