By Raphael Jov, Abuja
National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has put numerous efforts in creating an enabling environment for the purpose of cushioning the effect of the pandemic and creating more jobs, the director general of NITDA Mallam Kashifu Inuwa has said.
The DG said this during his speech at the ISN North Regional Gathering 2020; a virtual event organized by Innovation Support Network (ISN) in collaboration with Ford Foundation with the theme “Repositioning Hubs for Post pandemic success “.
He said that, among these initiatives is the setting up of the Tech4Covid19 committee which has come up with plan to ensure that it retains about 100,000 ICT Jobs, and create additional 30,000 in Post COVID-19 Era through this initiative.
“We swiftly initiated several policies and programmes for the technology ecosystem and Startups to be able to withstand the impact of the pandemic”,
The agency has also rolled out these initiatives in order to ensure that technology continues to enable innovation and entrepreneurship while addressing challenges of the society.
He explained that the Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge is where Nigerians were challenged to come up with innovations; to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
NITDA Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Support Scheme support startups and hubs across the country, he said that, “with over 130 hubs in Nigeria, we are finalizing plans to ensure rapid intervention is provided for hubs and startups based on competence and carefully selected criteria”.
The agency is following up the startups with highly innovative ideas that were selected for further incubation and mentorship, this action supports our indigenous and local content policy, thereby creating more jobs.
Another initiative of the agency is the Startup Clinic which is a platform for gathering Startups, mostly young people to meet with mentors, successful entrepreneurs, investors, Industry specialist, business consultants and hub operators with the goal of solving problems and challenges they were facing.
Hinting several startup clinics all over the country before and during the COVID pandemic. As emphasized that the NITDA is poised to continue building capacities.
Mallam Abdullahi added that, agriculture as the mainstay of the Nigerian Economy, it contributes a significant chunk of gross domestic product (GDP) (NBS), which he said if properly harnessed, it will be a massive employer of labour.
In order to improve agricultural practices and create job, the agency initiated its SMART Agric Project where it engages farmers and focuses on using precision/smart farming techniques to ensure significant improvement in efficiency and productivity thereby increasing crop yield; increased profit margin and create more jobs, he said.
The DG stressed that now more than ever there is a greater need to promote deeper collaborations and partnerships, attract funding from multilateral organizations, as well as guide stakeholders in designing and implementing innovative solutions peculiar to our need and created the needed jobs.