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NITDA to intensify digital transformation campaign to grassroots

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has revealed plans to intensify its campaign in taking the benefits of digital technology to all the local governments across the country.

This was disclosed by the NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa when he played host to the Senior Special Advisers to President on Community Engagement – South East, Barr Chioma Nweze; South West, Ms Moremi Ojudu and North West, Hon. Abdallah Tanko Yakassai who visited the Agency to discuss possible areas of collaboration on Nigeria’s digital transformation journey.

This gesture is in total alignment with the present administration’s priority areas, particularly in the area of reforming the economy for sustained inclusive growth.

While stating the agency’s vision for Nigeria where inclusive economic growth is fostered through technological innovation, the NITDA DG noted that the vision aligned with the president’s eight priority areas.

“The President wants to Reform the Economy to Deliver Sustained Economic Growth; Strengthen National Security for Peace and Prosperity; Boost Agriculture to Achieve Food Security; Boost Infrastructure and Transportation as Enablers of Growth; Focus on Education, Health and Social Investment as Enablers of Development; Accelerate Diversification through Digitisation, Industrialisation, Creative Art and Innovation;  and Improve Governance for Effective Service Delivery to Citizens,” he said.

He added that the agency recently crafted its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0) 2024-2027, and its pillars are the tool that will help Mr President in delivering on all the presidential priority areas.

Enumerating the eight pillars of the SRAP, Inuwa highlighted “Foster Digital Literacy and Cultivate Talents” as one of the most important pillars the document is anchored on where inclusivity is pronounced.

“To ensure we are inclusive, we need to get our citizens to be digitally literate, so we developed the National Digital Literacy Framework with an ambitious target of achieving 95 percent digital literacy by 2030 but Mr President cited a mid-term target for us to achieve 70 percent by 2027,” he stated.

He further said that the agency is collaborating with the Ministry of Education in infusing digital literacy into all academic institution’s curricula while at the same time developing standard training with certifications that would be a prerequisite for securing government employment.

“We have already worked with the Head of Service to put it as a requirement for government workers to be digitally literate. But for the market people, artisans and so on, what they need is the literacy to use digital devices to access internet banking, government digital services and others. We have therefore been exploiting many channels to deliver them through TV programmes, social media, radio, roadshows and so on,” he averred.

The NITDA Boss stated that the 3 Million Tech Talent programme was another initiative of the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy in collaboration with the agency to identify skill gaps in the country and build youth’s capacity on skills in high demand locally and internationally.

“We have started the training and so far we have trained over 30,000 and completed the first phase which is a pilot. We are now executing the second phase of the training,” he said.

While giving deep insight into the other seven strategic pillars of Building a Robust Technology Research Ecosystem; Strengthening Policy Implementation and Legal Framework; Promoting Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure and Services; Strengthening Cybersecurity and Enhance Digital Trust; Nurturing an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem; Forging Strategic Partnerships and collaborations and lastly, Cultivating a Vibrant Organisational Culture and an Agile Workforce in NITDA, Inuwa shared the various infrastructures, innovative solutions, sponsorships and training programmes the government has been offering nationwide.

In his remark, Hon. Yakassai appreciated the DG NITDA for his wonderful presentation by sharing insights into the various activities of the agency to ensure a digitally empowered nation by building the digital capacities of Nigerians.

He, however, expressed his team’s willingness to collaborate with the agency in the areas of propagating the agency’s activities to the grassroots throughout the 774 local governments in the country.

“Mr President is a grassroots person that is why he created this office so that we make sure whatever the government is doing is taken down to the grassroots level and we need to show the people the importance of your programmes and how they can key into it,” he stated.

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NITDA inaugurates startup labelling committee for implementation of Nigeria Startup Act

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By Blessing Emmanuel, Abuja

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has taken a significant step towards driving the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) with the inauguration of a Startup Labelling Committee. This committee, inaugurated by NITDA Director-General Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, comprises representatives from both the public and private sectors.

Enacted on October 19, 2022, the NSA established a legal and institutional framework to foster the development and growth of Nigerian startups. A critical provision within the Act is the Startup Label, which recognises eligible startups and grants them access to various benefits outlined in the NSA. The issuance of the Startup Label hinges on a thorough assessment and validation process to ensure a startup meets the eligibility criteria as defined by the Act. The newly formed committee will play a pivotal role in overseeing this process.

In his address at the inauguration ceremony, Inuwa emphasised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration’s unwavering dedication to fostering an environment conducive to the growth and success of young Nigerian innovators. He acknowledged the pivotal role startups will play in propelling the nation’s economic development and the significance of the committee’s work in nurturing and supporting these enterprises.

