The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been asked by the Federal Government to double its efforts in the fight against corruption and project price reduction through IT Clearance.
Dr. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy stated this on Thursday at the 20th anniversary of NITDA in Abuja.
Speaking on the need to fight corruption using IT project clearance in federal institutions, Dr. Pantami said, “NITDA has to increase its efforts in the area of IT project clearance, so that we will be able to fight corruption and reduce the price of IT projects being executed by federal institutions”.
Pantami said, government has given NITDA the needed support to drive the digital Nigeria policy, “This is enough for NITDA to ensure that we achieve a digital Nigeria”, he added.
Earlier, the DG NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi in his welcome address said, the agency has attracted foreign investments more than any other developing country, and has impacted the lives of more than two million Nigerians.
“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.
“There is no doubt 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.
“NITDA exists to move Nigeria and by extension Africa into the digital realm.The scope of what remains to be done is better that what any of us can achieve alone . Together,we can move our society towards making Nigeria an IT capable country and a key player in the information Society,using IT as the engine for sustainable development and global competitiveness”, he added.
Meanwhile, a guest lecturer at the event, Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola said, if all federal government agencies could create an ecosystem of N2 billion like NITDA it would be very good for the Nigerian economy.
Mr. Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, acknowledged the great impact that NITDA has made in the country and called on all other federal government agencies to emulate NITDA especially in the area of creating an ecosystem of over N2 billion that consists of jobs and investments.
“NITDA has created an ecosystem that has created jobs and investments worth over N2b; if every government agency can create such an ecosystem, Nigeria will go a long way in reducing unemployment and poverty”, he said.
Speaking further he said, “NITDA has made significant impact in the areas of
Increased ICT awareness especially in the public sector which is responsible for improved deployment of IT-capable county and a key player in the public sector.
“Job and wealth creation as we can see from the rise of a generation of solutions developers and ICT based start ups across the nation and has supported the significant levels of internet penetration in Nigeria”, he said.
He said, though NITDA has achieved a lot, there are challenges before the agency, which are: “The management of our spectrum resources remains spread across the federal ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and Ministry of Information and Culture and their designated regulatory Agencies which may not be the most efficient management model.
“Flaws in Nigeria policy development process, policy document are often wrongly targeted;the drafters often targets senior policy markers who have attended prestigious policy development institutions and not the middle level public servants.
“Policies are often developed in plush city offices by the people who do not understand, have insight or empathy for the stakeholders in the trenches who need the positive impact of the policy .
He said, NITDA must earn the trust of the industry and society. “The imperative of “Using IT” for education creation of wealth, poverty eradication, job creation and Global competitiveness can only be achieved if NITDA’s management earns industry and society believe and have faith in NITDA’s management.”
In his recommendations, he said NITDA must, build human capacity; long-term investment is needed at the primary level. Be aware that accredited people are basis of start- up economy.
“Must continually build self sustaining ecosystems.It is imperative that we get our women and youth into IT and evolve them into power players”, he said
” Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) produce more jobs than any other segment,and thus we must first focus on empowering and multiplying them.Leverage public Private partnership,Multi stakeholder consultant and decision marking process work in the best long-term interest of all.We need to firmly and fairly to regulate but be careful not to over-regulate and leverage students as ambassador of technology”, he advised.