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NITDA hinges improved living standard on functional national database

Published by Guardian on Mon, 13 May 2013

EXCEPT Nigeria has a definite and functional national database, the country's quest of becoming a major economic bloc by 2020 may remain a mirage.Specifically, the challenge of not having a national database is said to be retarding the country's developmental growth, because policies have not been matched with actions.Speaking in Lagos at the weekend, the Director-General of the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Angaye, who stated this, added that for visible growth, Nigeria must mitigate the increasing influence of poverty among its citizens.Eradicating poverty, Angaye said a proper national database would offer the country the opportunity to be able to allocate resources efficiently.Besides, he said the database would also assist the country in the areas of security.While calling for a collaborative effort between government and the private sector in Nigeria's developmental quest, the NITDA DG said the economy will grow if efforts could also be channeled towards mass digital literacy and improved educational standards.According to him, poor human capacity development and lack of infrastructure cum decay are also retarding Nigeria's economic prowess.'For the economy to grow, there is need for mass literacy and digital education. We must get our infrastructure right and research and development.'We must also be computer literate because that is where the world is going to. Everything is moving online. We must also move in that direction', he stated.Angaye, who noted that that there are no jobs in the private sector because of lack of training, especially in computer, noted that for any visible transformation agenda, there is need to provide the necessary tools to drive it.Angaye, who spoke on 'Role of ICT in the transformation agenda and job creation' at the Pan-African University organized forum, noted that its agency is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring deeper ICT penetration.According to him, apart from bringing Information Technology to the doorstep of Nigerians, he said the agency has established over 400 Rural Information Technology Centres (RITCs).The RITCs, he said are aimed at providing a community-based platform for youth empowerment through e-learning and capacity building in Information Technology and community-based trainings in IT-enabled outsourcing and promoting equitable access to assets (credit, education, information, and technology).Angaye added that the Internet centres will also help to minimize migration from rural to urban areas by providing the means for rural dwellers and the semi-urban population to become part of the evolving knowledge based society and to participate in an economy that is driven by Information TechnologyAccording to him RITCs will promote decentralization, enable local administrative units to be upgraded, plan development activities, and enable Local Governments to work closely with NGOs and Community organizations.The RITC is a technology-driven response to the need for the active involvement and participation of rural and grass root populace in a knowledge society. Other developmental programs NITDA is pursuing are the establishment of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), Post Graduate Scholarship Scheme for Masters and PhD Students in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sector, Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure in Tertiary Institutions and development of Software Development Centres.
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