Digital Economy: NITDA Assures e-Businesses of PPP

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The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi (middle) flanked by agency officials and members of the Committee of e-Business Industry Heads when the latter paid a courtesy call on him at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has assured the Committee of e-Business Industry Heads (CeBIH) of its commitment towards employing public, private partnership (PPP) to facilitate a seamless integration towards achieving a digital Nigeria.

The NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, made this known when he received the CeBIH team, led by its chairman, Mr. Adeyemi Atanda, on a familiarisation visit to NITDA’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.

Abdullahi identified broad band penetration, digital Identity and the payment system as three things that drive digital economy. He explained that using digital devices to do financial transactions makes work and life less stressful, increase productivity and creates opportunities to maximize time and energy.

“NITDA is rebranding, its mission, vision and core values to meet the present dynamics of world best standards. The agency’s core values are people, innovation and professionalism. We are setting standards for other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to follow.

“Collaboration with CeBIH is critical. We cannot do it alone. Our mandate is so huge, so we are glad to partner with you to deliver service to Nigerians,” he said.

He added that NITDA is currently in collaboration with Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Inc., Mass Challenge, other private entities and government bodies like NNPC, CBN, etc to ensure 95 per cent digital literacy by 2030.

While commending the CeBIH on its resolve to partner with NITDA, Abdullahi urged the team to adopt some of NITDA’s operating models.

“To be innovative one must look outside the box. We challenge startups to come up with ideas that can resolve existing problems. You cannot allow someone to experiment in your life environment. Financial inclusion is key; therefore, it is important that we work together. There are several programs that we can partner on as identified in NITDA’s Strategic RoadMap and Action Plan (SRAP),” he said.

Advising on areas that NITDA and CeBIH can partner, he suggested that an innovation challenge can be organized with the Nigerian Tech and Innovation Ecosystem, agreeing that both organisations can collaborate on capacity-building, cyber-security and guaranteed that they would also be involved in the redraft of the 2007 NITDA Act bill.

“Our regulations are developmental and we cannot be innovative within the confines of regulation. Our understanding of regulation is to unlock opportunities for you and protect consumers to create the enabling environment,” said the NITDA DG on the need for amendment of the 2007 NITDA Act bill. 

According to the NITDA boss, five main stakeholders – higher institutions, corporate organisations, the government, venture capital or angel investor and the entrepreneur – would be engaged towards amendment of the bill.

Abdullahi mentioned areas where NITDA is currently engaging in capacity-building, especially with the use of mass open online courses platform where, so far, 57,000 Nigerians have been trained and additional 6,625 individuals in 11 states across the nation, are currently being trained on productivity tool, digital content creation and digital marketing.

He said the new cyber security policy assigns certain roles to NITDA, one of which is setting standards and encouraging domestic solutions to cyber security challenges. This he believes is another area for partnership.

Atanda, while appreciating NITDA’s innovative contributions to a digital economy, had identified key areas for collaboration on STEM boot camp program as facilitators to help enrich the curriculum, capacity-building, cyber security and being on board the stakeholder’s forum on the redraft of the NITDA Act Bill.

He maintained that innovation remained the bedrock for all the things done in the banking sector, adding that the agency wanted the innovations to directly impact on the Nigerian economy.

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