The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has urged young people to upscale their talent in emerging technologies for nation building.
Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, made the call during the 2022 Blockchain Developers’ Summit at Baze University, Abuja, recently.
Speaking on how Blockchain Technology can support Digital Transformation and facilitate the Development of Nigeria into a Digital Economy, he said NITDA was committed to creating and stimulating the ecosystem for Blockchain technology and ensuring that Nigerian innovators thrived.
“There are a lot of opportunities in Blockchain, and it is critical in every business.Talent is the human component of technology and innovations with Blockchain, and emerging technologies is about the new solutions one is bringing onboard.
“So, you need to task yourself to know which solutions or offerings the industry requires,” he said.
According to him, the time for Nigerian youths to leverage on the growing digital sector to tackle the myriad of challenges facing the nation is now, in spite of ethnic differences, because innovative ideas cannot be monopolised.
“Innovation is beyond invention, it needs to get to the point of commercialisation and until you can pitch your idea for someone to pay for your solutions, the innovation would, sadly, only be just an idea”, he said.
He noted that government was building an ecosystem that will enable young people to hatch their ideas from conception to realisation.
The NITDA boss also emphasised on the need for the participants to have venture capitalists who would invest in their innovative ideas.
The D-G also said that the organisation had developed the Blockchain adoption strategy to help stimulate the adoption of blockchain in the country.
He said it would establish the Nigerian Blockchain Consortium, which the summit would address.
Other steps to ensure developing blockchain technology include strengthening developmental regulation and law, and finding focus areas.
Promoting Literacy and Blockchain, Digital Innovation Incentivisation and the Startup Bill which has passed through the third reading at the National Assembly are also other steps.
Inuwa charged Youth Corps members to take advantage of the opportunity and start a business before the end of their service year and possibly always ensure to be among the first movers in any digital-related endeavour.
The D-G also inaugurated the Baze University Artificial Intelligence/Blockchain Laboratory in company of some international innovators.
About 1,500 participants, comprising majorly National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members.
Expert Wants Telcos To Prioritise Improved QoS
A Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy Advisor, Mr. Jide Awe, has urged telecommunication operators to give priority to improving Quality of Services (QoS).
Awe, who is also the Founder of Jidaw.com, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Lagos State, recently.
He said it was necessary to improve the current poor QoS using strategic investment in infrastructure to support current and future needs.
Awe said the future needs included increased number of users and increased traffic volumes of transactions among others.
“Customer journey has evolved significantly over the years, largely influenced by the advancements in telecommunications technology.
“Customers now expect seamless and uninterrupted connectivity across multiple touchpoints, be it through their smartphones, laptops, or Internet of Things (IoT) devices”, he said.
Awe also noted that the telecoms industry was plagued with right-of-way charges, multiple taxation, and insecurity of telecoms infrastructure.
According to him, addressing these challenges is essential for consumer protection to ensure QoS standards are met, and that consumers receive the promised level of service quality.
The policy advisor added that solving the issues would also help in promoting affordable broadband services.
On the role of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) as a regulator, he said the NCC needed to adopt an innovative, supportive, and visionary regulation approach that appreciated the importance of innovation and expansion.
“As new technologies continue to emerge, regulation cannot afford to be static. NCC should inculcate a spirit of innovation and growth in the sector.
“Innovative regulation helps to cultivate an environment that attracts investment to propel sectoral growth. Investor-friendly initiatives, simplification of regulations, strategic and disruptive thinking/approaches are crucial”, he said.
‘No Going Back On Plans Against Passport Racketeers’
A top immigration officer in Port- Harcourt, who spoke anonymosly, has stressed that the Immigration Service, Rivers State Commission will not soft pedal on plans to go against passport racketeering in the State.
Stating this in an interview with the press in Port Harcourt, Monday, he warned against any attempt to portay the agency in bad light, saying such will be resisted by the system.
He emphasised that passport racketeering is capable of portraying the command in bad light, especially the Passport Unit, at the international group where it belonged.
Noting that the passport processes do not require a third party, easy and pocket friendly, the officer expressed regrets that the saboteurs charge the unsuspecting members of the public seeking passport exhobitantly thereby making the process cumbersome.
He boasted on how the passport personnel “have all it takes to deliver tasks on schedule with zero complaint”.
According to him, those in the act of the alleged sabotage risk imprisonment, if caught, in that it is viewed as economic sabortage on the part of the Federal Government.
“Passport racketeering is against the law and abuse of process. Things must be done in order and decently. We are an agency established by law. So, anything we are doing must follow due process”, he said.
He has also called on members of the public to be wary of patronising road-side passport operators to avoid double payment.
“If due process will be followed, according to him, the issue of passport racketeering will belong to history”.
He also described as a plus, the introduction of e-gates in about four International Airports in the country, including Port Harcourt.
Stories compiled by King Onunwor
Minister Wants States To Align Technological Advancement With Local Prionties
Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Chief Uche Nnaji, has urged states to align their technological advancements with local priorities.
The Minister said this at the first edition of the interactive forum for state commissioners in charge of Science and Technology, held in Abuja recently.
Nnaji said states should also provide solutions for regional-specific challenges and promoting a more robust and resilient scientific ecosystem that fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing.
“This alignment will ensure inclusivity, unlock the immense potential of our nation’s intellectual and technological resources, and propel our states to the forefront of technological advancements”, he said.
The Minister also urged the commissioners to actively engage local industries, research institutions and community stakeholders, so as to collaborate in amplifying the impact of Nigeria’s scientific endeavours.
He said this was important to ensure seamless transition from research to application of the scientific endeavours, to facilitate economic growth and ensure technological advancements that meet the needs of citizens.
“As Nigeria transits from a resource to a knowledge-based economy driven by innovation, it is worth emphasising that this task is daunting but certainly surmountable, and will require strong commitment, continuous learning and adaptive strategies.
“Let us, therefore, approach it with a sense of urgency, recognising that the decisions we make today will shape the future of our scientific landscape”, he said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Esuabana Asanye, said the forum was meant to broaden their scope and ensure their buy-in and implementation of the National Science and Technology Roadmap 2017-2030.
Asanye stated that the roadmap represented the desire to implement the National Policy on Science, Technology and Innovation designed to hasten innovation, economic growth and inclusive scientific development to meet national aspiration.
“The task before us is a shared responsibility to harness the full potential of our sub national for the national scientific landscape for environmental sustainability and curbing climate devastation. Each state has its unique demographic resourcefulness and if properly managed, would exponentially foster the culture of innovation at the grassroot level for sustainable development”, she said.
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