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Organisation Tasks IT Stakeholders On 2007 Act Re-Enactment

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has called on stakeholders in the IT sector to participate in its 2007 Act re- enactment.
Mrs Hadiza Umar, NITDA Corporate Affairs and External Relations Head confirmed this on Monday in a statement in Abuja.
Umar said it was to align with the requirements of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
She said the re-enactment had become necessary because the NDEPS replaced the Nigerian National IT Policy of 2000 that instituted the agency and its activities.
“You may recall that the vision of the National IT Policy is to make Nigeria an IT capable country by 2005.
“We can all attest that Nigeria has gone beyond the vision of using IT but aiming to become the digital economy capital of Africa.
“Since the enactment of the NITDA Act 2007, NITDA has operated as the catalytic government agency for developing and regulating the Information Technology sector.
“However, in light of recent advancements in the IT sector and the shift in the global economy paradigm, the NDEPS was envisioned to transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy providing quality life and digital economies.
“It is a known fact that digital technologies have created new forms of economic activities that have been beneficial to the global economy,’’ Umar said.
According to her, these digital technologies come with their promises and perils such as cybercrimes, privacy invasion and other social problems.
Umar said the ups and downs necessitated proactively managing digital technologies’ adoption through the development of a stakeholder-led robust regulatory architecture.
She noted that it was to enable Nigeria to maximise the benefits of such technologies and mitigate the negative consequences.
Umar also pointed out that the agency had identified the need to update its legal framework for regulating and developing a digital economy for Nigeria to meet the needs of a digital economy, protect the rights and interests of stakeholders in the industry.
She assured that the review of the NITDA Act 2007 aimed to address contemporary digital issues, revamp Nigeria’s economy, build trust and protect the rights and interests of players in the ecosystem.
“The review of the NITDA Act 2007 will serve as an enabler for the growth and development of Nigeria’s digital economy.
“It will create a framework for promoting the startup ecosystem, promote indigenous products and services through standardisation.
“It will also be collaborating with the requisite public and private sector partners to carry out activities that will assist in electronic waste disposal.
“It will foster collaboration to facilitate the implementation of robust cyber security measures aimed at building trust in Nigeria’s digital economy, among other objectives,” she said.
She urged stakeholders to support the process, bearing in mind that the agency had engineered the contribution of 17.62 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of the year.
Umar explained that it had been creating jobs in the sector, which had saved the Federal Government more than N22.45 billion, among other benefits.
The official added that the agency’s proposed bill would create a regulatory framework to accelerate Nigeria into a digital economy and substantially catalyse prosperity, promote implementation of policies that support indigenous content.
She further explained that it would create access to digital services, investments, adoption of emerging technologies, innovation, research and development, with a particular focus on the rights of citizens and national interest.
She said the bill was undergoing the necessary review procedure before its anticipated adoption, assent by the president and stakeholders would be engaged as well.
“We, therefore, count on the support of Nigerians toward the successful passage of the Bill and eventual signing into law.
“This will undoubtedly help toward ensuring that Nigeria harnesses the potential of the ever-expanding digital economy,’’ she said.

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NASRDA Harps On Space Technology For Precision Agriculture

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The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)  says it is engaging space science technology to boost agricultural products for food security in the country.
Dr Rakiya Babamaaji, the Head, Natural Resources Management Division of NASRDA, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during an interview with newsmen.
Babamaaji explained that space science technology could be deployed into agriculture through the application of Geospatial technology that involved Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System application.
She said that geospatial technology could be used to map and monitor the location of natural resources, take inventory of vegetation and for smart agriculture and water resources management among others.
She further said the Agency had in May, commenced a Space-Based Smart Agriculture for Food Security in Nigeria.
Babamaaji said that the programme was in line with government’s mandate to ensure food security and enable the country achieve Sustainable Development Goal Two, aimed at ending hunger and increasing availability of food.
“We are trying to use space technology in agriculture and we have a programme called Space Base Smart Agriculture for Food Security in Nigeria which will address food availability.
“Under the programme, there is the Crop Watch project, a platform used to monitor agricultural activities across the country using geospatial technology.
“Under this project, we are going to gather all the spatial data available with restrictions to agriculture, so that farmers can know what is happening in their farms, from the cropping to monitoring the farmland.
“The project will provide the farmers with the climate data, letting them know when to plant, when to apply fertilizer, different soil type in terms of fertility,’’ she said.
“We want to achieve this by engaging farmers on their phones, use of jingles in the radio which could possibly be transmitted in the three major languages and English to reach rural farmers.”
The official said they were working with relevant stakeholders in the country, including the China Academy of Science and China Remote Sensing Centre as technical partners towards achieving the Crop Watch project.
Babamaaji also said the programme would be addressing the Value Supply Chain, whereby challenges faced by farmers from the beginning of the farming season to harvest time would be reviewed.
“We are trying to look at the challenges that prevent them from achieving maximum production in their farming activities and we have chosen a farm in Kuje and in Nasarawa to start this assessment.’’
Babamaaji, however, decried the dearth of data, funding to support the project and lack of awareness among farmers on the importance of space technology to farming.
She recalled that the management of the agency has been advocating for new and advanced satellites that would aid provision of data and help to plan better towards enhanced precision agriculture.
“Most of the farmers don’t know the importance of using satellite or geospatial technology in agriculture, so there is need for us to create more awareness on that.’’
She said that the agency was taking seriously the deployment of space science technology in other sectors to advance good governance and the socio-economic development of the nation.

