Nigeria Ready to Fully Embrace Open Data Initiative—Pantami

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has said that Nigeria was taking steps to fully embrace Open Data Initiative in order to compete and attract global recognition in the world of Information Communication Technology, (ICT).

He made this known at the South-South zone of the Nigerian Open Data Conference held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Mr Pantami stated that for Nigeria to play a key role in the ongoing data revolution, there was a need to embrace Open Data Initiative and improve data literacy of its citizenry, especially now that data is the single most important element of innovation in the 21st century.

Speaking on the Open Data Initiative, the Minister said this involves the putting on the internet non-sensitive government information such as agricultural prices, vehicle registration, data online as a national resource in machine readable, reusable and accessible formats for economic growth and the advancement of transparency and accountability in the delivery of services.

He disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had since begun the process of implementing the Open Data Initiative since 2012, in line with the prescripts of the extant National ICT policy, with considerable progress recorded.

To implement the Open Data Nigeria Initiative, Mr Pantami noted that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have an important role to play, including development and operation of MDAs Open Data web pages to interface with central data.gov.ng portal and continuous digitization and uploading of high priority data sets in accordance with format that will be agreed by the conference.

The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Planning Research and Statistics of the Ministry, Mrs Nonye Nwachukwu, noted that the world was in an era where data is driving innovation and is important for Nigeria to key into the trend to become relevant in the global community.

‘‘Data in the 21st century is the single most Important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth. Therefore, for Nigeria to become integral part of data revolution there is the need to embrace Open Data Initiative and improve data literacy of its citizenry, Data is only valuable when it is being used to solve a problem or create opportunities for people,” he said.

The Minister added that the theme of the South South zone of the conference in Uyo, Public Data Resources: A Way forward for Digital Economy, was designed to build capacity of the supply side of the Open Data initiative and to share information on the Open Data Action Plan.

He explained that the essence of the forum was to enable stakeholders brainstorm on the Review and validation of Open Data Policy Document for approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The seminar was designed to cover the six geo-political of the country and in addition to the South-South leg held in Akwa-Ibom, the ministry had also conducted a similar one in the South East at Enugu and North West at Kano.

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