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PMB, Governors Drum Support For Harmonised Digital Economy, e-Government Policy 

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Pantami Uzor
The Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki (second from left); Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami and Imo State governor, Gov. Hope Uzodinma arriving for the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Council on Digital Economy and E-government in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) and the five states’ governors have endorsed a framework for the harmonisation of the digital economy and e-governance initiatives at federal and state levels. 

President Buhari and governors of five states – Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Edo states – revealed this at the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Council on Digital Economy and e-government master plan in Abuja. 

Represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, PMB asserted that there have been pockets of digital initiatives going on at the state levels which are not in alignment with the Federal Government’s digital economy initiatives. 

He recalled launching the National Digital Economy and Policy Strategy (NDEPS) in November 2019 with eight pillars which required the involvement of actors at all levels.

The president said that the digital economy cannot be implemented in silos, with FG bearing the responsibility. He added that states and sub-nationals have a significant role to play in ensuring the achievement of NDEPS.

“Many important things have been discussed and we have agreed on all of them and it is because of this we plan to have another meeting as soon as possible.

“The secretariat has been directed to come up with frameworks for the digital economy, that can be implemented in our state.

“Many states have good initiatives on digital economy; however, there is lack of harmonisation to their activities.

“Framework is going to be developed so that our sub-nationals will play their role and FG will continue to provide intervention where necessary.

“From the time Mr. President launched the policy to date, a lot has been achieved and in some of the pillars, more than 70 per cent have been achieved. However, some issues require engaging the sub-nationals to look at decision-making, implementation, coming up with frameworks, getting their input with regards to regulation and many more and that cannot be easily achieved. It is because of this, this council have been inaugurated, today is our first official meeting after the inauguration by Mr President,” he said.

The governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma stated that he would immediately inaugurate a ministry of digital economy toward the implementation of e-governance. 

Speaking to journalists after the council meeting, Uzodinma described the idea as “very good” and added that the state is going to participate.

On the level of digitisation in his state, he said there are sectors and pillars. “First, we start with proper record-keeping, collection of data and then digitalise the infrastructure department has to be put in place. 

“Before this meeting, I was about creating an agency to manage our digital economy but I am going to now create a full-blown ministry of digital economy and IT management in the state as soon as I get back. That is to tell you the kind of attention we are giving to this subject. I will also support a well-thought-out policy in making sure we have a robust digital economy that will create jobs and employment for our youths.

“I am happy to be a member of this council and will do my best to contribute my quota towards national development,” he said.

In his remarks, the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki stated that the harmonisation of the digital economy initiative will help stamp out waste and duplication in governance. 

He added that if Nigeria can get it right on harmonised digital economy strategies, the impact will be tremendous. 

“I am glad we finally have a council in the country that will set the record on the digital economy as the world is about digitisation.

“In Edo State, we have already initiated a lot of IT activities. Edo Best Educational Platform runs on technology, where all our 15,000 teachers have devices. We are implementing technology in our primary health care centres, we have hubs on our own and they are not aligned with what is happening nationally, so this council helps align the different initiatives on digitisation from different parts of the country so that we can reduce the waste that comes with non-alignment and also gain momentum and speed in terms of implementing digital strategy as a country. If we get it right in digitization nobody can stop Nigeria.” 

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