As Senate urges agency to fast track digitalization process in the country
By Henry Umoru – Abuja
The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency ( NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa has declared that Nigeria is lagging behind in the $11trillion Digital Economy in the world despite its huge population and potentials.
The NITDA boss who noted that Data and not oil, is driving the economy of leading countries of the world today, said that digital economy and not the mono-product one being run in the country is what Nigeria must key into and which the agency with the support of its supervising ministry, is facilitating for the country through required innovations and technology.
Inuwa spoke yesterday in Abuja on Nigeria’s unimpressive position in the digital cum data-driven economy and the need for its repositioning in that direction when the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru paid a courtesy visit on NITDA DG.
Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the agency to fast-track the process of making the country an innovative one.
READ ALSO: Help us with training to create jobs, fight insecurity in the country — People with Disabilities beg NITDA
Speaking further, NITDA DG disclosed that a Centre for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence has been created by the agency in that direction just as 20,000 young Nigerians across the states, are being targeted for capacity building in the area of technology.
He “Economy in the world is going or has gone digital, which is presently valued at $11trillion.
“But out of 616 digital cum data-driven firms running the digital economy, while 256 are based in the United States of America, 204 in China , 26 in the United Kingdom, 21 in India, 12 in Germany, etc, only two each, are in South Africa and Nigeria.
“This to NITDA, is not good, going by population and potentials the country is blessed with.”
Inuwa who noted the agency is ever ready to promote usage of IT or digital devices by Nigerians in all their economic activities, particularly in the agricultural sector, however, said that the 2007 Act upon which the agency operates after its establishment in 2001, needs to be amended in given it the required powers in the area of regulations of ICT operations in the country particularly as regards the ability to deal with issues as they arise in the digital sector
He said “Our target objective upon the availability of enabling laws, is making Nigeria the hub of innovations in the African continent.
“Even some Universities in the country are already keying into the digital world by substituting courses at Ph.D. level on Oil and Gas for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.”
In his remarks, senator Basiru who assured that the NITDA DG of expeditious consideration of whatever amendments the agency wants on the 2007 Act, said that the 9th Senate and by extension, 9th National Assembly, being one that works for Nigeria, will provide the required legislations that will fast track the Digitalization process of the Nation’s economy.
He said, “The Senate, in particular, is basically impressed with the progress this agency is making in getting Nigeria fully on board as far as the digital economy is concerned.
“This to the Senate is a welcome development at this time of diversification process from mono-product economy to multi-sectoral one.
“We shall be happy if the required technology is made available in enhancing productivity in the Agricultural sector because no society can really be secured without food sufficiency for its populace.”