Nigeria’s IT clearinghouse, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), says it already has strategies to fully leverage the advantages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR); and mitigate possible loss of jobs as automation takes sound footing across all sectors in the country. The agency says it is strengthening the innovation capacity of the IT industry including the startup ecosystem to save and create new jobs.
“It is important to note that with the 4th Industrial Revolution presenting both immense opportunities and challenges, utmost cooperation is required to ensure it benefits our economic, social, cultural, and individual lives”, said the Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi at a recent international conference on Information Technology in Education and Development (ITED 2020) organised by Academia in Information Technology Profession, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria; an affiliate of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).
Abdullahi said NITDA was regularly updating its regulatory frameworks to reflect trends in the industry including the FIR as well as making considerations for economic, environmental and social realities in ways that best serve the Nigerian people.
“One of our priorities as a regulatory agency is to strengthen the innovation capacity of the IT industry, which is why we have been deploying hubs and technology infrastructures in various parts of the Nation,” noted Abdullahi and added: “We provide assistance to SMEs, start-ups and researchers by funding projects in line with digital innovation.”
Abdullahi admitted that several studies have indicated that some jobs are vulnerable to automation in the next decade and organisations must of necessity, adapt to the rapid transformation, and security risks triggered by digitization.
This underscores its continuous investment to strengthen the local innovation ecosystem and provide assistance to SMEs, start-ups.
The NITDA’s boss, who was represented by Director of IT Infrastructure Solutions, Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi, assured participants that the agency was aware of the concerns as it will continue establish adequate regulatory system for new business models and services, while allowing the economy and the society to benefit from innovative ideas.
He said as Nigeria’s technology space improves to reflect the dynamics of the global tech industry, NITDA was working round the clock to balance the concerns and advantages of FIR by working closely with all stakeholders.
His words: “This is the reason we are ensuring that all stakeholders from civil society, private and public sector are fully involved in the decision-making. We do engage stakeholders in our policy making processes.”
Abdullahi emphasised that in order to better understand the FIR, it is important to focus on the technologies driving aspects, which are: artificial intelligence (AI), block-chain, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), holographic storages, nanotechnology, robotics, biotechnology, IoT and many others.