Inuwa elaborated on the various initiatives and support mechanisms the government plans to implement, aimed at reducing hurdles and providing financial assistance and mentorship opportunities to young entrepreneurs. He expressed optimism about the future, asserting that with the right support, these budding innovators could transform their ideas into thriving enterprises, contributing significantly to job creation and the overall economic prosperity of Nigeria in line with President Tinubu’s priority to “reform the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth.”

He urged stakeholders to join hands in creating a robust ecosystem that would empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to flourish and contribute to the country’s progress. Inuwa added that the committee will be instrumental in establishing a robust legal and institutional framework for the successful implementation of the Startup Act. Their collaborative efforts will ensure a participatory approach that benefits all stakeholders within the Nigerian startup ecosystem.

“The composition of the committee reflects the emphasis on collaboration. Representatives from government agencies, industry experts, investors, and startup founders will bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to the table. This collaborative approach is expected to lead to a more efficient and effective labelling process, ultimately benefiting the growth of Nigerian startups,” he stated.

The National Coordinator of the Office for Nigeria Digital Innovation, Victoria Fabunmi, outlined the terms of reference for the advisory committee. These include reviewing and evaluating startups’ applications for the label based on criteria defined in the Act, periodically updating labelling criteria to ensure alignment with industry trends, and conducting impartial evaluations of submitted applications.

Furthermore, the committee will recommend the issuance or otherwise of the Startup Label based on defined criteria, provide feedback and recommendations on areas of improvement for rejected applications, and engage startups for more clarity where necessary. It will also periodically review its activities and data on labelling to identify opportunities and gaps that policymakers may need to address, review workload capacity, and recommend a fair ceiling for the number of applications to be considered per period.

The Labelling Committee comprises nine members: four representatives of incubators (ISN Rep, North and South), two representatives of the public sector (NITDA, NSIA), two representatives of civil society, and the Portal Coordinator who will serve as Secretary.

The inauguration of the Startup Labelling Committee marks a significant milestone in the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act. With a multi-stakeholder committee guiding the process, the Act has the potential to unlock the immense potential of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development.

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Airtel Nigeria appoints new advertising, media agencies

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Airtel Nigeria has appointed new agencies to handle its advertising and media activities in the country.

This was disclosed by the Director of Corporate Communications and CSR, Mr Femi Adeniran over the weekend.

According to Adeniran, “Following a rigorous pitch process, Airtel Nigeria is pleased to announce the appointment of three marketing communications consulting agencies to collaborate with the internal teams to drive Airtel brand communications, beginning July 1, 2024.

“Insight Publicis and The Hook were successful with their RFPs and have been appointed as advertising agencies while Algorithm Media has been charged with the responsibility for media strategy, planning and buying as well as digital marketing.

“MediaTrak Limited remains the media monitoring agency for Airtel Nigeria,” the statement revealed.

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NIMC boosts data security measures to protect citizens’ information

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By Opeyemi Abdulsalam

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has temporarily suspended the bypass enrolment process to prevent abuse and rectify any irregularities.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by NIMC, Head, Corporate Communications, Kayode Adegoke,  on Saturday.

Bypass enrollment is a way to avoid or skip the process of setting up a device with restrictions and management controls, usually set by an organisation.

This process allows the user to have full control over the device.

“The commission has received numerous reports regarding fraudulent online platforms compelling Nigerians to submit their personal information for national identification number (NIN) modification or enrollment services,” NIMC said.

“Perpetrators of these illegal activities will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“In addition, the commission has temporarily suspended the bypass enrollment process to prevent abuse and rectify any irregularities.”

Adegoke also said NIMC will communicate to the public the resumption of the bypass process later.

The commission also stressed its commitment to providing secured identity services and protecting the citizens’ data per its mandate as Nigeria’s foundational identity provider.

According to NIMC, enhanced measures have been implemented to safeguard the information stored in its national identity database.

“These actions align with the commitment outlined by the Director-General/CEO, Engr Abisoye Coker-Odusote, upon assuming office in August 2023,” NIMC said.

“Engr Coker-Odusote emphasised that the NIMC collaborates with relevant security agencies to uphold the utmost data security standards and regulatory compliance.

“As part of these new security protocols, all licensed verification agents, front end partners (FEPs), and diaspora FEPs will undergo rigorous security vetting to ensure adherence to global best practices in identity management.

“Any FEPs in violation will face sanctions by established regulations and the nation’s laws.”

NIMC said law enforcement authorities have been directed to crack down on and apprehend individuals involved in online phishing schemes targeting citizens’ data from other sources.

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