Implementation Of NDEPs Will Consolidate The Gains And Sustainably Grow Nigeria’s Digital Economy – FG

The Federal Government on Tuesday 23rd August 2022 held the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Council on Digital Economy & eGovernment Master Plan consisting of high-profile representatives from the government, Industry, academia, and other professional bodies to ensure an all-inclusive approach to the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Prof Isa Ali Pantami who chaired the meeting on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari mentioned and explained the eight pillars of the umbrella policy.

He expressed the hope that if implemented the latter, it would consolidate the gains recorded so far and boost the growth of the digital economy sector.

“On the 28th of November, 2019, the President personally launched and unveiled the Nigerian National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria 2020-2030. In addition, on the 19th of May, 2020, Mr. President also launched and unveiled Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025”.

“In all these policies that President Muhammadu Buhari has launched and unveiled, he made it very clear one of the priority areas of this administration is economic development, particularly the digital economy, to diversify the major sources of revenue for government”, Prof. Pantami noted.

Prof. Pantami alluded to the fact that the digital journey has been highly commendable across the board, given the unprecedented contributions and impact the sector has had on the Nation’s gross domestic product GDP.

“Despite our modest achievements and gains, challenges are inevitable from time to time. So, this document is not only a Federal Policy but also a National one which implies that other tiers of government have a strong role to play, particularly the governors as well as institutions under their leadership towards addressing those challenges for good”, the Minister stressed.

The Minister acknowledged the thoughtfulness of President Muhammadu Buhari in the selection of one governor from each geopolitical zones to represent the entirety of Nigerians.

While noting that the aim of the strategic composition and adoption of the triple helix model of innovation is to ensure that any policy or decision to be taken at the Federal level would be accepted and implemented by States.

“The Governors of Edo State, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and Gombe were selected by President Buhari to represent the South-South, South-East, South-West, North-Central, North-West, and North-East respectively”.

“Mr. President has also appointed two Vice-Chancellors to represent the academia in the Council; including that of Ahmadu Bello University and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. The Industry is so fully represented”, he added.

He expressed confidence in the Council’s ability to achieve the expected outcomes in the implementation process.

“The policy is the global best practice because no country’s digital economy can be implemented without bringing key institutions of government, particularly sub-nationals and States as most of the decisions cannot be implemented by the government alone”, Prof. Pantami said.

He maintained that: “Although the implementation of the policy kick-started immediately after it was launched; looking at the baseline we had established then, and what we have achieved so far, there Isa gainsaying the fact that it is indeed commendable because it is within this period that the ICT sector contributed 17.92% to the GDP.

“Within this period also we trained over five hundred thousand Nigerians and signed partnerships with tech giants where one of them supported our youths by training a minimum of Five Million as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. We have even signed another partnership with one of the tech giants where they will establish about three hundred ICT academies in Nigeria to up the digital skills of our citizens”, the Minister recounted.

On the e-Governance Master Plan, the Minister said the Federal Executive Council FEC had approved the National e-Governance Master Plan in which subnational also have a role to play.

“Recently, we signed an MoU with the Korean Government where they intend to support Nigerian Government towards the implementation of the Plan with a minimum of Thirteen Million Dollar and this has already been signed”, Pantami concluded.

The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa, who is also the Secretary to the Council while briefing members on the Council’s Terms of Reference, enumerated seven areas and concerns.

Inuwa also shared the proposed Implementation strategies and hoped that all decisions by the Council would align with the Policy and Master Plan to achieve the goals of its creation.

He submitted two prayers for consideration: For the Council to ratify the Terms of Reference (ToR)  and for the Chair to create a sub-committee to handle each of the thematic areas as well as come up with an implementation plan”, Inuwa maintained.

The meeting also featured paper presentations on the subject matter.

The Council which was inaugurated on Friday 10th June 2022 by President Muhammadu Buhari, is the highest body to provide strategic directions for e-Governance and Digital Economy in Nigeria.

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