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The story of NITDA explains Nigeria’s journey to a digital economy—DG
The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi has revealed that “The story of NITDA explains Nigeria’s journey to a digital economy”.
In his address at the 20th anniversary of the agency in Abuja on Monday, he explained that “The journey is slow but quintessential evolution into a Digital Nigeria despite the many daunting challenges we face.
Business Hilights recalls that the agency was established in April 2001, to be precise, on the 18th of April 2001, following the Federal Executive Council’s approval of the National Information Technology Policy in March 2001. Consequently, the National Assembly passed into law the NITDA Act, 2007, which mandates the Agency to regulate, develop, and advise on Information Technology practices in Nigeria.
Abdullahi recalled that “Ever since, NITDA has been working assiduously to help Nigeria catch the train of the 4th industrial revolution without leaving any sector of the economy behind. The Agency has played critical roles in national development by providing the legal framework for information technology development, pioneering IT developmental projects, facilitating access to information technology goods and services, catalysing job creation and ensuring national security.
“I am happy to say that NITDA has substantially actualised the National IT Policy’s goal to digitise Nigeria and the Agency is now in the phase of digitalising the country. What is the difference between digitisation and digitalisation? Digitisation means using IT to enhance traditional processes. In comparison, digitalisation means using IT to deliver new value propositions through innovation. It is about taking advantage of IT as a source of inspiration and strategic national economic, security and social platform.
“On the 23rd of October 2019, based on the digitalisation objective, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, approved the re-designation of our Ministry as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. The primary purpose of the re-designation was to create a policy framework that would oversee the development of the digital economy for a digital Nigeria. Subsequently, on the 28th of November 2019, the President unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) to facilitate the diversification of our economy and position Nigeria to tap from the $11.5trillion global digital economy worth. NITDA is playing pivotal roles to actualise the objectives of the NDEPS as it had done with the National IT Policy.
He averred that “There is no doubt that there are a lot of achievements recorded by the Agency since its establishment. These achievements include huge ICT contribution to GDP from less than 0.5% in 2001 to more than 14% in 2020, catalysing job creation and igniting innovative activities in the tech ecosystem. Likewise, we have achieved a lot in digital inclusion and literacy. As a result, now we are witnessing the emergence of new economic sectors like Fintech, eCommerce, Venture Capital investment, Business Process Outsourcing, Data Protection Compliance Organisations, IT equipment manufacturing, and robust software industry.
According to the DG, “With this important milestone in carrying out our mandates, we think our 20th anniversary is worth celebrating. Since its establishment, NITDA has evolved in many aspects and responded to its mandates’ dynamics.”