By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has unveiled plans toward being part of the global digital economy that will help boost national development in 2020.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, rolled out these strategies at a media parley in the nation’s capital, Abuja, last Friday, where he reiterated Nigeria’s commitment towards transitioning to a digital economy.
He stated that starting with the new year, the ministry would be working effectively towards the eight pillars of the policy which are: Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Promotion of Digital Services, Software Infrastructure, and Digital Society and Emerging Technologies.
The parley, which had in attendance members of the Abuja chapter of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters Asssociation (NITRA) and was convened by the Minister, sought to enlighten the media about steps that had been taken by ministry to enhance the transition to digital economy in 2020.
Mr Pantami said this was particularly significant as it enables Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – which is the most diverse and fastest growing sector – to mobilise other sectors and align with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the federal government.
The Minister stated that the implementation of the strategy had started, adding that by the end of the decade, government expects every Nigerian to have connected with and expressed the goal of digital Nigeria by being computer literate, owning a digital device (which the agencies in the Ministry have been assisting to facilitate), having access to the Internet, owning a bank account that can be accessed and operated digitally and online.
Beyond financial services, the Minister said the federal government hopes to see majority of the citizens undertake many activities electronically which will help spur digital innovation and digital entrepreneurship to aid national GDP and build a robust digital economy.
The Minister emphasised that digital innovation and digital entrepreneurship are particularly important in ensuring increase in Nigeria’s GDP and making a comparison between Nigeria and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he stated that Nigeria’s GDP was $397 billion while MIT’s GDP is about five times higher. He attributed this gap to inputs of digital innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Minister noted that Nigeria is blessed and needs to leverage that potential to ensure her teeming youths acquire certified skills that will make them to be potential employers.
He also called for the promotion of the social media to support the digital economy by engaging it to achieve legitimate economic prosperity rather than for the promotion of division and hatred among the people of Nigeria.
“Let us use our skills positively to promote digital economy because the World Economic Forum (WEF) has predicted that by 2022, 60 percent of the world economy will be digital,” he said.
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