From Benjamin A Ameh, Lagos
We are currently measuring the impact of the plan and implementation level in preparation for review next year. Information and communications technology (ICT) contributes over 8 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP and is now growing at 7 per cent annually.
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Peter Jack said the five-year plan would be reviewed to find out the success rate of its implementation, with a view to improving on it.
Jack listed the sectors that have performed well over the years of the implementation of the plan such as Education, Agriculture, Health, Human Capital Development, Governance, Judiciary and National Security among others, actually propelled development in the country’s ICT sector in the last four years, he affirmed.
“With over 48 million regular Internet users, various activities are being carried out online. We are currently measuring the impact of the plan and implementation level in preparation for review next year. ICT contributes over 8 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP and is now growing at 7 per cent annually. Our target is to grow the ICT industry to a point where it contributes up to 15 per cent to the GDP within the next 3-5 years.”
Speaking on implementation of the National ICT Strategic Plan over the last four years, the DG disclosed that government was able to embark on some smart initiatives which included: e-Government initiative in all government parastatal to ensure that all government activities were put online for easy accessibility; the Tinapa Knowledge City in Cross River State, where a full-fledged IT Park was initiated, with software development centre, and with plan to also site a Reverse Engineering Center, using the facility.
Jack added that other implementation strategies carried out in the last four years include the Lekki Smart City Initiative; Lagos Innovation City and the Lekki Software Development Academy, which was planned to house a software incubator and accelerator. In addition, IDEA Hub was created in Lagos, which was a pilot program in software incubation and innovation in the country, he said. Furthermore, NITDA just concluded Demo Africa, hosted by Nigeria during which 40 tech start-ups, out of which 14 were Nigerians, were afforded an international platform to pitch to investors. The top five are billed for incubation in the Silicon Valley in India later this year, Jack revealed.
Speaking further on the activities of GITEX Technology Week holding in Duabi, UAE next month, which Nigeria has been appointed as a member country, Jack noted that Nigeria will have full representation as top government officials and technology start-ups that will showcase the country’s ICT potentials and products to foreign investors will be present at the world-class technology exhibition show.
The DG pointed out that “At GITEX, Nigeria will organise an investment forum to showcase her investment opportunities in order to attract foreign direct investment. We will use this year’s edition of GITEX to show that Nigeria is the window to the African market, and anyone who gets Nigeria right has got Africa right. Conversely, any investor who ignores Nigeria will live to regret it.”
Nigeria’s five-year National ICT Strategic Plan from 2010 to 2015, which was launched in 2010, is due for review next year.