By Chimezie Godfrey
In its continuous drive towards fostering national development through efficient Information Technology (IT) governance in Nigeria, coupled with the growing need of the Digital Economy Ecosystem, the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) in collaboration with Office of Digital Economy and e–Governance, Imo State Government has organised ICT Stakeholders’ Engagement Forum in Owerri, Imo State.
The engagement amongst other objectives is to establish sustainable collaborations and consistent channels for feedback and the exchange of ideas as well as share with stakeholders NITDA’s vision, regulatory instruments for national development, and the journey so far.
Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa in his opening speech challenged participants to use the meeting as a veritable platform to pool knowledge, experience, expertise, and co-create solutions, articulate strategies, and extend NITDA’s services to all stakeholders, especially at the grassroots.
Inuwa who was represented by the Director, Zonal Offices Directorate, Mr Babajide Ajayi noted that strategic actions are being taken in the implementation of critical areas of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
NDEPS, the DG explained is a strategic document approved by the Federal Executive Council which focuses on eight pillars that are critical to the development of the Digital Economy.
He further enumerated the pillars to include; Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Promotion, Digital Society and Emerging Technologies, Soft Infrastructure, and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.
“Throughout the twenty-one-year journey, we have had to look continuously at our mandate, reset our vision, and invigorate our mission. We have moved from being a highly centralised organisation to a functionally decentralised Institution.
“Our aspiration is to be an organisation closer to stakeholders. We are also increasingly becoming a process-driven, data-dependent, and results-oriented organisation”, Inuwa stressed.
He further said, “the Agency’s strategies and choices are pursued while always ensuring financial prudence – even in the most turbulent times and ensuring that we meet the objectives of a national IT Governance, foremost of which is delivering value to our stakeholders”.
While emphasising the fact that the stakeholders come first, Inuwa assured everyone that NITDA’s goal is to deliver value to them which underscores the importance of the engagement to get clarity on their perspectives, aspirations, and needs.
“Some of the people-oriented programmes we have implemented in consultation with stakeholders and under the supervision of our parent Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, include the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), the National Adopted School for Smart Education (NASSE), Digital Literacy Capacity Training for Persons Living with Disabilities, support for ICT Innovation Hubs, building of Community IT Centres, development of State IT policies, and a host of other activities”.
“However, there is always the need to re-strategise in the face of new challenges and opportunities that the Digital Economy ecosystem affords. Therefore, the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP), 2021-2024, has been conceived to provide direction for the Organisation and a sound platform for mitigating the foreseen and unforeseen threats to the Digital Economy ecosystem”, the DG maintained.
The NITDA Boss was hopeful that the event and indeed the entire Stakeholders’ engagement programme across the country will provide fresh understanding and ideas on how NITDA can deliver more impactful values to Nigerians.
In his Keynote address, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodima, represented by the Hon Commissioner, Imo State Ministry of Digital Economy and e-Government, Dr. Chimezie Amadi commended NITDA for organising the meeting.
He assured that the State government must further strengthen the foundation of digital infrastructure to broaden access to new opportunities, building an innovation ecosystem, enhancing workforce quality, and instituting social protection frameworks.
The programme with theme “Creating Opportunities, Breaking Boundaries: Towards Digitisation and Entrepreneurial Evolution” was attended by 81 stakeholders drawn from 3 states in the Southeast.
Participants ranged from ICT experts, government representatives, academia, startup ecosystems, ICT associations, technology solution providers, Non–Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and relevant stakeholders in the Digital Economy Sector.
The event featured presentations by NITDA officials, keynote addresses, interactive sessions and several goodwill messages from participants.