Pantami commissions and launches the Batch 11 of Digital Economy projects

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  • August 13, 2021
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In less than 2 years, More than 1,667 ICT Centres Established and 16 National Policies Developed to Support the Digital Economy
Being a Speech Presented By The Chief Host Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM Honourable Minister Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigeria at the COMMISSIONING OF DIGITAL ECONOMY PROJECTS FOR A DIGITAL NIGERIA (BATCH 11) Friday 13th August, 2021
May Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you!
I am delighted to commission and launch the Batch 11 of Digital Economy projects on behalf of our boss, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
The 7 projects are part of the Policies of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and are being supervised by the Ministry. These projects are part of several other projects we have executed. In the last 2 years we have developed policies, initiated programmes and executed projects to ensure that Nigeria’s digital economy continues to play a key role in growth of our economy. The following statistics give a brief summary of some of our policies, projects and projects:

  • 1,667 Centres to support the Digital Economy;
  • 16 Policies developed; and
  • An unprecedented 60,748,629 NIN enrolments.

The list is rather exhaustive and I have not yet discussed the massive revenue generation. More details will be given about all these very soon, probably next week and I am very pleased to state that these achievements are unprecedented. For now, I will just mention a few of the Centres, they include the following:

  1. Emergency Communication Centers;
  2. Virtual Examination Centers;
  3. eHealth/Data Sharing Center;
  4. Digital Industrial Parks;
  5. ICT Innovation and Incubation Park/Hubs;
  6. Digital Capacity Training Centres (DCTC) & E-Learning Facilities;
  7. Community IT Training Centres;
  8. IT Capacity Building Centres;
  9. Digital Economy Centers;
  10. National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotic (NCAIR);
  11. Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centers (TIKC);
  12. School Knowledge Centers (SKC);
  13. E-Accessibility Projects;
  14. E-Libraries;
  15. E-Healths, etc.

All these policies, programmes and projects are in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria and the Federal Government’s key objectives of improving security, reducing corruption and expanding the economy. The projects being commissioned today also align with the policies of the Ministry, which the parastatals are to implement.
We have so far commissioned 10 batches of projects, and this is the 11th batch. The projects being commissioned today are as follows:

  1. Emergency Communication Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State [North Central];
  2. School Knowledge Centre, Sanda Kyarimi Day Secondary School, Borno State (North East);
  3. Digital Economy Centre & E- Learning Facilities, Imam Malik Academy, Sokoto State [North West];
  4. Digital Economy Centre, E- Learning Facilities, Nneato Secondary School, Abia State [South East];
  5. Digital Economy Centre, E- Learning University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State [South South];
  6. Digital Economy Centre, E- Learning Eleyele Secondary School, Oyo State [South West]; and
  7. Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre, Gombe State College of Education, Gombe (North East)

The Tertiary Institutions Knowledge Centre (TIKC) was deployed by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF). This project includes bandwidth connectivity and the installation of ICT devices and peripherals. The TIKC project also doubles as an ICT centre for students to acquire and improve their ICT skills. It will promote the use of ICT in teaching and learning at tertiary institutions and their immediate communities.
Some of the benefits of the project include the following:

  1. It will enable lecturers, staff and students to obtain the requisite ICT skills essential for digital economy ecosystem;
  2. It will bridge the digital information knowledge gap, especially among the teeming youthful population of Nigeria;
  3. It will provide personalised learning;
  4. It will enhance research;
  5. It will improve student-teacher engagement; and
  6. It will provide access to remote learning resources.

The School Knowledge Centre is also managed by the USPF and aims to achieve the following:

  1. Bridge the digital divide;
  2. Help in e-learning;
  3. Aid in academic research;
  4. Help in external exam registration; and
  5. Support infrastructural development in secondary schools across the nation;

The Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) Project was setup to:

  • 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.

The ECC project is being implemented 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).

Our goal is to have at least one Emergency Communication Centre in each state of the federation including FCT. This will ensure that there is an effective emergency response to cater to the needs of our citizens.
Today, we are also commissioning four (4) Digital Economy Centres (DEC) and E-Learning Facilities which were deployed by NITDA as part of its mandate to ensure that the Federal Government continues to provide support for our institutions to facilitate learning. The facilities are solar powered, 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.
The DEC and E-learning Centres will support economic growth by ensuring digital inclusion for the underserved/unserved communities through capacity building efforts. Each Centre will among other things, serve as:

  1. a capacity Building Centre to enable the promotion of knowledge-based economic growth;
  2. an avenue for creating jobs and providing access to information, knowledge and government enabled digital services for rural communities;
  3. an avenue for stimulating economic growth by creating new products, increasing productivity and promoting new commercial and administrative methods;
  4. a platform to enhance the abilities of communities to access information, manage local level information and disseminate this information to external communities;
  5. an environment to nurture Innovation and develop training & professional programs to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship; and
  6. a platform to provide & promote professional IT skill to the community, equipping them with industry-oriented quality education and training.

It is well known that the Digital Economy is a core driver of innovation, competitiveness and economic growth. However, no nation can build a digital economy without a constant pool of highly qualified creative talent, as the Digital economy is knowledge-based and is characterized by dependence on a highly-skilled, and technology-inclined citizens.
Therefore, fostering and supporting the capacities of Nigerians is a fundamental backbone of our digital economy strategy. This is why NDEPS has a Pillar dedicated to Digital Literacy and Skills.
Furthermore, Knowledge Institutions play a critical role in the development of the Digital Economy. They serve as centres for generation and impartation of new knowledge to citizens. These institutions not only equip individuals with relevant knowledge and skills, but also provide a bustling environment that stimulates innovation thereby enabling them contribute meaningfully in the socio- economic development of their society.
According to the World Bank, digital technologies are forecast to be a major driver of productivity, with successful economies depending on greater numbers of digitally skilled workers than has previously been the case. For example, a digital single market in Europe is expected to increase the region’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by €415 billion and will increase the need for a new set of digital skills by 12% in 2024. It is recognition of the need to empower our citizens with the requisite knowledge to thrive in the digital economy that we are deploying projects such as the ones being launched today.
I want to use this opportunity to encourage all the host communities of these interventions provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria through NITDA and NCC to ensure that they take full advantage of the facilities for the benefit of their communities. I also wish to commend the CEOs of both parastatals for their commitment to their responsibilities and I urge them to redouble their efforts in ensuring that these projects are maximally utilised. I am thankful to all our esteemed partners and stakeholders of the Digital Economy family for participating in this launch and supporting our quest to build a Digital Nigeria.
I also wish to extend our sincere gratitude to all our special guests. Thank you for supporting us. Finally, I wish to sincerely thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for the great support that he always gives to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
Once again, thank you for being here, and may the Almighty bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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