The Minister, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami joined by the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna on Thursday,23rd July, 2020 virtually commissioned various Digital Economy projects across the country.
Among the projects commissioned includes:
1. Emergency Communications Centre (ECC), Kaduna;
2. Information Technology Hub, University of Lagos;
3. Information Technology Hub, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna;
4. Information Technology Community Centre, Daura, Katsina;
5. Tertiary Institution Knowledge Center, Polytechnic Iwollo, Enugu; and
6. NigComSat Northwest Regional Office, Kaduna.
Speaking during the commissioning, Pantami stated that the projects are geared towards supporting the development of Nigeria’s Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria, in line with the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari to the Communications and Digital Economy Ministry.
“The projects also align with the 3 focus areas of the Federal Government, namely economic development, security and anti-corruption, pantami said.
Pantami further reiterated that the 6 projects commissioned are mapped out to the relevant pillars of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
“The Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) focuses on the pillars #5 and #6; Digital Services Development & Promotion and Soft Infrastructure respectively.
“The Information Technology Hubs and the Information Technology Community Centre address pillars 3, 5, 7 and 8; Solid Infrastructure; Digital Services Development & Promotion; Digital Society & Emerging Technologies and Indigenous Content Development & Adoption.
“The Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre addresses Pillar #2; Digital Literacy & Skills; while the NigComSat Regional Office will focus on Pillars 3, 7 and 8; Solid Infrastructure; Digital Society & Emerging Technologies; and Indigenous Content Development & Adoption.
“The Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) Project, Kaduna was setup to:
i. Promote and enhance public safety through the use of the 112 number, designated as the Universal Safety and Emergency Assistance Number for telephone services generally; and
ii. Encourage and facilitate the prompt deployment of a seamless, ubiquitous and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency communications needs.
“The ECC project is being deployed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) across the country and it will offer the following benefits:
i. Universal, toll-free emergency telephone access for members of the public in times of distress/emergency; and
ii. A one-stop shop for receiving distress calls from the public and dispatching same to appropriate Response Agencies (Police, FRSC, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, etc).
“The Information Technology (IT) Hub project is deployed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Lagos.
“The IT Hub is a state-of-the-art solar powered IT Centre equipped with computers, Internet connectivity and tools designed to create a platform where Technology, Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship are nurtured.
“The Hubs are fully equipped with both networking and computing devices to support the complete state of the art Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) production machines. The centres are expected to develop competency for local production of PCB devices and other downstream components of the IT goods.
“These IT Hubs will provided the following benefits, amongst others:
i. Diversification of the nation’s economy through local production of IT tools and services;
ii. Development of strategic thrusts where technology, finance and human resources are going to be harnessed to create an enabling environment for the potential development of microelectronics, software applications and entrepreneurship;
iii. Bridging the gap between government, academia and the private sector by focusing on the development of indigenous talent through research, business ideation and promotion;
iv. Operate along the full IT value chain, from ideation to commercialization, and will be well positioned to help fulfil the expanding economic missions of the country; and
v. Create a local supply for the IT Sector to meet the increasing demand for IT goods and services from both the public and private sectors.
“The Community Information Technology (IT) Centre was also deployed by NITDA in Daura, Katsina State. It is also a solar powered IT Centre equipped with computers, internet access and tools aimed at enhancing skills development, bridging the digital divide and promoting innovative digital solutions that will address challenges facing the country. It supports capacity building and digital inclusion for underserved/unserved communities.
“It will serve as a good avenue for creating jobs and providing access to information, knowledge and government enabled digital services for rural communities. In addition, these community centre has been deployed to stimulate economic growth by creating new products, increasing productivity and promoting new commercial opportunities.
“The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) deployed a Tertiary Institutions Knowledge Centre (TIKC) at the Enugu State Polytechnic, Iwollo. This project includes bandwidth connectivity and the installation of ICT devices and peripherals. The TIKC project also doubles as an ICT centre for students to acquire and improve their ICT skills. It will promote the use of ICT in teaching and learning at tertiary institutions and their immediate communities.
“Some of the benefits of the project include the following:
i. It will enable lecturers, staff and students to obtain the requisite ICT skills essential for digital economy ecosystem;
ii. It will bridge the digital information knowledge gap especially among the teeming youthful population of Nigeria;
iii. It will provide personalised learning;
iv. It will enhanced research;
v. It will improve student-teacher engagement; and
vi. It will provide access to remote learning resources.
“The final project commissioned was the Northwest Regional office of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat), located in Kaduna. In addition to servicing as an Office, the Centre will support in the creation of job opportunities for the youth as they will be trained on satellite technologies.
“This will empower the youths with the necessary skills to operate as independent installers of NIGCOMSAT services thereby generating income for themselves.
“In addition to this, the establishment of this Centre in close proximity to the people will make it easier for NigComSat to identify cluster service gaps in the rural areas and promptly address this through a strategic partnership with the state governments and the other stakeholders in the broadband eco-system, Pantami reiterated.
In his remark, the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, he commended Dr Pantami as a Minister that is working his talk and has been performing as mandated by President Buhari.
In her goodwill remark, Managing Director NigComSat, Dr. Abimbola Alale said the joint nationwide commissioning of these digital platforms are as a result of synergy that the Honorable Minister Dr. Isa Pantami has brought to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
In his goodwill remark, the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi commended Dr Pantami for the commitment, will and action in implementing the Digital Economy policy. He called on the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to allocate more fund to the Ministry to enable it carry out more programmes.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC In his goodwill remark commended Dr Pantami for digitally transforming Nigeria for Digital Economy.
In his goodwill remark, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola commended the Ministry for enthusiasm in ensuring the Federal Executive Council meeting is held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also commended President Buhari for his committed desire for rapid infrastructure across Nigeria.
In his chairing remarks, Governor Zulum commended Dr Pantami, for his efficient supervision and policy direction of the parastatals under his ministry.
“The establishment of these six (6) projects in different parts of the country will no doubt create employment opportunities and stimulate the National Economy. Honestly speaking, the activities of the ministry of communication was not known to many of us prior to the coming of Pantami.”
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna expressed the special gratitude of the people of Kaduna State to the Minister as the state was a beneficiary of three projects. She affirmed that “these projects will expand the intellectual curiosity of the youths in the state as well as aid learning and the delivery of several social services” She noted that the proactive and sustained intervention of Dr Pantami had ensured that governance was still on track in spite of the Covid 19 pandemic, as the nation leveraged on digital technology to drive its processes. She noted that the event was a testimony that digital technologies, are expanding the footprints of the Digital Economy across the country.