The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is firming up its plans to retain 100,000 jobs and create an additional 30, 000 for the post COVID-19 era.
The agency’s job targets are on course through numerous efforts at creating an enabling environment for the purpose of cushioning the effect of the pandemic and opening new job windows, said Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, recently at the ISN North Regional Gathering 2020; a virtual event organized by Innovation Support Network (ISN) in collaboration with ‘Ford Foundation with the theme ‘Repositioning Hubs for Post pandemic success.’
Among these initiatives is the setting up of the Tech4Covid19 committee which has come up with plans to ensure that it retains about 100,000 ICT jobs, and create additional 30,000 in post COVID-19 era, said Abdullahi, adding: “We swiftly initiated several policies and programmes for the technology ecosystem and startups to be able to withstand the impact of the pandemic.”
According to him, the agency has also rolled out these initiatives in order to ensure that technology continues to enable innovation and entrepreneurship while addressing challenges of the society. He explained that the Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge is where Nigerians were challenged to come up with innovations; to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
He said the NITDA Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Support Scheme supports startups and hubs across the country.
“With over 130 hubs in Nigeria, we are finalizing plans to ensure rapid intervention is provided for hubs and startups based on competence and carefully selected criteria.”
Abdullahi revealed that the agency was following up the startups with highly innovative ideas that were selected for further incubation and mentorship. “This action supports our indigenous and local content policy, thereby creating more jobs.
“Another initiative of the agency is the Startup Clinic which is a platform for gathering startups, mostly young people to meet with mentors, successful entrepreneurs, investors, industry specialist, business consultants and hub operators with the goal of solving problems and challenges they were facing,”
Abdullahi added that, “agriculture as the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, it contributes a significant chunk of gross domestic product (GDP) according to the NBS. If properly harnessed, agriculture will be a massive employer of labour. [That is why] in order to improve agricultural practices and create jobs, the agency initiated its SMART Agric Project where it engages farmers and focuses on using precision/smart farming techniques to ensure significant improvement in efficiency and productivity thereby increasing crop yield; increased profit margin and create more jobs.”
More than ever, “there is a greater need to promote deeper collaborations and partnerships, attract funding from multilateral organizations, as well as guide stakeholders in designing and implementing innovative solutions peculiar to our need and create the needed jobs,” Abdullahi told his audience.