FG Plans Establishment of ICT Varsity to Boost Human Capacity

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Emma Okonji

The federal government is planning to establish Information and Communications Technology (ICT) University that will offer courses mainly on technology and telecommunications.

The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who made the disclosure at a special reception in his honour, organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos recently, said the decision to establish ICT University is to enhance human capacity building and to bridge technology skills gap that has led to dearth of ICT skills in the country.

The minister said although Nigeria has a specialised ICT institute like the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) in Abuja, with branches in Lagos, as well as some universities that offer general courses in engineering and technology, they are not enough to provide the core training and retraining of Nigerians and company staff on practical skills that will boost local content development in the country.

He said, “government is also in the process of concluding a partnership deal with the South Korean government to digitise all government operations and ensure that all government services are uploaded online for digital access.”

The essence of the collaboration, according to Shittu, is to boost e-Government in Nigeria.

Explaining the essence of the reception in honour of the minister, ATCON President, Lanre Ajayi said ATCON opted to honour Shittu, who is the 35th minister of communications since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, because of his passion for telecoms industry development, coupled with the zeal with which the minister assumed office last year.

Commending FG’s efforts to boost eGovernment in the country, Ajayi said government’s collaboration with the South Korean government to enhance eGovernment in Nigeria, is a welcome development. “We applaud the support of the South Korean government to our eGovernment programme, but we will equally like to call for a much dipper focus on locally developed solutions in our eGovernment development strategies,” Ajayi said.

He told the minister that lack of appropriate local content, had been identified as one of the factors leading to low broadband penetration in the country, which he said, was invariably affecting the growth of eGovernment in the country.

“A veritable way of local internet content, is the promotion of eGovernment, whose services create demand for internet access. This was largely demonstrated during the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) online registration, which led to upsurge in internet traffic in the country. If all government services are equally put online, that will stimulate demand for internet access and serve as impetus for operators to invest more in broadband access,” Ajayi said.

He therefore called on government to accelerate deployment of eGovernment services, which he said would not only service as a strategy to stimulate demand for broadband access, but also improve efficiency and transparency in government service delivery.

Ajayi also called for accelerated implementation of the Cybersecurity Act that was signed and passed into law last year by former President Goodluck Jonathan, which takes into consideration, the issue of protection of national critical infrastructure, which ATCON has been clamouring for, but expressed surprise at the non-implementation of the Act that is supposed to protect the investment of telecoms operators and facilitate improvement in the quality of telecoms services in the country.