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Buhari, governors endorse harmonised digital economy, e-government policy

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…As Uzodinma says Imo state will inaugurate Digital Economy Ministry to drive implementation

…Digital economy policy harmonization will reduce waste, duplication- Obaseki

…As Adebayo says FG will invest in home grown technologies to reduce cost, drive industry

By Ogaga Ariemu

President Muhammadu Buhari, governors from Five States on Wednesday have endorsed a framework on the harmonisation of digital economy, e-governmance initiatives at federal and state levels.

NewsDirect Newspaper learnt that Buhari, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Edo States Governors made this known at the inaugural meeting of the presidential Council on Digital Economy and e-government master plan in Abuja.

This is as President Buhari charged the council members on a concerted approach towards implementing the initiative.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, who presided over the meeting on behalf of Buhari stated that there have been pockets of digital initiatives going on in the state levels which are not in alignment with Federal government’s digital economy initiatives.

He recalled launching the National Digital Economy and Policy Strategy (NDEPS) in November 2019 with eight pillars which required the involvement of actors at all levels.

The President said that digital economy cannot be implemented in silos,with FG bearing the responsibility, adding that states, sub-nationals have a significant role to play in ensuring achievement of NDEPS.

“Many important things have been discussed and we have agreed on all of them and it is because of this we plan to have another meeting as soon as possible.

“The secretariate have been directed to come up with frameworks for the digital economy, that can be implemented in our state.

“Many states have good initiatives on digital economy, however there is lack of harmonisation to their activities.

“Framework is going to be developed so that our sub-nationals will play their own role and FG will continue to provide intervention where necessary.

“From the time Mr president launched the policy to date, a lot have been achieved and in some of the pillars, more than 70 per cent have been achieved. However, still there are issues that requires engaging the sub nationals to look at decision making, implementation, coming up with frameworks, getting their input with regards to regulation and many more and that cannot be easily achieved. It is because of this, this council have been inaugurated, today is our first official meeting after the inauguration by Mr President”, he said.

He further made case for establishment of the Ministry of Digital Economy in states to cascade and implement activities at the national level.

“Also after the launching of the policy, the ICT sector contributions to GDP increased significantly to the extent thts the sector alone without involving digital services, contributed 17.9 per cent which is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. With the accommodation of our governors and subnational, I believe many positive things should come out of the sector”, he stated.

The Presidential council was launched to strengthen the capacity of government, to devlop, adopt and deploy digital technologies to make government more efficient and transparent.

The council is also to ensure the improvement of Nigeria’s global standing in the ease of doing business index.

Imo state to inauguate Digital Economy Ministry to drive e-governance Implementation- Uzodimma

The Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma has stated that he will immediately inaugurate Ministry of Digital Economy towards e-governace implementation.

Uzodinma disclosed this in an interview with Journalists after the council meeting.

According to him, This is a very good idea and we are going to participate. On the level of digitisation in hios state,he said there ate sectors and pillars. First we start with proper record keeping, collection of data and then digitalise the infrastructure department has to be put in place.

Before this meeting I was about creating an agency to manage our digital economy but I am going to now create a full blown ministry of digital economy and IT management in the state as soon as I get back. That is to tell you the kind of attention we are going to give this subject, I will also support for a well thought out policy in making sure we have a robust digital economy that will create jobs and employment for our youths.

“I am happy to be member of this council and will do my best to contribute my quota towards national development”, he said.

Digital economy policy harmonization will reduce waste, duplication- Obaseki

Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki stated that the harmonisation of digital economy initiative will help stamp out waste and duplication in governance.

He added that if Nigeria can get it right on harmonized digital economy strategies, the impact will be tremendous.

In his words, “I am glad we finnaly have a council in the country that will set the record on the digital economy as the world is about digitisation.

“In Edo state, we have already initiated a lot of IT activities, Edo Best educational platform runs on technology, where all our 15,000 teachers have devices, we are implementing technology in our primary health care centres, we have hubs on our own and they are not aligned with what is happening nationally, so this council helps align the different initiatives on digitisation from different parts of the country so that we can reduce the waste that comes with non-alignment and also gain momentum and speed in terms of implementing digital strategy as a country. If we get it right nobody can stop Nigeria in digitisation”.

FG will invest in home grown technologies to reduce cost, drive industry- Minister

Similarly Minister Industry,Trade and Investment, who represented the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Otunba Adebayo said Federal Government will invest in home grown technologies to reduce cost, drive the digital economy industry.

