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NITDA mulls new policy document on digital innovation, entrepreneurship

By Stanley Iwuoha

The National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) says it is working through Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Stakeholders in the Start Up ecosystem to create a policy document for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The idea for co-creation of the document is to come up with unique strategies of drafting the policy which would make implementation seamless and for it to be owned by the stakeholders.

The NITDA Director General, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, stated this at the stakeholders meeting and workshop held in Abuja.

The DG, who was represented by the Director of e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr Vincent Olatunji stated that the agency adopted the new approach of co creating the document with stakeholders for it to be owned by Nigerians.

“We want you to see this assignment as a national assignment that is the reason we deviate from the usual engaging the consultant to prepare the policy for us, if we had engage the consultant we may not see the document as ours and we want it to be owned by us.”

He further stated that the idea would be a game changer in the country because the country has a start up ecosystem that can compete with anyone in the world.

“I keep saying it, we have ideas and these ideas can be compared to any other in the world. We want an ecosystem that can develop tech solutions from ideation stage to commercialization and this cannot be easily achieved without properly having a plan that can really guide us in doing the right thing.’’

Dr Olatunji, said that, cocreating a document of such magnitude would prevent people working in silos without proper direction of what we want to do adding that, that is why it is very important to have “this kind of document that is jointly prepared.

He said, “We want to properly understand what we want to do, how we want to do it, who are the Stakeholders and where do stakeholders come from. This is why we selected people from academia, industry, public sector, private sector and start-ups ecosystem in the country.’’

While decrying the attitude of Nigerians for not patronizing the local solutions upon the proclamation of Executive Orders 003 and 005, Dr Olatunji advised for patronage of local ICT products and services.

In her remarks, the National Coordinator of OIIE, Dr. Amina Sambo-Magaji advised the stakeholders not to be over ambitious in their efforts at preparing the document because its implementation would be within three years.

She said, “We want to prepare a document that is very simple and achievable within three years time frame. We want a document that would super charge the start up ecosystem.

‘‘The National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy would be anchored on 5 strategic pillars these include advancing human capital, unlocking funding, enabling infrastructure, boosting demand and promoting entrepreneurship.’’

Participants at the workshop were drawn from government organisations, private sector, academia, investors and entrepreneurs. Representative from Facebook Nigeria, Innovation Support Network, Blue Sapphire and other notable hubs were selected for the review of the documents.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami publicly presented the draft document last Friday.

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