The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that the Nigerian government is targeting more job creation through the promotion of emerging technologies. The Director-General of the agency, Kashifu Inuwa, who disclosed this, said there are now deliberate attempts to set up mechanisms that will coordinate the emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), etc., which will lead to the engagement of the society, especially the youth, innovators and the entrepreneurs.
Speaking at a Virtual Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition 2021 as a panelist, Inuwa, who was represented by the Ag. Director, Digital Economic Development department of the Agency, Engr Salisu Kaka, said that NITDA is a critical player under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy that is committed to implementing the Nigerian Digital Economic Policy and Strategy. He said the agency in its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan 2021-2024, has identified the importance of promoting and exploiting the emerging technologies.
This, he said, was in line with the digital economy policy of the government. “In that policy, there is a need to develop a digital Nigeria by exploiting emerging technologies,” the DG said. He further stated that promotion of the emerging technologies will improve the economy of the country.
According to him, it was imperative to engage the youths because they are the direct beneficiaries of the enormous data generated by the Internet of Things, 5G technologies, and Big Data Analytics.
The DG said that the agency has set up the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence as well as the Office of Nigerian Digital Innovation which will both create enabling environments that will allow exploration of these technologies and ensure effective use. He added that innovations come with disruptions of normal processes, and was, therefore, necessary to come up with regulations.
He said that the government’s responsibility is to ensure that policy provisions are put in place to ensure the inclusion of private business owners. “Private business owners don’t exploit where there is no potential, so, it is important for the government to put in place interventions that will be attractive” the DG added.
He said that the Agency developed an initiative called, ‘National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA)’, with the aim of bringing emerging technologies, such as the IoT’s and the 5G technology into the agricultural sector.
“We piloted this initiative in 2019 and 2020 and it has given great results”, Abdullahi stated. He further disclosed that another initiative; the ‘National Adopted Schools for Smart Education (NASSE)’, was launched by the agency with the aim of incorporating these emerging technologies into the educational sector as well and expanding the potentials of the sector.
The DG noted that the regulatory approach adopted by NITDA, which is a developmental regulation, is essential in creating a plain level ground for business regulations where these emerging technologies will be effectively utilized, thereby realizing the economic diversification of the Nation and the African continent at large.
“At NITDA, we have refocused our process of making these policies user friendly, because it encourages participation of the private sector and the society, towards the development of these regulatory provisions for the 5G technology and other emerging technologies, which is why we refer to it as developmental regulations,” he said.