“We are working with Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to come up with home grown device to lower the cost of the devices that will be used through this initiative, we are working in collaboration with private sector to come up with device local”, he disclosed.

Others present included, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Limited, Prof. M.B Abubakar, Managing Director, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, Dr. Abimbola Alale, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa and Director General, National Identity Management Commission, Engr Aliyu A. Aziz.

Also present were, Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaira, Professor Kabiru Bala; Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri,Professor Nnenna Oti as Representatives of the Academia; President Nigeria Computer Society, Prof. Simon Sodiya, and Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr Gbenga Adebayo Chairman, representative of Nigeria’s Governors Forum among others

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3 injured as 2 armed drones from Lebanon explode in Israel

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Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Lebanon carrying explosives exploded in northern Israel on Tuesday, lightly injuring three people, Israeli authorities said, amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran and its allies.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the armed drones crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory and exploded in the area of Beit Hillel in the Galilee.

Three people sustained light injuries, Israel’s state-owned Kan reported.

The drones did not trigger air raid sirens, and the military said the incident was under review.

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CBN expresses commitment to harnessing digital technologies

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is committed to harnessing the power of digital technologies to enhance financial inclusion.

Mr Yemi Cardoso, CBN Governor, said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a strategic institutions tour by participants of Senior Executive Course 46 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Cardoso, who was represented by Dr Bala Bello, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, said that digital technologies would also boost productivity and create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.

According to him, the apex bank has already deployed robust digital technologies in driving most of its processes towards achieving optimal performance.

He said that NIPSS, as a foremost national policy think-tank, had made invaluable contributions to the socio-political and macroeconomic development of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, not surprised at the apt and relevant choice of your research theme.

“The CBN and NIPSS have had a long-standing and robust working relationship since the establishment of the institute. This has culminated into positive mutual benefits for the two institutions.

“The CBN, on the one hand, has provided infrastructural support to the institute through construction of an auditorium and a hostel, in addition to the provision of technical support.

“On the other hand, NIPSS has supported the technical capacity of the CBN through the training of some personnel both at senior executive course level and intermediate course cadre,” he said.

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, said that the study visiting would be representing the institute in getting information from operators of the apex bank on the relevance of digital technology to developing jobs for Nigerian youths.

According to Omotayo, a lot of progress has been made globally in using digital systems to run the economy.

“The more of our activities that we can put in digital format, the more we get the opportunity of providing employment access to a whole lot of the 120 million active Nigerians.

“We at NIPSS always knock at the frontiers of knowledge, checking what is going to happen in the immediate future.

“We are working towards a system where we believe that almost every service can be delivered digitally,” he said.

The Acting Director, Monetary Policy Department of the CBN, Dr Lafi Bala Keffi, commended the NIPSS study group for its interest in the apex bank.

She urged the participants to explore the time-tested culture of NIPSS, which is to diagnose national, profer practical solutions and recommend ways of making such solutions realisable.

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NCAA suspends licences of 3 private jet owners

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Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended licences of three Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF), otherwise known as private jet owners, over alleged failure to comply with regulatory requirements.

Acting Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo, disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.

Najomo said that after issuing a stern warning to the PNCFs in March, the authority deployed its men to monitor activities of private jet owners at airport terminals across the country.

He said that consequent upon the heightened surveillance, three private operators were found to have violated the annexure provisions of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2023.

Najomo further stated that NCAA would be carrying out a re-evaluation of regulatory requirements compliance of all PNCFs owners within the next 72 hours.

This, he said, this was in line with the authority’s zero tolerance for violations of regulations.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.

“To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a re-evaluation of all holders of PNCF be carried out on or before April 19, to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.

“All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours,” he said.
Najomo recalled that in 2023, the use of private jets for commercial purposes had gotten the attention of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), who issued marching orders for cessation of such acts.

He said that in March, NCAA issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for non-commercial flights, PNCF, against engaging in the carriage of passenger cargo or mail for hire and reward.

Najomo said that the riot act was also directed at existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders who utilised aircraft listed on their PNCF for commercial charter operations.

“It must be emphasised that only the aircraft listed in the Operation Specifications of the AOC are authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services.

“Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it into the AOC operations specification.

“NCAA wishes to reiterate to the travelling public not to patronise any airline charter operator who does not hold a valid AOC issued by the NCAA, when they wish to procure charter operation services,” he said.

The NCAA boss, thereafter, encouraged legitimate players in the aviation industry to promptly report such illegal activities to the authority for necessary action.

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