By Juliet Umeh
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantanmi, have said that the launch of the Digital Nigeria Portal and App will provide a platform to empower Nigerians to develop relevant skills and build innovative solutions to address challenges within the country.
He said it will provide a National Platform for improving the digital literacy of Nigerians and will enable Nigerians from all walks of life acquire high level digital skills.
Speaking at an official launch of the programme in Abuja, Pantanmi said the portal will 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, people living with disabilities among others.
He said: “It is a follow up to the Mr President’s flagging off of the Digital Nigeria Programme on the 19th of March 2020 to support Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training for Nigerians.
“Our journey towards developing Nigeria’s Digital Economy commenced when Mr President approved our 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.
“This 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,” he remarked.
Pantanmi also noted that the development of the National Digital Economy is anchored on the eight pillars as stated in National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, NDEPS.
According to him, they include Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy & Skills; Solid Infrastructure; Service Infrastructure;
Digital Services Development & Promotion; Soft Infrastructure; Digital Society & Emerging Technologies; and
Indigenous Content Development & Adoption.
He explained: “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 to 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 recognises 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 program, 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 added: “Today, we are formally launching the www.digitalnigeria.gov.ng portal and the ‘Digital Nigeria’ Mobile App. We are committed to enabling Nigerians acquire high level digital skills from the comfort of their homes.”