The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Pantami, has challenged Nigeria to refocus its economy in tandem with global economic growth.
Pantami said Nigeria is part of the “hyperconnected world” of the internet community in which “data is the most valuable asset”.
He said the new economic reality “poses a significant threat to oil-based economies like Nigeria and other economies that depend largely on natural resources”.
The NITDA boss spoke Thursday at the official presentation of the draft Nigeria Smart Initiative Policy Framework (NSIPF) in Abuja.
“The new digital economy fueled by technological innovation with advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoTs), and Internet of Everything (IoE) promises to leave no sector untouched. But only those who adapt very quickly to technological changes will derive the benefits that come with it,” he said.
Pantami said countries are already complying with smart city initiatives as a core component of IoT technologies stressing that with its population strength, Nigeria stands a good chance of benefiting from the booming smart technology economy.
“Nigeria, standing as a regional leader, will need to proactively do something about the new economy and its policy challenges in preparing for the disruption and pressure it brings to societies especially in the area of jobs and economic opportunities”.
He challenged policymakers and leaders in the country to embrace the opportunities of smart technology and shed the old ways of doing things.
The NITDA director general commended the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigerian Customs, and the Corporate Affairs Commission as an example of agencies adapting technology stressing that NITDA is making efforts to promote smart initiatives in critical sectors such as Health and Agriculture.
“In healthcare, we adopted collaboration and partnership strategies with the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to develop eHealth Policy as the starting point to provide an enabling environment for technology entrepreneurs who are willing to innovate and deliver novel healthcare solutions”.
He said the agency is also working on a Smart Agriculture project called “Adopted Village” which will connect agriculture stakeholders and entities through digital and smart platforms that will serve as drivers for enhancing agriculture value chains.
Stakeholders at the meeting brainstormed on the draft Smart Initiatives Policy and proffered opportunities and modalities for implementation.