The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has said the Federal Government will equip the youth with the requisite skills to navigate the digital economy sector.
He made this known during the virtual closing ceremony of the training on digital literacy and skill acquisition tagged ‘Digital states initiative’ sponsored by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the weekend.
The pilot edition of the training was held in four states across the country, namely Kano, Lagos, Gombe and Rivers with almost 2,500 participants
Pantami pointed out that what the youth are learning in school and the tangible skills required to flourish in the work places and industries were different, saying degrees are only meant to validate skills, and the growing trend across the globe and many countries was promoting the acquisition of skills, adding his ministry was making tremendous efforts in pursuing a robust and all-encompassing human capacity development agenda that would create a competitive environment for the development and production of IT goods and services.
“Our policies have been designed to serve as a foundation for rapid development in all sectors, and through the parastatals, we have built hundreds of digital capacity training centers and IT hubs across the country to facilitate these programmes. We are inching closer and closer to our target of having a digitally literacy society,” he said.
He added that the aim was to develop a digitally literate workforce for the government, equip them with skills required to participate in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Earlier in his remarks, the director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, affirmed the agency’s desire to train all Nigerians, adding the second phase of the training would take place in one state each in all the geopolitical zones.
He said the training would prepare the beneficiaries for post COVID-19 era which would provide the platform to unlearn how things were done before the pandemic.
“You need to relearn new way of doing things because technology is changing and disrupting the way we live, work and learn. Therefore, for us to benefit in this new world, we need to create a talent pool and talent is the best way for us to succeed as a nation.
“Our aim is to create as many talents as we can so that we can be exporting our talent to other countries with the new flexible way of working. If you have this talent, you can work for any country you want. You can work for United States, you can work for European countries, Asians or Middle East and you can be paid in foreign currencies while you live in Nigeria,” he said.
Earlier, the representative of the Lagos State governor and Commissioner for Health, Prof.Akin Abayomi, commended the agency for choosing Lagos State as one of the beneficiaries.
“We are mindful of the fact that we are in the age of data and digital technology. If we are going to be competitive around the world, we need to bring our youths in line with data technology development that are happening globally so that we can be economically competitive and engage the rest of the world in advancing the benefits that can be derived from this technology and rapid explosion of the knowledge economy that can be derived from mining, collecting and processing data,” he stated.
Similarly, the Microsoft country manager, Mr. Akin Banuso, lauded the minister for his consistency in pursuing what he believes in skill acquisition, adding Microsoft would continue to support the government’s efforts at providing required skills which Nigerian youths need to be players in the digital economy.