FG To Conduct IT Talent Gap Assessment Research

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Isa Pantami
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.

The Federal Government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has commissioned an IT firm Co-creation Hub to carry out research on the IT talent gap in the country, with the view of bridging the gap.

This move follows projections by studies conducted globally which indicate that by 2030 there would be a shortfall of expertise in information technology (IT) skills throughout the world.

To bridge this gap, the government has concluded arrangement to bridge this gap which the short-fall would create and position the country to be competitively prepared for it.

While speaking as the special guest of honour at the virtual ceremony put together to launch the commissioning of the research yesterday, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami opined that it has become imperative to carry out the assessment gap to build on the “modest achievements the sector has recorded in the last three years.”

“The digital economy sector in Nigeria has been the crown jewel of the economy and it has been blessed with so many achievements and gains, particularly in the last three years.” Citing the National Bureau of Statistics data, the minister stated that the sector remains the fastest growing sector of the economy and the only one that grows in double digits in recent times.

He noted that there are many opportunities the digital economy sector offers globally and Nigeria must be well positioned to benefit from them. He added that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a report that says 90 million IT jobs were created and with the population of the country, Nigeria ought to have contributed three to four million of jobs being created.

“This initiative will guide us to know the opportunities we have locally, the opportunities we have globally and what we need to do to ensure we bridge the gap that exists. There are 1,995 ICT companies in Nigeria and this research will consider this I hope at the end of it, we will have an excellent report that if implemented, would guide our country to make an informed decisions for the sector.     

While commending the initiative, the Minister observed that the research will make the small, micro and medium enterprises very effective because they are the bedrock of the Nigerian economy. “Whatever we do is very important and we should accommodate our small, micro and medium enterprises because of their prominence to our economy particularly looking at the gap that exists concerning their adoption of innovations,” he said.

Pantami also stated that the Nigeria Start Up Bill is in the process of transmission to President Muhammed Buhari for his assent and believes that if the bill is assented to, it will avail startups many opportunities because most of the challenges encountered by startups have been effectively addressed in the bill.

While urging NITDA to keep him posted on the progress report of the research, he encouraged both the agency and CC Hub to ensure the success of the “important project”.       

Earlier in his remarks, NITDA’s director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi stated that the research on IT Talent Gap Assessment is to be carried out in line with President Buhari’s desire to diversify the Nigerian economy and also in alliance with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS). 

“The gap analysis will let us know where we are so that it will help us come up with the right strategies to adopt in achieving the 95 per cent target on digital literacy. And in addition to that, there is also global talent shortages and we see this as an opportunity to position Nigeria to create and capture values in this global talent pipeline,” the DG noted.    

Abdullahi stated that the outcome of the research will offer the nation the opportunity to have its national talent strategy that would look at the demand and supply sides and train people to have their startups with ready-to-market products.

“We decided to partner with CC-Hub because it remains the right partner due to its coverage and experience. We are enjoining you not to use armchair theory but go to the field and collect data. Within six months of this commissioning, we wish to have information about the talent gaps in the country and identify areas we can have a competitive advantage.  

In his presentation titled “The Importance of Technology Talent Gap Analysis in Nigeria”, the co-founder and head of research, CC-Hub, Dr Oluseun Adepoju stated that there was no better time to carry out the research than now because of the position of Nigeria as a very robust country when it comes to technology.  

He said the importance of the research is to move per the pace of technological advancement which he said: “keeps growing in geometrical rate. The issue we have been facing is that we are not able to build talent that can catch up with technological advancement.

“There are loopholes and gaps we need to fill and this research will give us insights into where the loopholes are existing.

“There is a new investment to be built in the IT talent demand and supply scale because the future is highly definitive.”

While enumerating the strength of the country concerning the research, he maintained that the nation’s strength lies in “leadership talent in technology, investment in the technology ecosystem and youthful population.”

On the opportunities the research could also offer, he said it will avail the country to identify the knowledge gap on specific technological skills deficiency; identify other government parastatals’ involvement in technology talent development; identify the knowledge gap in the technology talent expert pipeline and identify gaps in the impact of tertiary education institution of technology programmes on general technology talent ecosystem in Nigeria.

The research which would be conducted in all the six geo-political zones, with two states per zone would collect data from one federal university, one private university and one federal polytechnic using both quantitative and qualitative triangulation sampling methods.

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