By Victor Akindele
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, yesterday launched the Digital Nigeria Portal and Mobile App in furtherance of the Digital Nigeria Programme. The Digital Nigeria programme is a key component of the Digital Literacy and Skills Pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria championed by Dr. Pantami.
The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in delivering this key mandate, is in partnership with global institutions including the African Development Bank (AFDB), Microsoft, to enable Nigerians to acquire cutting-edge digital skills within the comfort of their homes.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister reiterated the government’s strategy of promoting skills over paper qualifications. “We are championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills. Degrees are only meant to validate skills. This is a growing trend across the globe.
“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens,” he said.
The “Digital Nigeria” mobile app is available on playstore, enabling Nigerians to enroll in ICT courses within the comfort of their homes. Much of the content was provided through AfDB’s partnership with Microsoft. Students can download certificates after they complete the courses. The portal also allows us to include additional courses from time to time.
Across the globe, there is a growing focus on the need for developing skills, rather than merely acquiring degrees. To this end, Nigerians are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity by enrolling today at https://digitalnigeria.gov.ng or https://academy.nitda.gov.ng/
According to the Minister, the development of Nigeria’s National Digital Economy is anchored on the eight pillars as stated in NDEPS, which include Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy & Skills; Solid Infrastructure; Service Infrastructure; Digital Services Development & Promotion; Soft Infrastructure; Digital Society & Emerging Technologies; and Indigenous Content Development & Adoption.
“We have recorded a number of unprecedented achievements since we began implementing NDEPS. A few of these include resolution of the lingering issues of excessive Right of Way charges and vandalism of telecommunication infrastructure; rapid broadband penetration, with an increase by about 10 per cent in 11 months (with a value of 42.02 per cent at the end of July 2020), instead of the average annual increase of about 1.7 per cent; development and swift implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP); significant increase in the contribution of ICT to the GDP based on the Q2 2020 GDP - 17.83 per cent - as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics; and promotion of digital services in government, including Virtual Federal Executive Council meetings
“The effect of the digital economy is far greater than the ICT contribution shows. The Digital Economy encompasses ICT and all Digital Services, which includes all online activities in financial institutions, ecommerce, online tax payment, any form of online payment, online banking, etc. When we consider these, the contribution of the Digital Economy could be up to 45 per cent or even more,” the Minister stated.