The Honourable Minister of Communications and leader of Nigeria’s delegation to Gulf Information Technology Expo (GITEX) 2019, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS,FBCS,FIIN has enjoined stakeholders in Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT)ecosystem to align themselves to exploration rather than exploitation of ICT development.
The Minister gave the advice while delivering his opening remarks during the commissioning ceremony of the Nigerian Pavilion at 39th GITEX Technology Week, 2019 holding at World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirate.
He said that, “let us be more aligned to exploration and be disruptive by challenging the existing status quo. We should not be dogmatic and static in our approach to ICT deployment and development. With exploration, we will be successful while exploitation will lure us to sleep”.
While explaining Nigeria’s objectives of participating at the annual event, Dr Pantami noted that the mission is to showcase Nigeria’s achievements in ICT, solicit for investors, look out for technologies we can transfer and apply to our peculiar challenges and networking”, adding that, “it is very crucial for us to be attending international conferences because ICT can not be developed in silos”.
“We need to learn from people above us and even people below us because ICT can not be deployed in silos. We need people that can challenge the status quo. Our passion towards ICT development and deployment should not remain the same after this event,” the minister advised.
He challenged all Heads of parastatals under his supervision to improve on their interventions to startups and not to focus only on research and development. “I am not discouraging Research and Development but we need to improve on our assistance and mentorship to Startups because they could help in the implementations of our researches which are theoretical,”he said.
“Let us improve on our commitments for the start-ups by increasing the seed funds, providing mentorship to them and encourage patronage of local contents,” the Minister stated.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) who doubled as the host of the event, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE observed that the drafting of the seven strategic pillar by NITDA and their implementations helped Nigeria to exit recession in shortest possible time.
He stated that, “NITDA will keep investing in our people and ICT in order to diversify the economy from oil based to knowledge based”.
“Coming to GITEX provides opportunities to learn from what other countries are doing in the ICT sector. We are here to learn and domesticate what we have learned. And like Honourable Minister usually say, think globally and act locally,”he enthused.
While commending the ICT’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product, the DG encouraged the stakeholders not to rest on their oars but do more to improve its contribution.
Similarly, the Managing Director of Galaxy backbone, Arc. Yusuf Kazaure called for more partnership among the sister agencies. He said Nigeria’s participation at GITEX has made her visible in the global ICT sphere.
He commended NITDA for scouting for two Nigerian start-ups who made it to semi final in the start-up competition.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communication Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Dantata pledged the commitment of the Commission to improve broadband penetration in the country. He said, “we will ensure provision of ICT infrastructure to critical mass for adoption and usage in Nigeria”.
He said, “In line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive and with the acceptance of the minister to drive the deployment, in the next four years, we will deploy 120km of fibre optic capable for broadband penetration.
The opening ceremony of the event witnessed the creme-de-la-crème from Nigeria IT sector and lawmakers among whom are Chairman and Vice Chairman Senate Committee on ICT, Senator Yakubu Oseni and Senator Abdulfatai Buhari respectively, the House committee chairman on ICT, Hon. Abubakar Lado Suleja, Nigeria’s Ambassador to UAE, His Excellency, Alhaji Muhammed Dansatta Rimi, Chairperson, Nigeria Postal Services’ Board, Barrister Meaimuna Abubakar among others.