Nigeria recorded 11.81% growth in its ICT sector in the second quarter of 2018 indicating a positive growth curve in the economy despite challenges, President Muhammadu Buhari has said this week, in Abuja, as he declared open the 2018 eNigeria Conference and Exhibition organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that erred against the IT Clearance policy of the government will also be sanctioned, the president affirmed at the opening of the three days event with the theme: “Promoting Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies through Effective Regulation” The Keynote presentation was made by former anti corruption czar and pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
The president expressed pleasure at the efforts made by the NITDA in effecting the Presidential Executive Order 003, mandating all MDAs to give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services, in order to strengthen its implementation as well as provide clear policy directions. His words:
“You may recall that in my address at last year’s event, I raised a number of issues relating to ICT’s role in fostering the digital economy in Nigeria, including:
- The sector’s contribution of about 10% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the need for efforts to be made in enhancing this, especially in our efforts of diversifying the economy. I am pleased to note that this has been taken seriously and stakeholders’ efforts resulted in ICT emerging as one of the key performers of the second quarter of 2018 by recording 11.81% growth.
- Challenged our reliance on foreign hardware resulting into the importation of about 80% of ICT hardware through local distributors of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) by MDAs and other government establishments as well as the need for concerted efforts aimed at reversing the trend. It is indeed pleasing to note the efforts by all relevant stakeholders in forging strategic partnerships towards ensuring that Nigeria becomes an export hub for ICT hardware in Sub-Saharan Africa. The efforts of NITDA aimed at reorganising the registration and certification process for OEMs to ensure adherence to world class standards as well as guarantee quality and durable devices are highly commendable. The Agency is encouraged to work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure strict compliance to these new regulatory instruments.”
President Buhari said that it had become expedient to ensure MDAs adhere to the provision of the executive order as his administration was determinae not to fail in its quest to eliminate corruption in government businesses and in the wider society. He noted that NITDA’s initiative focused on the Registration of IT Contractors and Service Providers in collaboration with other regulatory bodies with special emphasis on competencies. According to him, this will ensure the delivery of quality IT projects, as well as facilitate the development of indigenous IT companies in line with global best practices.
In his speech, convener of the eNigeria conference and expo and Director-General/CEO of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami said the agency remains committed to driving the goals of the federal government and working within the framework of its mandate to build a digital economy as desired by the fedeearl government.
“E-Nigeria provides a platform for all the stakeholders to brainstorm on germane issues on the front burner of our nation’s ICT sector in order to proffer ingenious solutions.
“The e-Nigeria 2018 theme, “Promoting a Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies Through Effective Regulations” is a response to the complex mix of digital opportunities, challenges and burdens, driven by the increasing influence of emerging technologies on commerce and society. The major goal of e-Nigeria 2018 is to accelerate the development and access to digital products and services to millions of Nigerian citizens, ultimately creating Africa’s largest single digital market by 2020.
“In the last two years we have redoubled our efforts in regulating and developing the ICT sector as we seek to be the prime catalyst for transforming Nigeria into an Information Technology (IT) driven economy. As part of these efforts, I led a team that developed a 2017-2020 Strategic Roadmap for the Agency as well as an Action Plan for the attainment of the goals listed in the Roadmap,” said Pantami.
Earlier the Minister of Communications, Dr Adebayo Shittu had outlined his ministry’s focus on achieving the government’s ICT goals including deploying national broadband, building capacity and bolstering local content. His words:
“Mr. President has admonished us to be a nation that grows what we eat and consumes what we produce. We are also committed to ensuring that we give preference to home grown solutions for the long-term sustainable growth of the ICT sector. Executive orders have been given in this regard and we have policies in place to make this a reality. In addition to promoting established ICT companies, we are also ensuring that we have a thriving startup ecosystem to provide opportunities to our teeming youths.
“The Nigerian ICT sector is open for investment and it noteworthy that the Foreign Direct Investment in the sector has increased from $3.2billion in 2015 to $4 billion in 2018. Emerging disruptive technologies are also creating new industries and we can take advantage of this to further attract FDIs to the sector.”
The eNigeria drew participation from public and private sectors. Dignitaries at the opening event include Board Chairman, NITDA, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Executive Vice Chairman Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta; and Managing Director of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC), Mallam Abbas Masanawa.
The eNigeria conference and expo contimues today and ends tomorrow.