Pantami tasks public servants to champion FG’s digital innovations

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Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has called on the Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DTTWGs) to support federal government’s initiatives on achieving a digital Nigeria.

Pantami made the call on Tuesday during the Digitisation Hangout with DTTWGs and Technology/Industry Ecosystem Players in Abuja.

The DTTWGs’ hangout was organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), while the groups were first inaugurated in August 2020 and aimed at ensuring the implementation of IT and digital economy-related projects in the government.

The members of DTTWGs drawn from Federal Public Institutions( (FPIs) were the critical governance structure for implementing the Nigeria e-Government Master Plan (NeGMP) and National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in the public sector.

Represented by Mr. Bitrus Nabasu, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Pantami said that digital transformation in the public service was a key part of government’s strategy for developing indigenous digital economy and would transform the way the public sector operates, creates value, and delivers services to customers.

He recalled Gartner’s report, a research and advisory company which said that global IT spending would reach $3.9 trillion in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to act as a catalyst for digital transformation in almost every major industry.

Pantami said digital transformation requires human capital development, innovative use of digital technologies, collaboration and co-creation between the government and technology industry players, hence the hangout.

“DT-TWGs are expected to support the Federal Government in developing citizen-friendly digital mechanisms to support service innovations and digital transformation for a digital Nigeria.

“DT-TWGs are required to give preference to indigenous digital solutions while making IT decisions in their respective organisations in line with Executive Orders 003 and 005 of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I wish to state that government cannot do it alone. We need the involvement of the technology ecosystem to co-create ideas and innovate,” he said.

The minister directed NITDA to keep strengthening the IT clearance policy drive, capacity building for Chief Executives of FPIs, indigenous IT companies’ registration, Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework, Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture, among other initiatives to accelerate digital transformation in the public sector.

According to him, this is aimed at creating friendly competition between FPIs to enhance digital transformation across board and at the same time create a new sector for economic diversification.

Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Abdullahi, said that Nigeria should be expecting a surge in digital transformation initiatives in the public sector in the coming years to keep up with the pace as the world was experiencing a sudden digital shift.

Abdullahi mentioned that growth in digital transformation had been propelled especially by COVID-19,which had raised the world’s consciousness and reemphasising the importance of digital technologies.

He said the drive for digital transformation prompted the agency to recently launch its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024 to align its mandates to that of the NDEPS.

He added that NITDA had been preparing the FPIs for the digital transformation journey by structuring appropriate implementation plan resulting in the DTTWGs.

He recalled that the DTTWGs were formed in 100 FPIs with different roles aimed at digitalisation of government processes and encompassed departments in each FPI.

“We organised training that lasted for a month in which 442 members were certified. The DT-TWG members were taken through the basic knowledge required to carry out their responsibilities efficiently while leading digital transformation in their organisation.

“Today, we have achieved another milestone by creating a platform for bringing together the DT-TWG members and the key players in the technology industry.

“We hope this engagement will foster cooperation between the DTTWGs and technology industry players and provide a platform where experiences, achievements, and challenges will be shared,” Kashifu said.

Meanwhile, speaking to journalistss during the event, Managing Director of MainOne Technology Company, Mrs Funke Opeke, said they were engaging with the government to ensure that Nigerian data was domiciled and developed in the country.

“Data is very valuable, for marketing, for all kinds of business development, for analysis and we want to see more of Nigerian data stored in Nigeria.

“By storing the country’s data indigenously, jobs would be created and the country would have sovereignty over its data and as well contribute in growing the economy.”

Also,  Country Director Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Mr Woochan Chang said that Korean Government was funding a $13 million project focusing on capacity building and bridging of skills gap in some FPIs and state governments, in partnership with the FG.

Programme Officer, KOICA Nigeria Office, Mr Kayode Adebisi who spoke with journalists said Chang mentioned that the “Project for Building Digital Foundation of e-Government in Nigeria,” was signed in August 5 and expected to last for five years.