Nigerian may establish a specialised university for information and communication technology (ICT) to improve human capacity in the country.
Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication, dropped the hint recently in Lagos during a reception organised for him by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).
With the population of Nigeria, ICT should be the focus of accelerated development by establishing a purposed vehicle institution for development of manpower, the Minister says expressing concern over the absence of an ICT university in Nigeria.
Shittu who promised that he would advocate for one says that “this government is committed to convert the Digital Bridge Institute in Lagos and other cities into a multi-campus ICT University, the first of its kind in Africa.”
He believes that if ICT is properly harness, it can create two million jobs in the next six months while adding that the time has come for Nigeria to redefine its economic strength away from crude oil sales by diversifying the productive base of the national economy.
The slow growth of the ICT sector is a result of people’s apathy towards indigenous products and services, the Minister says noting that this has undermined patronage of local players in the Nigerian ICT sector.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]Shittu who promised that he would advocate for one says that “this government is committed to convert the Digital Bridge Institute in Lagos and other cities into a multi-campus ICT University, the first of its kind in Africa.”[/quote]”The country is losing about $2.8 billion yearly to the continued importation of ICT hardware and services as capital flights from the country”, Shittu told the ATCON forum.
“In addition, the international brands should be encouraged to establish factories in Nigeria or partner with local operators by buying components of their systems that are produced by local manufacturers as well as maintaining in-country research and development departments for the purpose of product conceptualization, innovation, adaptation and design development”, the Minister says.
Local content development policy would be implemented to protect indigenous players in the industry, including the Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs), he adds.
On the Smart Cities initiatives of the Ministry, Shittu says that government will work with all telecoms companies to remove all the bottlenecks militating against deficiency in broadband penetration in Nigeria.
“Some countries like Rwanda have already embraced the smart city initiatives and they are already reaping its benefits. I would want to enjoin the remaining states to also key into the initiatives that would ultimately make their states smart”, Shittu adds saying that he is willing to tap from the wealth of experience of ATCON and other stakeholders to move the industry forward.
On his part, ATCON members need to come up with initiatives that could help government to formulate policies to drive the development of the sector, the Minister says explaining that Africa is looking up to Nigeria to take advantage of its vast human and material resources and become the catalyst for economic emancipation of the continent.
In his goodwill message, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, Acting Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) who was represented by Mr. Olayinka Adejube, the South West Zonal Director, praised the Minister for his marshaled plans and approaches in ensuring the ICT sector become the Nigerian cash cow.
He described the singular effort as a giant stride which shows that the Minister is on course to help rebuild collaboration among stakeholders, adding that the Minister started on a good note by convening the Ibadan Retreat that brought all ICT stakeholders to achieve a common goal.
Engr. Lanre Ajayi, President of the Association, who congratulated the Minister for being posted to the fastest growing sector in the country advised him not only to sustain the progress recorded in the past but to surpass the existing records.