Pantami advocates skills preference over certificates

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..as FG commissions 5 digital economy projects in Gombe State

By Ogaga Ariemu

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has reiterated that Nigerians should give preference to skills over paper qualifications to fit into various sectors of the economy while commissioning five digital economy projects.

Pantami who spoke at the official commissioning of five Digital Economy projects in Gombe state, facilitated by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

He stressed that Nigerian should focus more in acquiring skills in the digital age, rather than going for only the certificate, according to him, the country should follow the global trend, giving example of many European countries, where cc are not needed to get jobs.

The minister said that in some regions, people are engaged not because of the school they attended or the impressive degree certificate they obtained, but because of the skills they possessed to work practically.

While commenting on Federal Government’s commitment towards realisation of Digital Economy, Pantami said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been making giant move to diversify the nation’s economy from natural resources economy to knowledge economy, indicating that this is why the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, through its parastatals is building ICT Innovation Parks IT Centres and Capacity Building Centres across the country.

The five Digital Economy projects that were commissioned by the Minister on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari are: NITDA IT Hub, Gombe State Univesity, NITDA Innovation and Incubation Park, Federal University Kashare, ICT Community Centre, Tudun Wada, IT Training Centre, Dukku, and Nigerian Communications Satellite Regional Office, all in the Jewel State.

The Minister said that digital literacy and skills recognised the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy, adding that ICT Innovation Hubs support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.

Pantami re-echoed that the digital economy is a prime catalyst for development, noting that in less than one year, Federal Government’s modest efforts has already yielded remarkable results.

According to him, the first quarter and second quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT contributed an unprecedented 14.07 and 17.83 per cent respectively to Nigeria’s total GDP.

He added that to achieve modest Digital Economy, proper training for teaming Nigerian youths is necessary, and the Ministry provided a platform – www.digitalnigeria.gov.ng – to enable Nigerians receive training in different digital skills.

Earlier in his remarks, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi stated that the Innovation and Incubation Hub, Park and IT Centres situated at the prestigious universities and communities are meant for academia, industries, entrepreneurs, risk capitals, startups as well as residents of Gombe State to maintain them in order to harvest and incubate ideas to drive innovation enterprise to support digital economy.

He said the centre is in line with economic diversification of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, as well as National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria, adding that the centres will serve as a platform of providing research especially in capacity building, emerging technologies, robotics and artificial intelligence.

He further urged the management of the universities and other communities where the centres are located to make use of them in bridging the gap between academia, industries and corporate in order to create jobs for our teaming youth.

Meanwhile the Vice Chancellors of the Universities, Prof. Aliyu Usman El-Nafaty, Professor Alhassan Mohammed Gani, expressed their profound gratitude to the Federal Government of Nigeria for awarding the project in the institutions, and as well appreciated the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), for coming up with the idea when he was Director General of NITDA.