BY Victoria Ogunrinde
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr. Musa Istifanus has urged stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to formulate new strategies towards realizing the vision of a Digital in line with the change agenda of President Buhari.
Mr. Istifanus while speaking in Owerri, at the ongoing 8th National Council on Communications and Digital Economy, with the theme “Leveraging the Digital Economy Policies and Strategies for Economic Recovery in a COVID-19 Era and Beyond” said the theme is apt and a step in the right direction considering the impact of the pandemic and the government’s stance in achieving a globally competitive economy, with digital technologies.
“Nigeria, like most developing nations have come to recognize the importance of ICT as a catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development. This is why we chose the theme,” he said.
Istifanus noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected economies globally, has compelled the Ministry to make some far-reaching policies like the Development of the National Policy on Virtual Engagements in Federal Public Institution and facilitation of Virtual Federal Executive Council Meetings.
“The Ministry has been rejigged to use digital technologies to enhance national socio-economic development by increasing the contribution of ICT to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“The policy thrusts of the Ministry clearly articulate the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Telecom Sector, National Digital Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Policy, Policy on virtual engagement in the Public Service, etc”.
Meanwhile, he added that the purpose is to use digital technologies to enhance national socio-economic development by increasing the contribution of ICT to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Furthermore, he stated that the country is confronted by a new challenge and the expectations of citizens must be delivered with limited resources.
“We are fully committed to the integration of ICTs in the socio-economic development of Nigeria in order to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy”.
“Connectivity, capacity building and inter-agency collaboration, are key factors that will bridge the digital divide and enhance technology development and to address these new challenges by ensuring that we actively engage with stakeholders,” he stressed.
He opined that the society has realized the gains of ICT and the Ministry is committed to utilizing these possibilities adding that that society is moving towards transparency and openness and there are initiatives to increase the engagement with the citizen, attract usage, develop increased levels of trust, and improve the service delivery. Digital technologies offer the best platform to achieve all of these. Istifanus noted.
Earlier, The Commissioner, Ministry of Science and Technology, Imo State, Hon. Ikechukwu Umeh in his remarks welcomed participants to Imo State for the 8th Annual Council Meeting of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
He informed participants that the choice of Imo State as host of this year’s Council was very apt given that the State is the home of a Digital Governor.
Umeh said that the Executive Governor upon assumption of Office made a significant reduction in the RIGHT OF WAY charges; he converted the Office of the First Lady to Imo State data Center to promote the development of the ICT sector.