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Adebayo Shittu

Paucity of fund forces Minister to postpone June ‘Smart Cities Summit’

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Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebajo Shittu, on Tuesday in Abuja announced the sudden postponement of the planned Smart Cities Summit Nigeria, a conference designed to weigh the preparedness of Nigerian cities in adapting modern technologies.

Though the minister claimed that the summit initially scheduled to hold last week of June, has been pushed forward to August, to give all participants time to plan and prepare, close sources say the ministry shifted it due to budgetary challenges which can only be resolved when the budget is not only assented, but funds released.

Giving more reasons why the summit is important to Nigeria, Shittu said “It is a common knowledge that more than fifty four percent of the world’s population live in urban cities”. “Continued urbanization will add more people to the urban population and invariably more challenges on government to make our cities more efficient, safer and conducive for our citizens.

Our world is becoming more globalised, interconnected and intelligent. The systems and technologies that underpin so much of how the world works are smarter. We live in a time of unprecedented advances in every sector of human endeavour.

“In the ICT industry of developed economies alone, we are seeing the coming of age of a whole new generation of intelligent systems and technologies: more powerful and accessible than ever before.

He here in Nigeria, “the same cannot be said of our country. We are wrestling with both an infrastructure gap, after years of underinvestment, and an innovation gap from poor innovation performance in the business sector over the years. Improving both is essential to improve our fundamental economic prospects. By linking infrastructure and innovation, we increase the potential to help close both our infrastructure gap and our innovation gap”.

“Our towns and cities are growing rapidly. This demands innovative approaches. Every State in Nigeria however has her own priorities and challenges. While some cities priority may be the modernizing and improving of their transportation portals, others could be bridging communication gaps by making data available to their citizens through various hot-spots across their cities.

“The Nigerian Smart City Initiative is not a silver bullet or a magic wand from government designed to make all cities and government operation ‘smart’ with one shot. Rather, it is a conscious effort by government, working with the private sector and all other stakeholders to forge a public private partnership to develop scalable, replicable, interoperable and measurable solutions that will make our cities and citizens smarter. It starts by doing simple things, the smart way. One step at a time. That is why we are willing to work and partner with everybody in the IT space towards this unique and sustainable project.

According to him, “IT companies will have the chance to team up with cities and infrastructure companies to help advance smart city/smart infrastructure technologies and systems in Nigeria. It is an opportunity to demonstrate and scale up Nigeria IT innovations and to show how IT can be linked with physical infrastructure to deliver business and public benefits”.


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