The Federal Government of Nigeria announced on Friday that it has established more than 1,667 centers within two years and developed 16 policies to digital economy sector.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, made this known at the commissioning of seven projects of the 11th batch of the digital economy for a digital Nigeria held virtually on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Friday.
Pantami said the seven projects can be assigned to relevant pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy Strategy (NDEPS).
He added that 12 policies had been implemented and four were awaiting approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The projects include the Emergency Communication Centre, Lokoja, Kogi; School Knowledge Centre, Sanda Kyarimi Day Secondary School, Borno; Center for Digital Economy and E-Learning Facilities, Imam Malik Academy, Sokoto State.
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Others include Digital Economy Centre, E-Learning Facilities, Nneato Secondary School, Abia; Center for Digital Economy, E-Learning University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom; Digital Economy Centre, E-Learning Eleyele Secondary School, Oyo State and Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre, Gombe State College of Education.
“The 7 projects are part of the policy of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and are supervised by the Ministry.
“These projects are part of several other projects that we have completed.
“Over the past two years, we have developed policies, initiated programs and implemented projects to ensure that Nigeria’s digital economy continues to play a key role in the growth of our economy.
“The Tertiary Institutions Knowledge Center (TIKC) has been deployed by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).
“This project includes bandwidth connectivity and the installation of ICT devices and peripherals.
“The TIKC project also serves as an ICT center where students can acquire and improve their ICT skills.
“It will promote the use of ICT in teaching and learning in tertiary institutions and their immediate communities,” he said.
The minister said the digital economy is a key driver for innovation, competitiveness and economic growth, adding that no country could build a digital economy without a constant pool of highly skilled creative talent.
However, he noted that knowledge institutions played a crucial role in the development of the digital economy, as they served as centers for generating and passing on new knowledge to citizens.
He said these institutions not only equip individuals with relevant knowledge and skills, but also provided a vibrant environment that could stimulate innovation, enabling them to make meaningful contributions to the socio-economic development of society.
He quoted the World Bank as saying: “Digital technologies are predicted to be a major driver of productivity, with successful economies depending on a greater number of digitally skilled workers than they have previously.
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“For example, a Digital Single Market in Europe is expected to increase the region’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) by €415 billion and increase the need for a new set of digital skills by 12 percent by 2024.
“It is a recognition of the need to provide our citizens with the knowledge required to thrive in the digital economy that we are deploying projects like the ones launched today.”
He encouraged all host communities of the interventions offered by the government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to take full advantage of the facilities for the benefit of their communities.
Pantami thanked partners and stakeholders and also praised the heads of both parastatal agencies for taking on responsibilities and urging them to redouble their efforts to ensure that the projects were maximized.
For his part, the Executive Vice-President (EVC), NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the projects were the result of stimulating policies and institutions overseen by the ministry.
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Danbatta also said the projects would enable Nigeria’s digital transformation.
Dignitaries at the event include Ag. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Ms. Nonye Nwachukwu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, (NCC), Mr. Adeleke Adewolu.
Among others, the General Manager, Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Limited, Prof. Mohammed Abubakar, the Director General, NITDA, Malam Kashifu Inuwa, also participated.