The contribution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) has continued to increase despite the ravaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA ), Mr. Kashifu Abdullahi who made the observation during a webinar organized by the Information Technology (Industry) Association Nigeria (ITAN) Kano and Abuja Chapters, disclosed that the ICT contribution to the GDP increased by one percent in the first quarter of 2020.
According to him, despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic on all economies of the world, the country’s ICT grew by 14 per cent compared to growth of 13.12 per cent in the previous quarter as people relied more on digital platforms during the lockdown.
Abdullahi who was represented by the Director of e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr. Vincent Olatunji said, NITDA, as the agency with the responsibility to oversee the IT sector is at the forefront of creating initiatives and schemes to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s ICT sector, particularly the startup ecosystem.
He said that NITDA through its two special purpose vehicles, The Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Office for Nigerian Content in ICT is working hard at achieving the mandate of fostering the growth of technology Start-up ecosystem and ensuring patronage of local content in ICT.
Some of these initiatives, according to the DG, include Work Permit for Technology Startups during lockdown, The Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge where three startups with the following solutions emerged winners: locally made ventilator, decontamination chamber and e-Health monitor Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme which have the following schemes, Incubation Programme; Technical Capacity Building, Internship Programme and Hub Upscaling.
These schemes are designed to target various aspect for the ecosystems to achieve maximum positive effect on the ICT ecosystem. Another programme in the pipeline is Startup Workspace Voucher programme aimed at supporting young startup to overcome their financial challenges.
While thanking the organisers of the webinar, Abdullahi stated that NITDA believes that with strategic partnership and collaborations stakeholders, it can build a new Nigeria with a robust digital economy.