The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has called for more investment in digital Sector, advising that there is need to identify priorities, preferences and work hard to attain terms of promoting and producing indigenous IT products and services.
The Minister made this known while addressing participants at the virtual Investment in Indigenous Roundtable organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) through the Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT (ONC) with the theme “National Imperatives for Investment in Indigenous Content for Development of Nigeria’s Digital Economy”.
According to the minister, the Digital economy is contributing significantly in the country’s gross domestic product, giving instances of financial sector which largely runs digital services as a key part of the Digital economy, “the Digital economy covers the ICT sector, Digital services, Online transactions, E-commerce, Online payments, Transfers, Internet facilitated transactions, transfers, among others”, he said.
While assuring the Ministry’s readiness to ensure that the government makes the Digital sector friendlier for investments and innovation as efforts towards the actualisation of a Digital Nigeria, he noted there is need to invest more in the digital economy.
Dr Pantami said that indigenous content development is very important, we need to produce what we need, and we need to consume what we produce, advised that this is the best time to invest in the digital sector so that we can be able to reap the benefit of our investment”, adding that the indigenous content development roundtable is in line with pillar number 8 of the Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.
The Director General of NITDA Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi said the Stakeholder Roundtable discussion is aimed at identifying a sustainable investment framework for the Nigerian tech ecosystem in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria.
He stressed that the event’s outcome will also be used as an input for the proposed Digital innovation and entrepreneurship policy which the Honourable Minister directed NITDA to engage tech community in ensuring its actualisation.
The DG said lack of in-country venture capital and other investment resources within tech ecosystems is of great concern which is why the Agency through its subsidiary ONC, organised this event. Adding that with an increasingly attractive investment landscape, exceptional talent, and a large population, Nigeria has become a hotspot for FDI in 2019.
Mallam Abdullahi said according to to the Technet report, Nigeria attracted 50.5% of the $1.34B African tech startups raised, which is equivalent to $ 663.24m.
“To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our digital ecosystem, the Nigerian Federal Government is already working on digital innovation and entrepreneurship policy,” he said.
The NITDA Boss assured participants the need to leverage on the youthful population, he said “we will also leverage on our youthful population, increasing smartphone and broadband penetration, and focus government policy on the digital economy to create the perfect recipe for a thriving digital innovation ecosystem.”
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr Uche Orji while delivering his keynote address stated that technology develops through networking as it does not bloom in isolation, adding that “if you do not have an active technology sector you will be a spectator in the global world of technology.
He averred that a vibrant IT sector does not just bring cash but innovations and pool of ideas.
Earlier, the National Coordination Office for Nigerian Content (ONC) Barrister Kassim Sodangi while giving his opening remarks said it is important to do more in terms of local capital to make it more attractive and align policy ideas and implementation to ensure that all hands are on deck towards the actualisation of indigenous content development.