The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has put certain modalities in place to reduce the estimated $2 billion (about N720 billion) being lost as capital flight in the importation of information technology (IT) annually.
NITDA’s director-general, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, stated this in his acceptance speech while receiving the Distinguished Friend of the Media Award conferred on him by the Nigerian Union of Journalists at its 2018 Press Freedom Awards night at the weekend.
Pantami, who said he felt greatly honoured and elated to be bestowed with the NUJ award, noted that the country would save billions of naira from ensuring that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) comply with the standards and guidelines set by NITDA for a well-developed ICT sector.
Noting that this will significantly improve all sectors of the economy, including the media, the DG said, “It will reduce capital flight, create jobs, generate revenue and help to position Nigeria as a producer of world-class ICT products and not just consumer of such products.
“It will also position us to tell our story to a global audience in a way that will enhance our status in the comity of nations,” he added. Stressing the need for compliance on the part of MDAs, he said, “Proper regulation makes development easier to achieve. As such, we renewed our emphasis on regulation and developed standards and guidelines for different aspects of the ICT sector. In addition to this, we have put the necessary machinery in place to ensure compliance.
“Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Nigerian government now come to us for the clearance of their ICT projects. We do this to ensure that there is no duplication, there is value for money and that the projects are sustainable. This has saved the Federal Government billions of Naira”.
The NITDA DG pointed out that Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have redefined the art of media and its effects are changing society in many ways. Citing the social media as instance, he said the social media has extended the reach of traditional media, noting however that some people have also used it to propagate fake news and hate speech.
“At NITDA we are happy to support the NUJ to use ICT to enhance press freedom as well as to address the ills of information dissemination in the 21st Century”, he added. Commenting on the award, Pantami said, “I am delighted to be a friend of the media and see this Award as a challenge to do more. I am committed to redoubling my effort and that of my team to ensure that we further develop the ICT sector in 2018 and maintain our cordial relationship with the media as we project our nation in a positive light.”