The National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) in partnership with the Digital Economy and e-Governance Bureau in its continuous efforts to promote national development through effective Information Technology (IT) governance in Nigeria alongside the growing need for a digital economy ecosystem, Imo State Government has organized a Forum for ICT Stakeholder Engagement in Owerri, Imo State.
Other objectives include creating sustainable collaboration and consistent channels for feedback and exchange of ideas, as well as sharing NITDA’s vision, regulatory tools for national development and journey so far with stakeholders.
Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE in his opening address urged participants to use the meeting as a true platform to pool knowledge, experience, expertise and co-create solutions, formulate strategies and extend NITDA’s services to all stakeholders, especially at the grassroots.
Inuwa, who was represented by the Director, Zonal Offices Directorate, Mr. Babajide Ajayi, noted that strategic measures are being taken in the implementation of critical areas of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
The NDEPS, the DG explained, is a strategic document approved by the Federal Executive Council that focuses on eight pillars that are critical to the development of the digital economy.
He further listed the pillars to be included; Development regulation, digital literacy and skills, hard infrastructure, service infrastructure, development and promotion of digital services, digital society and emerging technologies, soft infrastructure and the development and adoption of original content.
“During the twenty-one year journey, we had to constantly look at our mandate, reset our vision and strengthen our mission. We have moved from a highly centralized organization to a functionally decentralized institution.
“Our effort is to be an organization closer to the interested parties. We are also increasingly becoming a process-driven, data-driven and results-oriented organization,” Inuwa emphasized.
He went on to say that “the agency’s strategies and decisions are being pursued while ensuring financial prudence – even in the most turbulent times, and ensuring we meet the national IT governance objectives, most importantly delivering value to our stakeholders”.
Inuwa emphasized the fact that stakeholders come first while assuring everyone that NITDA aims to deliver value to them, underscoring the importance of engagement in clarifying their perspectives, aspirations and needs.
“Some of the people-centric programs we have introduced in consultation with stakeholders and under the supervision of our parent ministry, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, include the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), the National Adopted School for Smart Education (NASSE) , digital literacy education for people with disabilities, support of ICT Innovation Hubs, building community IT centers, development of state IT policy and many other activities”.
“However, there is always a need to change the strategy in view of the new challenges and opportunities that the digital economy ecosystem offers. The NITDA Strategic Plan and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024 has therefore been designed to provide the organization with direction and a solid platform to mitigate anticipated and unforeseen threats to the digital economy ecosystem,” the DG said.
The NITDA boss hoped that the event and indeed the entire stakeholder engagement program across the country would provide new understanding and ideas on how NITDA can deliver values with greater impact to Nigerians.
In his keynote address, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodima, represented by the Honorable Commissioner, Imo State Ministry of Digital Economy and E-Governance, Dr. Chimezie Amadi commended NITDA for organizing the meeting.
He assured that the state government must further strengthen the foundations of digital infrastructure to expand access to new opportunities, build an innovation ecosystem, enhance the quality of the workforce and introduce social protection frameworks.
The program with the theme “Creating opportunities, breaking boundaries: Towards digitization and business evolution” was attended by 81 stakeholders from 3 states of the Southeast.
Participants included ICT experts, representatives of governments, academia, startup ecosystems, ICT associations, technology solution providers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and relevant stakeholders in the digital economy sector.
The event featured presentations by NITDA officials, keynote addresses, interactive sessions and several goodwill messages from the participants.