The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali-Pantami, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring that Nigeria is abreast with the global digital innovation trend, despite COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister made the commendation on Tuesday while speaking at the Nigeria Innovation Summit 2020 tagged: ‘Innovation in Critical Times’ organised by Innovation Hub Africa.
Represented by the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa-Abdullahi, the minister said Mr Buhari is committed towards making Nigeria a Digital Economy giant, not only in Africa, but the world at large.
Mr Pantami said: “In Nigeria, we are lucky to have the right leadership at this time. The government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR has set the foundation to innovate even before COVID-19.
“On 23rd October 2019, the President renamed and expanded our Ministry’s mandate to cover the digital economy.
“And on 28th November 2019, the president launched the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for Digital Nigeria, and he us to start implementation immediately.
“On 19th March 2020, just before the lockdown, the president launched Broadband Plan and unveiled Digital Nigeria initiatives, and flagged off digital skills and literacy trainings.
“At the ministry, we blazed the trail in remote working and set the pace for innovation in this country during the pandemic.
“We conceptualised and implemented groundbreaking initiatives under the lockdown. Here we are today as a ministry coming through the pandemic in a fine style.
These initiatives set the foundation that helped us as a country to innovate and navigate our ways from the crisis mode to the recovery stage.
“At the Ministry and agencies it supervises, we started groundbreaking initiatives that will be game-changer in the innovation ecosystem.
“We have achieved almost all the objectives. We collaborated with the ecosystem to host the COVID-19 innovation challenge, where innovators were invited to showcase their ideas to manage the pandemic.
“The winners got prizes and fundings that helped them turned their ideas into impact. We handheld them developed working products and services,” he added.
Speaking on the summit, the minister said the theme of this year’s summit is exciting, “because never before has innovation been more critical than now, especially now that COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to embrace new practices such as social distancing and remote working and everything”.
According to him, the new practices are making innovation to have a profound influence on exit strategy from the pandemic.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that some exciting inventions from the competition include an indigenous ventilator, a smart decontamination chamber, and MyClinic App, an online platform that enables users to hold video consultations with qualified medical doctors from anywhere and at any time either using its mobile app or via a toll-free line.