The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, on Monday commended Federal Government over policies toward promoting indigenous technology.
The Director General of the agency, Dr Isa Pantami, made the commendation at the opening of the three-day 11th edition of eNigeria Conference and Exhibition in Abuja.
The conference has “Promoting Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies through Effective Regulation” as its theme.
According to him, Federal Government is working to reposition the country from a resource-based to knowledge-based economy through the deploying of Information Technology.
Mr Pantami recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari earlier in the year approved Executive Order 003 and 005 which mandated Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to patronise indigenous products, as well as give priority to indigenous engineering services.
He said “the Information Technology sector under the administration of President Buhari has enjoyed tremendous support by approving Executive Orders to encourage indigenous products.
“Through the approval of those executive orders, the IT sector has contributed 12.41 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2018.
“In the second quarter, IT sector contributed 13.63 per cent to the GDP and from Dec. 31, 2017 to Aug. 31, 2018, NITDA was able to save over N30 billion for the Federal
He added that the agency was repositioning the IT sector through digital inclusion, IT regulation, digital job creation, cyber security, digital capacity building, among other intervention strategies.
The Minister for Communications, Dr Adebayo Shittu, said that the Federal Government was committed to growing the country’s economy, noting that the IT
sector was also on the path to steady development.
The minister said “the impact of ICT can be felt in virtually every area of human endeavour and countries are taking advantage of disruptive technologies to transform their economies.
“We have the National ICT Policy, National Broadband, ICT Roadmap, eGovernment Master Plan, Addressing System and Local Content Policy initiatives to deepen the role of ICT in the development of the economy.”
Mr Shittu explained that government was working toward developing broadband penetration to 30 per cent by the end of the year, adding that it was presently at
23 per cent.
According to Mr Shittu, with about 160 million active mobile lines and 90 mobile internet subscribers, mobile technologies are fast proving to be game changers to deepening ICT experience as a nation.
“Nigerian ICT sector is open for investment and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector has increased from 3.2 billion dollars in 2015 to 4 billion dollars in 2018.
“Emerging disruptive technologies are also creating new industries and we can take advantage of this to further attract FDIs to the sector,” Shittu said.
Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in his keynote address, said effective regulation was required for effective development of any economy.
Mr Ribadu said that government needed to explore every available means to fight corruption, adding that modern technologies could mitigate the incidences of corruption.
“Government can deploy Block Chain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Technology and Deep Data Analytics in detecting corruption especially in resources within the public service,” he added.
The former EFCC chairman said that fighting corruption required incorruptible leadership at the highest level.
According to him, the EFCC, through the use of modern technology, has 191 convictions within eight months, over N20 billion funds recovered and over 800 ongoing cases on financial crimes, as well as corruption.
Mr Ribadu, however, called on Federal Government to ensure that men of integrity and character were placed in positions of leadership to mitigate against incidences of corruption for national development.
President Muhammadu Buhari declared the event open and commended NITDA on its regulation, clearance mandate of indigenous product, and urged the agency to be firm.
Mr Buhari, however, said Ministries, Departments and Agencies which refused to subject their IT projects to regulations and clearance must face the law.
He added that the Federal Government was serious about fighting corruption.