The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has engaged software and innovation ecosystem stakeholders in Lagos State to strengthen the country’s digital economy by increasing contributions of ICT to the gross domestic product (GDP).
The NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, represented by the agency’s digital economy department acting director, Engr. Salisu Kaka said the engagement which aims at promoting indigenous content by patronising indigenous IT products and services and proffering solutions to challenges faced in the ecosystem, had various critical players from multiple industries in the state.
Abdullahi noted that a symbiotic relationship between the government and the players in the ecosystem was essential to achieve the desired result.
“Whatever the government is out to achieve, the private sector should help the government achieve it and whatever the private sector is set to achieve, the government should help support,” he stated.
He disclosed that the engagement was geared at interacting with the stakeholders to identify challenges faced by the ecosystem and proffering solutions to them. He emphasised the need to map out a partnership framework between the agency and the ecosystem in addressing these identified challenges.
Speaking on the vast amount of human and natural resources amassed by the nation, the NITDA DG urged stakeholders in the software and innovation ecosystem to harness and utilise these resources for optimal productivity.
He emphatically admonished all participants to freely critique constructively, challenge what needs to be challenged and also give recommendations on how the challenges can be surmounted.
“We are here to listen to you and I am positive that today will be a historic day on which we co-create and re-identify our routes in bridging identified gaps and creating a bright future,” he concluded.
The acting coordinator of the Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI), Yakubu Musa, while intimating the stakeholders on the realignment of the former specially purpose vehicles (SPVs), introduced the strategic intents and initiatives of the ONDI.
“The ONDI has been mandated to work with the ecosystem to design and implement strategic programs and initiatives that will drive and foster the ecosystem’s growth through interventions and addressing some of the issues being faced in the ecosystem,” he averred.
Musa, in his remark, stated that “strategic human capital development, funding and support to the ecosystem, research and insights, monitoring and compliance, partnerships and implementation of guidelines” are the areas in which the agency is willing to collaborate with the stakeholders in creating a formidable and enviable ecosystem.
The president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, while giving a recap of contributions made by all heads of industries, groups and associations present, thanked the agency for the insightful event but clamoured for more effective communication and transparency.