During one of its meetings, specifically the 4th regular meeting held in Kaduna State on 24th to 29th of October 2016, the National Council on Communication Technology (NCCT), received a total of 76 memoranda, out of which 65 were considered. After extensive deliberations, 16-point communique was adopted.
One of the 16-point communique was the recommendation that: “All States of the Federation should establish their State Information Technology Development Agency”.
National Council on Communication Technology is the highest consultative body for the Governments of Nigeria on matters pertaining to ICT development, with a view to achieving some degree of uniformity in policy and standards.
It is also an avenue to strengthen the understanding and working relationship between officials in charge of ICT development at the Federal level and at the state level.
In attendance during the 4th regular meeting, were members of the National Assembly, Hon. Commissioners and representative of States, CEO of Agencies and Parastatals in-charge of ICT at States and Federal levels, NGOs, Members of the Organized Private Sectors (OPS) and other critical stakeholders.
In that meeting, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) presented a memo, requesting the council to consider approving its request for all of the states of the federation to establish their State Information Technology Development (SITDA), with all powers and responsibilities similar to NITDA at the federal level.
The memo noted that since ICT is now widely used for efficient service delivery for the overall wellbeing of the society, states would be more efficient and effective if they can establish an agency called State Information Technology Development Agency (SITDA) for rapid deployment, development and regulation of the IT sector for especially the operation of e-government services across the entire administration of State Governments.
It also reiterated NITDA’s commitment to collaborating with SITDA in ensuring that various organs of governments across the state will develop and formulate regulatory policy framework and guidelines for overall deployment and use of ICT goods and services within the state.
The meeting noted that the following states namely Delta, Cross River, Plateau, Ogun, Adamawa, and Kano had developed their ICT policies in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as agreed in their last meeting.
There is a consensus that ICT has a very vital role to play in the diversification and economic growth of the country, in view of its multi-layer contributions to various sectors of the national economy. Globalisation and advancement in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have brought about phenomenal changes and opened opportunities for developing countries including Nigeria to meaningfully participate at the international level, in the global digital economy.
This has added impetus to the movement towards a knowledge-based, against resource-based economic growth. As an enabler of innovation, productivity, and growth in all sectors of socio-economic activities, ICT in Nigeria has contributed to employment and income generation particularly among the youths who constitute more than 60% of the nation’s population.
Akwa Ibom begins its journey:
On Friday, May 28, 2020, a member representing Itu State Constituency in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Kufreabasi Edidem, sponsored for deliberation a bill for an Act to establish Akwa Ibom State Information Technology Development Agency (AISITDA).
Akwa Ibom State as of now, does not have a strategic IT framework and policy direction. Akwa Ibom State does not a specialised agency peopled with IT professionals, who would advise the government on matters pertaining to IT. I salute the courage and foresight of Hon. Kufreabasi Edidem to sponsor the bill.
There has never been any appropriate time to consider a transition to digital economy than now. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up many challenges to developing economies. Nigeria, a nation that has largely been dependent on oil revenue should think differently, considering the dwindling oil fortunes in the global market. IT now drives global economy.
Akwa Ibom State cannot afford to play second fiddle. All right-thinking Akwa Ibom people should support this bill to succeed. His Excellency, Gov. Udom Emmanuel should not hesitate to convey his assent once the bill is passed by the legislature.
First published on the Guide