Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, says the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre in the country will be ready for use by 2023.
Pantami who made this known on an inspection tour of the project in Abuja, Nigeria, disclosed that the world-class project cost N12 billion.
He said the centre would serve as a one-stop hub to drive digital innovation in Nigeria adding that the project is part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s diversification initiative.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that any approval by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, under our supervision is implemented according to the agreement. This is exactly why I am here to make sure that the implementation is according to the agreement when it comes to the capacity, the rooms, offices, and training centres; based on what I have seen, all these are in alignment with what the federal government approved twice on 11th November 2020 and 6th April, 2021. Secondly, the quality of the work is commendable.
“On 5th April 2021 an augmentation was approved by the FEC after my presentation, based on what I have seen all these have been accommodated.
“The first project, approved on 11th November, the price is N9.56 billion inclusive of VAT, other taxes, and an additional facility was approved on 5th April 2021, N2.65 billion, all together it is 12 Billion inclusive of VAT, other taxes. To be fair to you, if not because of the prudent manner NITDA is handling the project, if it was another agency, the project cost would have doubled.
“The completion date is 36 months, commencing from November 2020; however, considering that this is a legacy project by President Muhammadu Buhari, we were able to engage the contractors to ensure the completion of the project within this current government.”
Pantami explained that the center would foster the growth of the Nigeria Startup Ecosystem in line with the Nigeria Startup Act which the implementation will benefits Nigerians.
He said young Nigerians have a lot to benefits from the mega project when completed.
“There are so many ways, 1001 ways, that Nigerian citizens will benefit from this project when completed. First, the National Startups Act, 2022. It was our idea, an executive bill by this Administration. This building will play a significant role in implementing the Startups Act, particularly if you look at the floors dedicated to training. The building will coordinate the issue of tax holiday, pioneering status and intellectual property and other benefits.”
He also revealed that the project is being constructed by an indigenous which is commendable this will in turn support local economy, provide many opportunities as well as promoting local content development in the country
The Minister also applauded the efforts of NITDA saying that “I commend the Director General, NITDA, management team and its board for implementation of policy of government .Their effort is commendable, as the reward of hard work is more work.“
The Director General NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa urged the Contractor to ensure the completion of the project in record time.
He explained that the centre would impact the growth of startups, manufacturers and investors within Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.
The Chairman of Cosgrove Limited, Mr Umar Abdullahi, represented by Mr Baba Khalid, commended the Federal government of Nigeria for facilitating the project’s progress.
The building project has a total built-up space of more than 1,500 square meters; there are two floors with various categories of short-stay apartments, twelve standard rooms, four two-bedroom apartments, and six studio apartments. Subsequent floors hold a world-class data centre and network operating centre, a double-volume network operating centre and an auditorium.
The second tower hosts the NITDA office spaces, 3D printing Lab, IT museum, media studio, showroom, staff gym, storage unit, sick bay and more.