The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, has said the Digital Nigeria programme by the federal government is a blessing to Nigerians as it will provide a national platform for improving the digital literacy of the citizens and help them to acquire high-level digital skills irrespective of their callings.
Pantami stated this known on Monday during the official launching of the Digital Nigeria Portal and Mobile App, in Abuja.
According to him, the programme would have a strong emphasis on skills for jobs and will include Nigerians in all strata of society, such as youth, women, children, internally displaced persons and people living with disabilities among others.
Said he: “We are championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills. Degrees are only meant to validate skills. This is a growing trend across the globe. For instance, China recently started the process of turning 600 of the country’s general universities into skill centres.
“Also, the President of the United States of America signed an Executive Order on the 26th of June 2020 directing the federal government lay emphasis on skills rather than degrees when hiring staff. The curriculum vitae of today should have 2 main parts- soft skills and hard skills.
“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognise the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens. We recently provided a platform to support the Digital Nigeria programme, enabling Nigerians to receive training in diverse digital skills. As part of these efforts, I earlier launched another online academy executed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). Over 40,000 Nigerians have enrolled across both platforms since the 2nd of April, 2020.”
The minister also enumerated the objective of www.digitalnigeria.gov.ng portal and the ‘Digital Nigeria’ Mobile App, to include empowering innovators and entrepreneurs with skills required to thrive in Nigeria’s emerging digital economy; providing capacity building in a wide range of areas, including Digital Literacy, Productivity Tools, Web Development, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Database Administration, Networking, Programming, Internet of Things and Soft Skills; creating a platform to support a paradigm shift from degrees to skills and bridge the gap between the academia and industry; promote the development and distribution of instructional materials in electronic format; and to create an enabling environment for building the capacity of Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through e-learning channels.
He explained that the journey towards developing Nigeria’s Digital Economy commenced when President Muhammadu Buhari approved the request of redesignation of the Federal Ministry of Communications as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, along with an upgrade of the mandate, on the 17th of October 2019.
He said that was then adopted by the Federal Executive Council on the 23rd of October 2019 and the implementation of the revised mandate of the Ministry commenced on the 24th of October 2019.
The nation’s National Digital Economy, according to him, had been anchored on Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy & Skills; Solid Infrastructure; Service Infrastructure; Digital Services Development & Promotion; Soft Infrastructure; Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and Indigenous Content Development & Adoption.