The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has called on the Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups, DTTWGs, to support the Federal Government’s initiatives on achieving a digital Nigeria.
Mr Pantami made the call on Tuesday at the Digitisation Hangout with DTTWGs and Technology/Industry ecosystem players in Abuja.
The hangout was organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, while the groups were first inaugurated in August 2020, with the aim of ensuring the implementation of IT and other digital economy-related projects in the government.
Members of DTTWGs are drawn from Federal Public Institutions, FPIs, that are critical to the governance structure for implementing the Nigeria e-Government Master Plan (NeGMP) and the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, NDEPS, in the public sector.
Represented by Bitrus Nabasu, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Pantami said that digital transformation in the public service was a key part of government’s strategy for developing an indigenous digital economy that would transform the way the public sector operates, creates value, and delivers services to customers.
He recalled a report by Gartner, a research and advisory company, which said that global IT spending would reach $3.9 trillion Dollars in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to act as a catalyst for digital transformation in almost every major industry.
Mr Pantami said digital transformation required human capital development, innovative use of digital technologies, collaboration and co-creation between the government and technology industry players, hence the hangout.
“DT-TWGs are expected to support the Federal Government in developing citizen-friendly digital mechanisms to support service innovations and digital transformation for a digital Nigeria.
“DT-TWGs are required to give preference to indigenous digital solutions while making IT decisions in their respective organisations in line with Executive Orders 003 and 005 of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I wish to state that government cannot do it alone. We need the involvement of the technology ecosystem to co-create ideas and innovate,” he said.
The minister directed NITDA to keep strengthening the IT clearance policy drive, capacity building for Chief Executives of FPIs, indigenous IT companies’ registration, Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework, Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture, among other initiatives, to accelerate digital transformation in the public sector.
According to him, this is aimed at creating friendly competition between FPIs to enhance digital transformation across board, and at the same time create a new sector for economic diversification.
Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, said that Nigeria should be expecting a surge in digital transformation initiatives in the public sector in the coming years, in a bid to keep up with the pace as the world was experiencing a sudden digital shift.
Mr Inuwa cited the growth in digital transformation propelled especially by COVID-19,which had raised the world’s consciousness and re-emphasised the importance of digital technologies.
He said that the drive for digital transformation prompted the agency to recently launch its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024 to align its mandates to that of the NDEPS.
He added that NITDA had been preparing the FPIs for the digital transformation journey by structuring appropriate implementation plans that resulted in the DTTWGs.
Mr Inuwa also recalled that the DTTWGs were formed in 100 FPIs, with different roles aimed at the digitisation of government processes and encompassed departments in each FPI.
“We organised trainings that lasted for a month in which 442 members were certified. The DT-TWG members were taken through the basic knowledge required to carry out their responsibilities efficiently, while leading digital transformation in their organisation.
“Today, we have achieved another milestone by creating a platform for bringing together the DT-TWG members and the key players in the technology industry.
“We hope this engagement will foster cooperation between the DTTWGs and technology industry players and provide a platform where experiences, achievements, and challenges will be shared,” Mr Inuwa said.
The Managing Director of MainOne Technology Company, Funke Opeke, said they were engaging with the government to ensure that Nigerian data was domiciled and developed in the country.
“Data is very valuable, for marketing, for all kinds of business development, for analysis, and we want to see more of Nigerian data stored in Nigeria.
“By storing the country’s data indigenously, jobs would be created and the country would have sovereignty over its data, as well contribute in growing the economy.”
Woochan Chang, Country Director, Korea International Cooperation Agency, KOICA, said that the $Korean Government was funding a $13 million dollar project focused on capacity building and bridging of skills gap in some FPIs and state governments, in partnership with the FG.
Chang stated that the project, “for Building Digital Foundation of e-Government in Nigeria”, was signed in Aug. 5, to last for five years.