By Ogaga Ariemu
Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr Kashifu Abdullahi has described information technology as a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2020.
He, Mr Kashifu, made this statement while delivering his remarks at the International Webinar meeting organized by the Information Technology (Industry) Association Nigeria (ITAN) Kano, Abuja Chapters recently.
He, Abdullahi, said that despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic on all economies of the world, the country’s ICT grew by 14 per cent compared to growth of 13.12 per cent in the previous quarter as people relied more on digital platforms during the lockdown.
Abdullahi who was represented by the Director e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr. Vincent Olatunji said, “NITDA, as the agency with the responsibility to oversee the IT sector, is at the forefront of creating initiatives and schemes to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s ICT sector, particularly the startup ecosystem.”
He noted that NITDA, with its two special purpose vehicles; The Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) and the Office for Nigerian Content Development (ONC) are working hard at achieving their mandates of fostering the growth of technology Startup ecosystem and ensuring patronage of local content in ICT.
Some of these initiatives, according to the DG, include Work Permit for Technology Startups during lockdown; The Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge where three startups with the following solutions emerged winners: locally made ventilator, decontamination chamber and e-Health monitor Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme (TIESS) which have the following schemes; Incubation Programme; Technical Capacity Building, Internship Programme, Hub Upscaling.
These schemes are designed to target various aspect for the ecosystems to achieve maximum positive effect on the ICT ecosystem. Another programme in the pipeline is Startup Workspace Voucher programme aimed at supporting young startup to overcome their financial challenges.
While thanking the organisers of the Webinar event, Abdullahi added that, “We at NITDA believe that with strategic partnership and collaborations with stakeholders, we can build a new Nigeria with a robust digital economy.”
Participants at the event include, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, the Minister of the FCT, Malam Musa Bello were both co–hosts, other International Participants and Presenters at the webinar are: Ahmad Hashim, CEO of Pen Test Digital Services, Engineer Titus Olowokere, based in Atlanta, Georgia ,US, Dr Amado Espinosa, US-based, Professor Sou Mita Dutta of Cornell University, US, and Professor Abdullahi Adamu, Vice Chancellor of the National Open University, Abuja.