FG Gives Directives To Pantami, Danbatta, And 26 Others To Revitalize Nigeria’s Economy Using Digital Technology

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oPresident Muhammadu Buhari has established the Presidential Council on Digital Economy and E-government, saying that his administration will continue to use digital technologies to improve all sectors of the economy.

The President authorized Prof Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, to chair the Council on his behalf and provide regular updates.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, sits on that Council alongside the Minister.

He charged members of the Council with working to increase the government’s capacity to create, implement, and deploy digital technologies to make government more effective and transparent, ultimately enhancing Nigeria’s global standing in the ease of doing business index.

The President stated that the Council, whose members were chosen after a lengthy and meticulous process, will offer the oversight required to create a true structure for speeding progress in the country’s digital economy and e-government implementation.

He urged every member of the Council to view the mission as a national assignment and to justify the trust placed in them to assist and greatly boost Nigeria’s digital transformation.

“On November 28th, 2019, I introduced the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and expanded the mandate of the then Ministry of Communications to include Digital Economy.

“The implementation of that policy and mandate has enabled us to make great progress and achieve multiple firsts.” The global economic impact of the COVID-19 epidemic demonstrated that the actions we made in formulating and implementing NDEPS were indeed opportune.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Information and Communications Technology sector was the fastest growing industry in both the fourth quarter of 2020 and the entire year 2020.

“The sector’s 14.70 percent double-digit growth rate was critical in assisting our country to leave the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic much sooner than specialists projected.

“The ICT sector’s considerable contribution of 17.92 percent to our GDP in the second quarter of 2021 is another illustration of the digital economy’s significant impact on the whole economy.

“In the same spirit, the expansion of our digital economy sector enabled us to cope with the effect of the lock-down because both government and commercial sector activities, as well as educational activities, were able to transfer to online platforms,” he said.
Furthermore, President Buhari expressed satisfaction that the National Policy on Virtual Engagements for Federal Public Institutions was approved, which has helped to formalize government online gatherings.

He stated that statutory meetings such as the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Council of State, and others can now be held effectively and lawfully online.

He stated that the international world has recognized Nigeria’s accomplishments in e-governance, including the selection of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as Chairman of the 2022 Forum of the highly esteemed World Summit of the Information Society.

While congratulating the Minister, the President said that the Ministry has collaborated with the Korea International Cooperation Agency to create a National e-government Master Plan, which was adopted by the FEC in August 2019.

The benefits of the partnership, according to the President, include “the training of over 1,400 Nigerian public servants on e-governance in both Nigeria and South Korea; the establishment of an E-Government Training Centre handed over to the Federal Government in November 2019; and the signing off on Phase II of the e-government Project-“Project for Building Foundations Towards Digital Governance in Nigeria (2020-2026).”

Pantami stated in his remarks that the NDEPS, which was announced in 2019, provided for the establishment of a Presidential Council to coordinate the development of an indigenous digital economy.

The Minister described the execution of NDEPS for a digital Nigeria as highly effective, stating that in the previous two years, the sector has offered ICT intervention to 1,667 institutions at the Federal and sub-national levels.

He also stated that the Ministry’s recent spectrum auction generated over 400% revenue for the Federal Government and that two virtual institutions established by the government had trained over 500,000 Nigerians on digital and emerging technologies.

The members of the 27-member committee chaired by Pantami on behalf of the President are as follows: Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, Governor of Gombe State; Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State; Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nasarawa State; Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State; Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State; and Senator Hope Uzodinma, Governor of Imo State.

Others include Dr Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning; Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment; Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, Federation Head of Civil Service; Prof. Umar G. Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO Nigerian Communications Commission; Prof. M.B Abubakar, Managing Director/CEO, Galaxy Backbone Limited.

Mr Oswald Osaretin Guobadia, Senior Special Assistant to the President for Digital Transformation; Engr Olufemi Olufeko, Director, e-Government Dept, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; A.B. Okauru, Director General, Nigeria Governors Forum; Prof. Simon Adesina Sodiya, President Nigeria Computer Society; and Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria are also members (ALTON).

Prof. Kabiru Bala, Academia Representative and Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaira; Prof. Nnenna Oti, Academia Representative and Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri; and Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Secretary and Director General/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency are also members.

The Committee also includes Mr Sungil Son, Country Director (KOICA), Dr Olufemi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant (Research & Development) to the Hon. Minister of Communication & Digital Economy, and Abubakar A. Dahiru, Special Assistant (Cyber Security & Digital Identity) to the Minister.

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