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MSMEs’ll Contribute $53 Billion To Nigeria’s Economy If Digitised – NITDA DG

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The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.
The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has stated that the digitisation of MSMEs will increase revenue by 26 per cent, reduce operating costs by 22 per cent and contribute $53 billion to the Nigerian economy.

Abdullahi made these remarks during the opening of the TechMyBiz Pitch-A-Thon event held at the Digital Transformation Center Nigeria (DTC Nigeria) in Lagos, which was jointly funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The TechMyBiz Pitch-a-thon, a process for selecting digital innovations in Africa, began with a “Call for Digital Solutions” campaign that provided a platform for innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups within the Nigerian ecosystem to register their digital solutions. Out of the 50 solutions selected for the Pitch-a-Thon event, 30 are expected to emerge as winners during the event, which runs from July 12 to 14, 2023.

In his address, the DG highlighted the importance of digitisation for operational excellence, increased productivity, higher revenue and cost savings. However, he also acknowledged the challenges that need to be addressed in order to fully realise the potential of digital transformation in MSMEs.

“Firstly, we need to create innovation-friendly conditions in our country in terms of enabling policies and laws, government services, ease of doing business, and so on,” Abdulllahi said. “Secondly, we need support organisations and platforms that will assist in digitising MSMEs and incubating ideas. Innovation is a process that requires taking an idea from inception to impact, which means commercialising your ideas”.

The DG further emphasised the need for digital infrastructure, as Africa is currently lacking in digital public infrastructure. He highlighted the importance of digital literacy and skills, stating that digitally literate consumers are necessary to fully benefit from digital services. Abdullahi also quoted the DG of SMEDAN, reiterating that MSMEs contribute significantly to businesses, the workforce, and the nation’s GDP, and emphasised that digital technology can lead to exponential growth and transformation for SMEs.

In conclusion, Abdullahi emphasised the importance of digital sovereignty through adequate infrastructure and highlighted the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) by the Nigerian government through NITDA to address the challenges. He also mentioned the Start-up Act, which, if fully implemented, can address various policy development, infrastructure and innovation challenges.

The event was attended by representatives from the European Union (EU), ISN Board, industry experts and other stakeholders, highlighting the collaborative efforts to accelerate digitisation and create an environment conducive to innovation and growth in Nigeria.

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