Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy
Dr. Ali Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy

Minister commissions 7 Digital Economy projects in Nigeria

TECH DIGEST – The Minister of Communication And Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami Commissioned seven digital economy projects for a Digital Nigeria (Batch 9) accross some selected state in Nigeria.

He made the remark today, April 23, 2021 during the commissioning of seven (7) projects executed by parastatals under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

Pantami said that such initiatives help in accelerating the development of Nigeria’s digital economy.

“All our projects are carefully thought-out and executed efficiently, with a view to ensuring the sustainable growth of Nigeria’s digital economy, across the entire country.

“They play a major role in the development of Nigeria’s Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria, in line with the mandate of Mr President to our Ministry.

“All the projects also align with the focus areas of the Federal Government, namely economic development, security and eradicating corruption.

“Furthermore, it is also worth noting that these projects are part of the policies of the Ministry that the parastatals are to implement.

The 7 projects (batch 9) are spread across the country, as shown below:

Community ICT Centre, Dutse, Jigawa State [North West];

IT Incubation Park, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi [North East];

Digital Economy Centre, Garki Secondary School, Abuja, [North Central];

Digital Economy Centre, Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo [South East];

Digital Economy Centre, Ojodu Grammar School, Ojodu, Lagos State [South West];

Emergency Communications Centre, Enugu, Enugu State [South East]; and

Emergency Communications Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State [South West].

“These projects are just a few of the projects being executed. There are multiple projects in all States in the country and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister reminded stakeholder how the COVID-19 pandemic led to a rapid change in how events and meetings are conducted.

“There has been a major transition from physical meetings to online meeting and this motivated us to develop a National Policy for Virtual Engagements in the Federal Public Institutions. This Policy was presented at the Federal Executive Council on the 14th of October 2021 and the implementation commenced immediately after its approval at the Council.

“This Policy on Virtual Engagements is also in line with our Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria and our Digital Economy Policy enabled us to mitigate the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It also encouraged us to accelerate the implementation of the Policy. The COVID-19 pandemic plunged our economy into a recession but the ICT sector was up to the task and played a significant role in helping Nigeria exit recession. We are confident that the Digital Economy sector will continue to support the development of our economy across all sectors”, Pantami added.

“Our physical-virtual hybrid approach to the commissioning of projects has been very successful and we are very pleased to commission Batch 9 of projects executed by the parastatals under the Ministry.

“This approach results in substantial savings for the country as it reduces the need for airfare, duty tour allowance and related costs.

“The fact they we are commissioning the projects simultaneously also leads to savings for government.

“The 7 projects being commissioned today can be mapped to relevant pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria. I will now give a brief description of the projects being commissioned today.

Projects to drive Innovation and entrepreneurship:

Pantami reiterated that innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of the digital economy. This, he said, explains why the Ministry celebrated the World Creativity and Innovation Day on Wednesday.

“The Community ICT Centre and IT Park were deployed by NITDA and will go a long way in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship in the communities where they are situated. Our efforts in this regard also align with the draft National Digital Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Start-up Policy.

“The Digital Economy Centre (DEC) was deployed by NITDA. It is a solar powered IT Centre equipped with computers, Internet access and tools aimed at enhancing skills development, bridging the digital divide and promoting innovative digital solutions that will address challenges facing the country. It supports economic growth by ensuring digital inclusion for the underserved/unserved communities and supports capacity building efforts.

The Centre would among other things, serve as:

i. a capacity Building Centre to enable the promotion of knowledge-based economic growth;

ii. an avenue for creating jobs and providing access to information, knowledge and government enabled digital services for rural communities;

iii. an avenue for stimulating economic growth by creating new products, increasing productivity and promoting new commercial and administrative methods;

iv. a platform to enhance the abilities of communities to access information, manage local level information and disseminate this information to external communities;

v. an environment to nurture Innovation and develop training & professional programs to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship; and

vi. a platform to provide & promote professional IT skill to the community, equipping them with industry oriented quality education and training.

The Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) Project was setup:

Promote and enhance public safety through the use of the 112 number, designated as the Universal Safety and Emergency Assistance Number for telephone services generally; and
Encourage and facilitate the prompt deployment of a seamless, ubiquitous and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for emergency communications needs.

Pantami and Projects

Heads of Agencies under FMoC&DE with the Minister during the Virtual Commissioning of Seven Digital Economy Projects inline with Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria

The ECC project, Pantami emphasized is being deployed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) across the country and it will offer the following benefits:

Universal, toll-free emergency telephone access for members of the public in times of distress/emergency; and
A one-stop shop for receiving distress calls from the public and dispatching same to appropriate Response Agencies (Police, FRSC, Fire Service, Ambulance Service, etc).

Pantami urged the host communities of these projects to ensure that they take full advantage of the facilities for the benefit of the community.

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