Enugu State Government in partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), today, March 1, 2020, commenced training of fifty (50) persons living with disabilities (PLWDs) in IT Entrepreneurship.
Enugu State tapped into the training which is an initiative of Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy led the Minister, by Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) and being implemented by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to empower PLWD through IT entrepreneurship, policies and solutions to enable them live productively with good sense of inclusion in the IT ecosystem, immediate society and the country at large.
In his address at the opening ceremony, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, said the training programme was designed to afford Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) the opportunity to make meaningful contributions by building their Digital Literacy Skills.
The Governor who spoke through the State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hon. Obi Kama, said the State Government is taking a proactive stance to create programs for Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills development to reduce the risk of massive labour substitution and endemic unemployment, especially at post-COVID-19 pandemic era by enabling the youths to leverage the new entrepreneurial and economic opportunities associated with digital economy.
“This has necessitated the establishment of the Enugu Technology Hub and Youth Innovation Centre”, Governor Ugwuanyi said.
“The unexpected outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to more digitally enabled lifestyles and system of working globally.
Furthermore, the Governor urged NITDA to seriously consider to site its South East Zonal Office in Enugu.
On why Enugu State matters, Governor Ugwuanyi said, “It is an Educational and Scientific Centre, the gateway to South East and South South; and was the Administrative Headquarters of Southern and Eastern Provinces (1929), Eastern Region (1954-1967), East Central State (1970-1976) and old Anambra State (1976-1991).
“Enugu State is also home to 7 innovation hubs and 16 Tertiary Institutions with over 20 campuses.
“I will also proudly point out that the 1st Computer System in Nigeria was assembled in Enugu at ASUTECH now Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUTH).
“Consequently, The State Government is willing to partner with NITDA by making available the entire required infrastructure to reactivate the South- East Zonal Office at Enugu. Please kindly indicate your requirements as soon as possible to Enugu State Government”, he submitted.
The Governor also ceased the occasion to congratulate the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy for getting Nigeria out of recession through expansive growth in the ICT sector.
He also urged the participants the leverage the opportunity the training presents to prepare themselves for the digital economy era.
On his part, Hon. Kama described the training as timely.
According to him, “the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, elicits that gaps and risks implicit in the digital economy are more exposed by the COVID-19 shock particularly in the African countries. The current ‘New Normal’ situation therefore requires the need to empower PLWDs through investments in ICT infrastructure, policies and solutions that will accelerate their efforts in tapping into the new possibilities unlocked by digitalization.
“I appreciate the inclusive nature of this training in bridging the Digital divide among PLWDs in the South-east, especially Enugu State.
“I’m convinced that this training will mitigate the existing digital divide and foster the digital inclusion of Persons Living With Disabilities within an educational context as well as within the society as a whole”, he said.
The Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on ICT, Hon. Emeka Ani, told the participants that society has shifted from an economy based on commodities and manual labor to an economy based on knowledge and highly qualified human capital.
“Therefore, employees need to be prepared to shift jobs and to be flexible in acquiring skills. Information and communication technology (ICT) is pervasive in the workplace and there is a high demand for ICT-proficient employees with technical know-how, information, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills. That is why this training is very important”, he said.