UK Govt, Centre Move to Build Sustainable, Inclusive Digital Access in Nigeria

UK government via the Foreign Commonwealth Development OrganIsation (FCDO), and the Policy Implementation Centre (PIC) of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, are driving the digital access project implementation in Nigeria.

PIC and its UK partner on Thursday in Abuja held a workshop that brought together stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive digital transformation in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in 2019, the Federal Government launched the Nigerian Digital Economy Policy and Strategy to drive the implementation of the digital economy.

Dr Osasuyi Dirisu, Deputy Director at centre in an interview with NAN on the sideline of the event on Friday said that their intention was to drive inclusive and sustainable digital transformation in Nigeria.

Dirisu, represented by Mr Mayokun Adediran, PIC’s Senior Policy Specialist, said the gap in digital divide was overwhelming.

According to him, to achieve digital transformation in Nigeria by 2030, public and private stakeholders must come together.

“Government cannot do it alone, there has to be this collaboration because the sector that drives the economy is the private sector,”Dirisu said.

Chris Abhulmen, Government Sector Specialist for the PIC and FCDO project in Nigeria said in the majority of civilised crimes, it is the private sector that takes the lead in creating innovation and projects that drive the digital economy.

“Nigeria not wanting to be left out, this project now seeks to strengthen the capacity of the stakeholders in the digital economy to be able to drive the implementation plan of 2020 to 2030.

“The FCDO and PIC will build sustainability in the digital economy by empowering the private sector ecosystem and stakeholders.

”This allows them to be able to take the initiative to aid and engage the government through favourable policies.

“These policies will unlock opportunities out of the digital economy and also create opportunities for Nigerian Start-Ups to be able to thrive and create innovation that would create more opportunities,’’ Abhulmen said.

He emphasised that the private sector needed to take ownership of the project as the government alone cannot digitally transform the society.

According to Abhulmen, the true measure of success in a digital economy would be that the government would be fully digitally transformed which would facilitate numerous services offered by the government.

He explained that Nigerians would also be able to participate in a digital economy by leveraging on digital policies and services launched by the government for consumption of various products and services.

“The true measure of a digital economy is in the companies that are unicorns, which have been created out of these opportunities.

“When I mentioned unicorn, which means a billion dollar company and currently Nigeria is not doing so bad, imagine the country having five unicorns, five billion dollar companies already without effort from the government.

“Imagine what would happen if the public and private sector come together and create the enabling environment for innovation to thrive,’’ Abhulmen said.

Oswald Osaretin, Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital Transformation and the Nigerian Start-Up Bill (NSB)Lead, said the bill was waiting for the president’s assent.

Represented by Tracy Okoro, the NSB State ADOPTION Lead, Osaretin said, ”the Start-Up Bill is a set of regulations and legislations that have been put together to create an enabling environment and a thriving economy for tech enabled companies.

“This is because the president decided that young people are the largest assets of the economy and it is important to harness these potentials and use them to develop the country,’’ Osaretin said.

The workshop was themed: ”Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Transformation Project’.”

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