Delegates at the just ended e-Nigeria 2018 Conference, Exhibition and Awards that held from 5th – 7th November in Abuja, have asked the Nigerian government to establish technology banks focused on providing flexible credit financial services to empower Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in order to make the country achieve the United Nations’ requirements for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The delegates drawn from the public and private sectors of the economy inked in the communiqué that technology banks are imperative to meeting the unique financial needs of knowledge companies desiring to bring disruptive solutions to the market.
The event is organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) with the theme: “Promoting a Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies through Effective Regulations.’ eNigeria is Nigeria’s flagship international conference, exhibition and awards that brings stakeholders together in the IT industry to deliberate on emerging technologies, and local innovations. The event was declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The stakeholders expressed concerns at the low penetration of technology in government. They want government to automate the Nigerian procurement processes to effectively curb corruption; more deployment of disruptive technologies in the public sector that would enhance faster delivery of services to citizens; and the need by NITDA to assist the 36 states to accelerate digital promotion so as to foster the implementation of the various digital inclusion policies across Nigeria.
The stakeholders commended NITDA for establishing incubation centres and hubs but advised the agency to extend this initiative to tertiary institutions.
Automation of party registration process
They also want the NITDA to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to mandate all existing political parties in Nigeria to automate their membership registration process and database as it is crucial in ensuring effective elections.
Also they want NITDA to ignite Nigeria’s Application Program Interface (API) economy by building a National Mobile Big Data Analytics Platform to enable business ecosystems create solutions for government organizations.
Part of the communiqué also states that the NITDA should work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that it clears all ICT projects by MDAs before implementation and defaulters should be reported to the Presidency for appropriate sanctions; all MDAs should give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services in line with the Executive Orders 003 and 005; the NITDA should work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure strict compliance to the new regulatory instruments on the registration and certification process for OEMs developed by the agency.
Delegates stressed that the NITDA should use its regulatory instruments to ensure the full implementation of the Nigerian ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision that focuses on the development of Digital Infrastructure, Education Reform, Skills Development and Research and Development as well as supporting the ecosystem.
The eNigeria gathering is an annual forum. State dignitaries at the conference included the Chairman, Senate Committee on ICT, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari; Chairman, House Committee on ICT, Honourable Mohammed Onawo Ogosi; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Muhammed Bello; and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN; Minster of Sports, Barr. Solomon Dalung; Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri; Chairman, Board of Directors of NITDA, Prof. Adeolu Akande; Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai; and Executive Secretary, Petroleum Equalization Fund (Management) Board, Alhaji Ahmed Bobboi.
Others are Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Emefiele; Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu; Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta; Director General/CEO, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr Dan-Azumi Ibrahim; Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Alh. Mohammad Babandede; Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru; Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Alhaji Umau Ibrahim; Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Azeez; Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company, Alhaji Abbas Umar Masanawa; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim; and Managing Director/Chief Executive, Galaxy Backbone Plc, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure.
Also in attendance were the Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Gashua, Prof Andrew Haruna; Vice Chancellor, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Prof. Saminu AbdurRahman Ibrahim; Vice Chancellor of Nile University, Prof.(Dr.) Huseyin Sert; and Acting Vice Chancellor, Military University, Biu, Prof David Malgwi.
The keynote address was delivered by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The convener and host of eNigeria is the Director-General/Chief Executive, NITDA, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.