Pantami: Stabilising the ICT Sector in Nigeria
By Mubarak Umar
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)has released Q4 of 2020 Nigeria’s index of Gross Domestic Products (GDP), which indicted that once again, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), surpasses other country’s sectors of the economy, as it accounted 14.70%.
Last year, the Nigeria’s Digital Economy journey gained unprecedented boast in the first quarter of 2020, as ICT contributed, 14.07 percent to the country’s GPD, higher than its contribution in the year 2019, and 13.32 percent in the preceding quarter, in which it accounted for 13.12 percent.
Under Honourable of Communications and Digital Economy, ICT is increasingly being recognised as key enabler in promoting knowledge-based economic growth, creating jobs and providing access to information and knowledge in Nigeria. Access to information and knowledge is stimulating Nigeria’s economic growth by creating new products, increase productivity and promote new commercial and administrative methods.
Virtual meetings and conferencing by government officials and private sectors amid Coronavirus pandemic is a clear indication that the call of the Minister and Agencies supervised by the Ministry is yielding to a positive result.
Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR renamed Communications Ministry to Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, as recommended by the amiable and workaholic Minister, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM. This is aimed at reshaping the entire technological space of the country by making it more reliable especially in the Digital Economy revolutionary era.
Many of youths in the country, view with awe the indefatigable efforts of Dr Pantami in promoting use of Information Technology (IT) in Nigeria to our own benefit. The zeal, selflessness and commitment of Pantami towards achieving this feat is commendable.
Dr Pantami proved to be a public servant who knows his onions. He uses his office to ensure that the people he is meant to serve benefit immensely from his wealth of knowledge and experience. He is faced with high number of people to serve with paucity of funds, but that doesn’t deter him from looking at the demography of Nigeria to serve his its youthful population where youths constitute more than 70% of the population.
Dr Isa Pantami goes round the clock to make sure youths are not only sufficiently informed and given adequate IT knowledge but also become potential employers.
In this millennium where information technology plays a pivotal role in economic development, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is working tirelessly to deepening our knowledge and involvement in the digital world.
Dr Pantami has become steering well in leading Federal Government of Nigeria on strategic implementation programme to diversify the economy.
Oil and gas can no longer be dependant because countries around the world, especially the developed ones, are switching to digitalization in almost all their means of activities, including transportation.
He believes that to develop and improve information technology and transform Nigeria into an IT driven economy with a high level of digital literacy, the youths must be mobilized and motivated. To achieve this, the Ministry through Agencies it supervises, it has carried out training to shape minds and ensure Nigerians embrace digital economy journey.
The Minister has never leave a single stone unturned in ensuring that Nigerian youths are not left behind in this scramble for IT knowledge. He has been fighting for grants for digital solutions to enhance IT delivery. He believes that ICT is the key enabler in promoting knowledge based growth, greatest job creator and the most available provider of access to information and knowledge.
This hero of our time has succeeded in supporting the growth of the nation’s educational sector by donating e-learning facilities to many tertiary institutions in the country.
Apart from the provision of Digital Centres, e-learning facilities, IT Community Centres, the Pantami leadership has also spearheaded the establishment National Centre for Artificial Intelligence, where student will harness, innovate and incubate their ideas for the enhancement of Nigerian economy through digital technology.
It is crystal clear known that IT is the greatest enabler in promoting knowledge based growth, creating jobs and providing information and these are in turn a sine qua non for the stimulation of economic growth.
To achieve this tall order in a country that was far behind in information technology, the ministry, through National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) builds ICT hubs in every nooks and crannies of the country.
Nigeria do not have adequate skilled manpower that will drive local content development and industrialization in Nigeria, therefore IT hubs will go a long way in fostering further development of all sectors. It is part of the Agency’s to regulate and promote IT Sector Development in the country and the creation of these hubs will make the trend achievable.
Once capacity development programmes at these centres are maintained, NITDA is sure to overcome the shortage of skilled manpower and address the poor business investment climate that hampers the growth of the IT sector.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has directed all the Agencies under his ministry to make research grants available for Nigerian start-ups to enable them embark on scientific research for COVID-19. He once quoted stating that the pandemic has actually accorded young Nigerians an opportunity to make innovations that will place Nigeria in the path to Digital Economic Development. Social Distancing and contact tracing of COVID-19 patients are key to containing the pandemic. ICT is a perfect tool for achieving these. He pointed out that COVID-19 necessitated the fast tracking of the National Digital Economic Policy.
There is strong conviction that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has done very well in ensuring that the ministry’s mandates are pursued vigorously and successfully achieved. In doing this he carries youths along as the backbone of the nation.
Mubarak Umar writes from Abuja