The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Thursday said plans to establish additional eight Information Technology (IT) hubs to reduce unemployment in the country was on completion stage.
Dr Isa Pantami, the Director- General of the agency said this at a news conference on the forthcoming e-Nigeria conference and the achievements of the agency in the past two years in Abuja.
“NITDA is the process of establishing eight world class IT hubs in Nigeria in the six geo-political zones in the country with one each situated in Lagos and Abuja.
“The IT hubs are to ensure that digital jobs are created.
“We also provide seed funds for start-ups and support them by taking them to world class innovation exhibitions,” he said.
Pantami said that the IT hubs establishment started in 2006, adding that hubs in Lagos, Calabar, Katsina, Oyo, Gombe states were already operational, while other states were still in progress.
According to him, the agency will establish IT hubs in every state of the country and is upgrading already existing ones to meet with the trends in ICT.
The D-G said hat through the IT clearance policy of the agency, the Federal Government had saved N13 billion over two years and had ensured the alignment of IT projects in MDAs.
Pantami said that the agency’s digital inclusion programme had created 86 digital capacity building centres, 80 digital job creation centres, eight virtual libraries with e- learning facilities in some tertiary institutions of the country.
He said that the agency over the past two years had focused on seven pillars, which were IT regulation, cyber security, digital capacity building, government digital services, local content development, digital job creations and digital inclusion.
According to him, creating digital jobs which is leveraging on Information Communication Technology (ICT) is part of the economic diversification strategy of the Federal Government.
On ensuring cyber security, Pantami said the agency was piloting awareness programmes in the country to sensitise citizens on the dynamics and dangers of cyber attacks.
He said that the novel achievement of the agency was bringing sanity in the awarding of IT projects among Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.
“In the past, MDAs used to carry out projects in silos, while some see IT projects as a means of siphoning money.
“Over the past two years, we have made sure that MDAs don’t repeat projects in their budgets because we are placing value on monies spent on IT projects, ” he said.
According to him, NITDA has received 79 prestigious awards for being the best IT regulator both locally and internationally.
He commended the media for supporting the agency over the years and called on them to investigate MDAs for not complying with IT projects regulation and clearance mandate of the agency, adding that it would save money for the government.
The e-Nigeria conference and exhibition, which is the 11th edition, is expected to hold from Nov. 5 to 7 in Abuja and it is the platform to showcase the country’s innovation in the IT sector.
The event, which will be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari is has as its theme: “Promoting a Digital Economy in an Era of Emerging Technologies through Effective Regulations’’.
The maiden edition of eNigeria was held in 2007, it attracted over 25,000 participants, including local, international leaders of thought from business, government and academic communities.
eNigeria is the nation’s annual IT flagship conference and exhibition forum which serves as a melting pot for the best brains and ideas in public, private and Non-Governmental organisations.