NITDA seeks creation of state-level SITDAs
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
For an inclusive and expedited embrace of information communication technology (ICT) for national development, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has urged all the federating units of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to create its equivalent at the state level.
Deputy Director, Corporate Strategy and Research, Dr Vincent Olatunji who spoke on the sidelines at an ICT forum in Enugu, Enugu Statae, said if the state governments embrace the initiative and create State Information Technology Development Agencys (SITDAs), it will speed up the deployment and use of ICT across the country, promote economic development and help in the delivery of good governance.
He insisted that creating SITDA would not further compound the problems associated with multiplicity of agencies in the country, a development that led the Federal Government to set up the Steve Oronsaye panel charged with reducing the agencies of government. The committee has since submitted its recommendations to government.
Olatunji who represented the Director General of the agency, Peter Jack, recalled that after two major global conference on ICT, a consensus was reached that each member-country went back home and draw a road map, and possibly come out with a blue print that will guide each country in ensuring that ICT is embraced.
He said policies remain ordinary piper tigers untill strategies are put in place to ensure that they are implemented.
Olatunji said NITDA had done a lot in the area of providing infrastructure, manpower development and strategy for ICT growth.
He said NITDA had done so well in providing the roadmap at the federal level, adding that agency is encouraging the states to set up SITDA to help harmonise the needs of the various government agencies, departments and ministries with a view to streamlining policy implementation for overall national development.
“We believe that is the way to drive ICT development and deployment across the country. Sixty per cent of our people live in the rural areas. With SITDA or a bureau directly under the office of the state governor, ICT deployment will be all inclusive. It will go down into the rural areas,” he said.
He lamented that when the agency wrote the governors of the 36 states on the need to position the country as an ICT nation on the global space, only Osun, Enugu and Lagos states responded, adding that the pilot project with the states has been very successful.
He said the second phase of the project will capture Yobe, Sokoto, Ebonyi and about seven other states. According to him, the modus operandi of the scheme is that states will first identify their ICT needs and brought to the attention of NITDA which will in turn work with them through its resources persons on how to evolve a workable framework for policy formulation and consequently, implementation.
Olatunji said because of the agency's interest in the development of both software and hardware, it had created an ICT local content board while guideline has already been launched.
He called for a multi-stakeholder approach and identified cloud computing, e-strategies, big data and others as new areas of global attention.