Experts in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector have called on the Federal Government to develop a national framework to grow smart ICT systems and data economy in 2019. The statement was made by Mr. Jide Awe during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria. (NAN) in Lagos.
Mr. Awe is an ICT expert. He also used the opportunity to call attention to the area of policy implementation, which he said will move the industry forward.
He said: ‘2018 was a mixed bag for the ICT sector, as the digital economy was definitely on the rise.
‘ICT is hugely important and contributed more than what it ever recorded as most sectors experienced greater digital adoption and application.
‘Domestic and foreign investments are being attracted according to the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) figures.
‘Some other high points in 2018 are the setting up of innovation hubs by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and agency’s implementation of Government’s Executive Orders which prioritises indigenously developed IT content in procurement by MDAs.
‘Nigerians are increasingly adopting digital channels to shop, to educate, do business and attend to personal matters.
‘There has also been greater cloud adoption by businesses and individuals to improve performance.
‘Young people continue to inspire as they win awards on the global stage.
‘In 2018, a young Nigerian also developed a programming language that allows programmers to code in Yoruba.
‘Significantly, NITDA announced that tech startups contributed 101 million dollars to the Nigerian economy in 2018.
‘These and many more are how the ICT industry has fared in 2018, but with the development of the National ICT framework and implementation of the e-government inter-operability framework, 2019 will be more productive,’ he said.
Awe said that in spite of new initiatives in 2018, the sector witnessed bad spots such as quality of service which was still a big issue in the telecommunications industry.
He said that though broadband penetration had improved, multiple taxations and other serious challenges were militating against the progress of broadband penetration efforts, affecting the seven licenced infrastructure companies (infracos) in particular.
Awe said that large segments of the populace such as women, the elderly, individual living with disabilities, people outside the formal sector, the poor and the rural populace were still digitally excluded.
He added that the level of national cybersecurity coordination was also low and public awareness of cyber threats was quite poor as well.
Awe said that in 2019, industry players were hopeful that policies of government, advances, and development of technology would help unfold shifts that would affect their operations and performances, especially in terms of opportunities and challenges.
‘Emerging issues and technologies will be of particular interest.
‘Industry players that wish to stay ahead will always be interested in exploring the use and development of new technology to create disruptive and innovative business solutions.
‘I expect new forms of digital collaboration that will continue to grow, leading to an increase in meetings, trainings, conferences and teamwork engagements in virtual pace.
‘Also, with the right enabling environment, there should be more collaboration between industry, the academia and government,’ he said.