Stakeholders in the Nigerian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector were unanimous in their views on the need to leverage ICT tools to build stronger institutions.
The speakers this year’s Beacon of Information and Communication Technology awards (BoICT) held on Saturday at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, underscored that different institutions and indeed the country can experience higher level of sustainable development through the effective use of ICT.
In a keynote address, the DG / CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Pantami, stated that the theme: ‘Leveraging ICT Value for building institutions’ aligns with the growing movement to use ICT to foster sustainable development in institutions.
The DG who was represented by the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, NITDA, Hajiya Hadiza Umar, said it was often said that data is the new oil and organizations can now use data to create wealth.
“Today, an average smartphone can have as many as 10 sensors. We have about 144million active mobile lines in Nigeria, a sizable portion of which are smartphones, potentially giving us access to large volumes of data.
“With Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, such data can be translated into actionable insights for that would lead to sustainable development in the country.”
He encouraged captains of industries in the ICT sector to support ICT capacity building efforts both within their institutions and within the ICT Startup ecosystem, stressing that the future of the ICT industry depends on it.
Also in his presentation, the MD/CEO Africa Operations- Inlaks Nigeria, Femi Adeoti, said that Technology and Innovation will continue to be at the core of the operations of every Institution.
He added that, Mobile and digital payments technology is becoming increasingly significant, especially in the context of developing economies, where many low income households and microenterprises do not have ready access to financial services.
Adeoti stated that national identity management enabled by the biometrics technology serves as a foundation for the development of a country, noting that the use of biometrics have helped to strengthen the integrity of the country’s immigration and also help to prevent fraud during elections with the use of a National Identity Management System.
He noted that technology has not only made access to information easier but it has made learning easier.
He applauded MD of Systemspecs and his team for their role in ensuring that management Control Systems were created through the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
“If a country has a fragmented system for handling government payments through the banking system, it is a critical Public Financial Management weakness that needs to be addressed.
“The TSA provided unified structure of all government bank accounts enabling consolidation and optimum utilization of government cash resources.
“TSA helped the Nigerian Government get a stronger hold of its finances and reduced fraud.” he stated.
Earlier, the Chairman, Open Media Group, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, who was the chief host of the event, applauded Communications Week Media for sustaining the awards for the past 9 years.
He noted that sustenance of the awards is important because the industry is such an evolving one, that always have something new that comes on every now and then in the industry.
He added that Nigeria is not bereft of new terms and new products in the ICT sector, adding that it has being a very good destination for many innovations that have been coming out from time to time.
He said “recently we started hearing about blockchain, and now we have moved to internet of things which is still evolving and there are just so many things that keep coming up all aimed at making our lives easier and creating an environment that makes it possible for us to live our lives in a more digitally enabled way.
“So I like to congratulate CommunicationsWeek team for the good work they have done over the years and the resilience in ensuring that we gather here every year.
“I am sure this evening promises to be a good evening as it has always been in the past and I will like us to relax, feel free and enjoy ourselves.“ he added.
Also, the Founder/Chairman, Zinox Group and Chairman of the event, Chief Leo Stan-Ekeh, said that, the ICT sector is a sector that has manpower deficits and at the same time the most progressive sector in the world.
Dr Ekeh, eulogized and encouraged young men in the industry to stay focus; adding that technology is the new money.
He said, “I want to encourage our young men to stay focus, there is only one factory here, that must open, it does not matter who is in government in the next five years but the reality is that technology is new money, we can’t hide about it, but the young people need energy, I see them, they lack energy, they spend before they earn.
He added that his drive in the industry is as a result that things will turn around in the sector in the next few years; that he wants to watch it happen.
Some faces at the event: