Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu has chaired the 2017 Nigeria Computer Society Conference on “Information Technology Innovation for Sustainable Development” where he eloquently and with utmost precision highlighted ways Nigeria could overcome the boggling local and global challenges of sustainable development through the use of Information Technology. Read Below his full Speech at the event:

I am highly honoured to be the Chief Host at this year’s Nigeria Computer Society Conference on “Information Technology Innovation for Sustainable Development”. As you may recollect, I was the Keynote Speaker at the last edition of this Conference. Your efforts are most worthy and I am proud of my association with the Society. It therefore gives me a great excitement to be here again as you share ideas and knowledge on applying Information Technology to address the local and global challenges of Sustainable Development.

The theme is quite important and challenging, considering that Information Technology has become imperative for recovery from recession and accelerating social and economic development.

It is acknowledged globally that ICT is a strategic enabler of development and I’m glad that your sub-themes have covered the critical areas requiring the attention of ICT Innovation.

Indeed, innovative and new uses of ICT have the potential to provide smarter, cost effective and secure solutions with far reaching impacts. It is our generation that must make poverty, disease, hunger and other inequalities history. It is our generation that must take the right decisions about the global issue of environmental changes, most especially climate change. The desired change and improvement call for the use of the right tools; and that is why ICT innovation is so important. This is why ICT innovation must be prioritized in sustainable development activities both locally and on the global level.

I congratulate the Society in choosing this topic to facilitate information and knowledge sharing on this most important area through the invited speakers and resource persons and an impressive conference program and organization.

The Ministry seeks greater collaboration between the Government and other stakeholders to address the varied issues hindering the use and growth of ICT Innovation for sustainable development in Nigeria. This conference is therefore a good start, examining issues bordering on adapting Information Technology Innovation for Sustainable Development.

The main role of Government in the development and management of ICT is to provide the enabling environment for Digital Growth in Nigeria through appropriate Legislation, Policy and Strategy.

In its efforts to diversify the Nigerian economy from oil-based to a knowledge-based and sustainable economy in line with the mandate of the present Administration, the Ministry of Communications has embarked on some landmark activities in the areas of policies, initiatives, infrastructural development and social programmes designed to promote significant achievements. These initiatives are targeted at creating an environment that is conducive for the required growth and rapid development in the ICT sector in order to rapidly attain a knowledge -based economy in Nigeria. 

You will recall that since I assumed office, I have worked with all stakeholders to provide guidance and direction for the sector. I am happy to inform you here today that the Information and Communication Technology Roadmap has been approved by the Federal Executive Council. The ICT roadmap is a fundamental component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017 to 2020) of the Federal Government.

The key components of the ICT Roadmap that we will deliver this year are:

(i)  Hosting of the Smart Cities Summit

(ii) ICT University

(iii) Capacity Development for Cybersecurity

(iv) Establishment of National ICT Part at the Abuja Technology Village

(v) Schools Knowledge program

(vi) Extension of Government service portal

(vii) Establishment of secretariat for implementation of the eGovernment master plan

(viii) Electronic Document management system

(ix) Extension of Open Data portal

(x) Establishment of Citizen information center/ Government contact center

(xi) Establishment of the ICT Development Bank

The ICT sector in the past year has recorded landmark activities and significant achievements. The environment for greater achievements has been created. Now there is greater access to ICT and Nigerians are today better able to use ICT, thus integrating them into the global digital economy and its benefits. Although challenges still abound, implementation of already mapped out initiatives and programmes will ensure the optimal transformation of Nigeria to a true SMART State.

I therefore use this auspicious occasion to call on all stakeholders, in this industry and profession, to work with the Ministry in making useful contributions and implementing these policies and initiatives.

On this note, I wish to congratulate the President and entire membership of the Nigeria Computer Society as well as partners and sponsors of its 13th International Conference. You have put in place a much needed international gathering of experts in technology, innovation, education, research, social development, policy and sustainable development in Abuja, the Federal Capital of Nigeria.

I urge all of us to promote effective knowledge and experience sharing. I also urge us to address how new disruptive technologies can help the cause of sustainable development. We must leave no one behind as we improve our digital infrastructure and environment. I look forward to discussions and activities that will engender significant improvements and impact in sustainable development through IT Innovation.

Once again, I thank you most sincerely for the opportunity given me to be your Chief Host at this conference. I wish you all fruitful deliberations.

May God bless the Nigeria Computer Society and its members as we strive together to build a Smarter country.

 I thank you all.

By Dotun Roy is a development driven news website with the overall goal of amplifying, promoting and advocating for positive societal change through Sustainable Development advocacy in line with UN SDGs components such as education, environmental sustainability and Climate Change, Human Rights, health, finance, housing, good governance as well as security in Nigeria and across the world.

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