By Emanuel Elebeke
Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami says Nigeria must begin now to embrace Open Data initiative to be able to grow and become globally competitive.
He said for Nigeria to become an integral part of the ongoing data revolution, there is need to embrace Open Data Initiative and improve data literacy of its citizenry, especially now data is the single most important driver of innovation in the 21st century.
The Minister spoke at the occasion of South-South zone of the Nigerian Open Data Conference held in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
Pantami, who spoke through the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, who was also represented by the Director of Planning Research and Statistics of the Ministry, Dr Mrs Nonye Nwachukwu noted that in era when data is driving innovation, it is only imperative for Nigeria to key into the trend to become relevant in the global community.
‘‘Data in the 21st century is the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth, therefore, for Nigeria to become an integral part of data revolution there is the need to embrace Open Data Initiative and improve data literacy of its citizenry, Data is only valuable when it is being used to solve a problem or create opportunities for people,’’ he added.
Open Data Initiative involves the putting online of non-sensitive government information such as Agricultural prices, vehicle registration, data online as a national resource in machine-readable, reusable and accessible formats for economic growth and the advancement of transparency and accountability in the delivery of services.
The minister said, the theme of the South-South zone of the Conference in Uyo, ‘Public Data Resources: A Way Forward for Digital Economy’, was designed to build the capacity of the supply side of the Open Data initiative and to share information on the Open Data Action Plan.
He explained that the essence of the forum was to enable Stakeholders to brainstorm on the Review and validation of the Open Data Policy Document for approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He pointed out that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had since begun the process of implementing the Open Data Initiative in 2012, in line with the prescripts of the extant National ICT policy, and since then considerable progress has been recorded.
To implement the Open Data Nigeria Initiative, Pantami noted that Ministries, Departments and Agencies have an important role to play, including development and operation of MDAs Open Data web pages to interface with central data.gov.ng portal and continuous digitization and uploading of high priority data sets in accordance with format that will be agreed by the conference.
The Conference was designed to cover the six geo-political of the Country. So far, the Ministry had conducted the Open Data Conference in the South East at Enugu and North West at Kano, where Stakeholders enriched the document contributions.