The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has deployed over 1,560 IT skills acquisition and computer-based testing centres across the country, with a minimum of two centres in each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country since inception to date. Also, the agency claimed it has trained over 2.5 million Nigerians directly and/or indirectly in multiple areas of IT through its interventions and training.
The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who disclosed, this while briefing journalists on the 20th anniversary of the agency, said that NITDA is working assiduously to help Nigeria catch the train of the 4th industrial revolution without leaving any sector of the economy behind. He noted that NITDA is playing pivotal roles to ensure that the actualization of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) in order to facilitate the diversification of the economy and position Nigeria to tap from the $11.5 Trillion global digital economy.
Abdullahi observed that NITDA has played critical roles in national development by providing the legal framework for information technology development, pioneering IT developmental projects, facilitating access to information technology goods and services, catalysing job creation and ensuring national security. He stated that NITDA has substantially actualised the National IT Policy’s goal to digitise Nigeria and the Agency is now in the phase of digitalising the country.
“What is the difference between digitisation and digitalisation? Digitisation means using IT to enhance traditional processes. Abdullahi observed that NITDA’s creation symbolised Nigeria’s resolution to embrace digital transformation as the story of the agency explains Nigeria’s journey to a digital economy.
He said: “The journey is slow but quintessential evolution into a digital Nigeria despite the many daunting challenges we face. NITDA was established in April 2001, to be precise, on the 18th of April 2001, following the Federal Executive Council’s approval of the National Information Technology Policy in March 2001. Consequently, the National Assembly passed into law the NITDA Act, 2007, which mandates the Agency to regulate, develop, and advise on Information Technology practices in Nigeria”.
Abdullahi listed the achievements of the agency to include huge ICT contribution to GDP from less than 0.5 per cent in 2001 to more than 14 per cent in 2020, catalysing job creation and igniting innovative activities in the tech ecosystem. According to him, the agency has achieved a lot in digital inclusion and literacy and the country is now witnessing the emergence of new economic sectors like Fintech, eCommerce, Venture Capital investment, Business Process Outsourcing, Data Protection Compliance Organisations, IT equipment manufacturing, and robust software industry.
He said: “With this important milestone in carrying out our mandates, we think our 20th-anniversary is worth celebrating. Since its establishment, NITDA has evolved in many aspects and responded to its mandates’ dynamics. You may be aware that the Agency’s mandates are to achieve three broad objectives; to provide advisory services; regulate and develop the information technology sector. Therefore, the Agency focuses on bridging the digital divide, providing the enabling environment and strengthening the tech ecosystem. In 2007, we started our developmental interventions by deploying 10 Rural Information Technology Resource Centre (RITC) across the country’s six Geo-Political zones. The number increased to 17 in 2008, 58 in 2009, and 119 in 2010.”