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FG, Konga Partner On Job Creation

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The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has commended Konga, an e-commerce platform, for partnering with the Federal Government to generate creative employment for millions of Nigerian youths.
  According to a statement released by Konga yesterday the Minister  commended the company while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to seal their partnership in Abuja.
  Dare is quoted as saying that Konga, as a digital platform, had the  immense capacity to help re-write Nigeria’s unemployment narrative.
  ”We at the Ministry of Youth and Sports are of the view that public-private partnerships remain the way forward when it comes to the onerous task of creating opportunities for our youths.
 “ This belief has come to the fore with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and has also been reinforced by a recent World Bank report.
 ‘‘We are delighted to have a technology-driven partner such as Konga partnering with us on this programme.
 “ Also, we are confident that through this MoU which we have signed today, we will be re-writing the narrative for millions of Nigerian youths who are the beneficiaries of this project, “the minister is quoted as saying.
 Chairman, Konga Group, Mr Leo-Stan Ekeh, who also lauded the ministry for its proactive zeal, said that Konga was driven by youths.
 He said that they had the capacity to deliver world-class corporates, even with all the structural challenges confronting  in country.
 Ekeh noted that this was the right time for Nigerian youths to use their intellectual capital and digital skills to defend the nation and become global citizens.
 He urged  Nigerian youths to alter their destiny, while also stressing that their passion in this century must pay their bills.
 Also, Mr Nick  Imudia, Chief Executive Officer, Konga Group, affirmed that the partnership would  afford Konga a chance to create millionaires across Nigeria within a short space of time.
 ‘‘Konga today provides employment directly and indirectly through partnerships for over 250,000 Nigerians.
  “Through this partnership, we are looking to not only offer more hardworking and ambitious Nigerian youths a chance to earn good money and create wealth; we are also keen to create millionaires who will become their own bosses and employ others, “Imudia said.
 He noted that in addition to opportunities which abound in joining their  fast-growing database of Konga affiliates and merchants, more deserving youths would also get job opportunities across the multiple entities within the Konga Group.
 Imudia said the company was  currently conducting a pilot with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and had taken on board about 350 youths already, adding that they were all doing very well.
Our source reports that Konga unveiled an  initiative  under its Jobs category, a youth empowerment and job creation scheme of the Konga Group.
 Specifically, the partnership will see Konga deploy its world-class assets, huge resources and cutting-edge technology backbone.
  The scheme is targeted at the employed, unemployed and under-employed Nigerian youths across board.

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NOTAP Restates Commitment To Protection Of Intellectual Property Rights

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The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) has restated its commitment to uphold intellectual property rights as a tool for economic advancement and nation building.
Dr DanAzumi Ibrahim, the Director-General (D-G) NOTAP said this yesterday in Abuja in celebration of the African Day for Technology and Intellectual Property.
Ibrahim told newsmen that in realisation of the importance of intellectual property to national development, NOTAP was committed to protecting the latent creativities and inventive spirit of young inventors and innovators.
“Intellectual property is one of the ways through which rapid development of a nation can be achieved.
“Promotion of the development of indigenous technology will further help in sensitising and facilitating domestication and development of intellectual property right (IPRs) system in the continent.
“It will reawaken the creative ability of the people in the continent to eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development.’’
The D-G highlighted the correlation between invention, innovation and development of societies and economies adding that a nations that concentrates on inventive talents becomes potential sources of high innovation and modern technology.
Ibrahim said that the agency was able to stop capital flight and strengthen the weak IP culture through its refusal to approve the importation of technological services that could be rendered by Nigerian technologists.
“Most times, when Nigerian entrepreneurs enter into technology transfer agreements with their foreign counterparts, the agreements are drafted in such a way that indigenous technologists/service providers do not benefit.
“Rather expatriates will be deployed to execute jobs that Nigerian technologists are competent enough to handle.
“Through NOTAP’s interventions, poorly drafted patents are not approved unless redrafted to take care of indigenous technologists/skills and strengthen our intellectual property culture,” he stated.
Ibrahim said that the office was actively involved in patent protection from filing, examination, granting and publication; and ensured the conditions were favorable to indigenous inventors.
To further strengthen intellectual culture, the D-G said that NOTAP had embarked on establishments of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) in tertiary and research institutions across the country.
“NOTAP currently has over 50 IPTTOs that will spur the inventive and innovative prowess of researchers in the institutions and strengthen the poor innovative and intellectual property protection culture.
“IPTTO will facilitate the galvanisation of research results for onward commercialization and bridge the gap existing between the academia and the Industry.
He explained that the establishment of IPTTOs was in order to link education to industry due to the disconnection between both, which had led to shelving of research efforts with little or no contribution to industrialisation.
“Through IPTTOs, we have promoted Intellectual Property (IP), innovation and demand driven research in knowledge based institutions as we as contribute to the needs of industry through the technology value chain,’’ Ibrahim said.
He promised to continue to work closely with other government agencies and private bodies to ensure intellectual property was respected.

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