From Auwal Umar, Gombe
Director General of the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Dr. Ali Isa Pantami has said that some countries are a not relying on oil and gas for economic development.
Dr. Pantami, who disclosed this while speaking with Journalists in an interview in Gombe, lamented that and for the main source of revenue of Nigeria is from the oil and gas sector while others have since diversified and expressed fear that “Any country that relies on oil and gas without thinking of how to diversify its economy, for sure the feature is very dark
“As far as we continue to rely on oil and gas in this country our feature is very dark. Many nations have since discovered ICT as an alternative for oil and gas while here in Nigeria, ICT is the second to oil and gas, making our GDP to be around 10.26% which is second to gas”, he added.
He further said that in addition the best way for us to develop our ICT is to ensure that, “we are not only ICT consumers but ICT producers” explaining that the programme is called ‘Start up Friday’ while another one is called ‘Start up Clinic’ and ‘Start up Nigeria’, which is organized as a training and competition event.
Dr. Pantami explained that “we will visit each and every zone of the country to identify young talented Nigerians that have the potentials of making the country proud through their ICT ideas, we will select them through competitions, we train them, we mentor them and at the end of the event we select the best of them and we can see how we can keep in touch with them and we even take them to international events where their ideas can be presented”.
He also said that the wisdom behind is to build Nigeria’s ICT Eco system to ensure that the country is not only an ICT consumer but ICT producer saying, We are extending to all Local Governments in the country, and whenever we intend to organize in one zone we ensure that all states participate and we make sure the message reaches their local governments, through that anyone who has an idea will come forward to present”.
The NITAD DG further said that , “we contact universities and all higher institutions of learning to get those that are willing to participate and sometimes if we see they have the idea we even invite them. Many people have benefited from our programme in North East through our scholarship for Msc, PhD through our internship programme even recently about 3 months ago over 250 people benefited from the North East alone and this one in this competition 12 people participated”
He then called on youth to stop redundancy because according to him; “each and every one of us was blessed by God with a certain talent and therefore they should wake up to use their talent so that they become employees of labour and not to be employed”.
He concluded that within the time he became the DG of NITAD, this is the third one in the series of the training which was first was conducted in the North Central zone in Kaduna and 2nd one was held in Lagos for the South West while this is the 3rd for the North East zone.