By Emma Okonji
National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the government agency responsible for the implementation of information technology (IT) policies in the country, has embarked on a tour of critical ICT facilities in Akwa Ibom State. This is in line with the ‘Executive Order 3’ issued by the federal government in a bid to enforce the procurement of IT local contents by Ministries, Department, Agencies (MDAs) and promote the countryâ€™s burgeoning ICT industry for economic growth.
The ICT facilities that were visited are: Start Innovation Hub , Roothub and other ICT clusters in the state.
The tour is to promote â€œStartUP Fridayâ€ which is designed to bridge the gap that exists among ICT startups, and investors.
The National Coordinator for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), Dr. Amina Sambo, who represented NITDA, visited the ICT stakeholders in the state for assessment and to promote â€œStartup Friday,â€ the Akwa Ibom edition.
During the visit to Start Innovation Hub, one of the innovation hubs in the Niger Delta region, Sambo was received by the CEO, Start Innovation Hub, Hanson Johnson, who took the NITDA team round the ICT facilities and introduced the various programmes and startups in the hub to the team.
According to Sambo, â€œWe at OIIE are impressed with the level of work done by young people in Akwa Ibom despite the very limited resources they are exposed to. We hope that with this facility on the ground, there would be change of narrative from an oil dependent region to an ICT hub.â€
The team added that in 2017, it met the Jiggle team at Lagos and congratulated them again for the cheque they won and also noticed that some of the startups that competed in the programme came from various places outside Lagos and this is why government and investors will have to look beyond high income areas of Nigeria for their programmes.â€
Other places visited by the NITDA team, were Roothub and Hubitz where the team interacted with members of the hub and had a experience of their needs and aspirations.
According to Jonson, “We are pleased with this visit, it has demonstrated that the government is serious with ICT and the drive for diversified economy which ICT would be the driver. We believe that this recognition would spur us to achieve greater things in future.â€
Sambo in her engagement with the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Science and Technology in Akwa Ibom State, Prof. Nse Udo Essien, said the state would work with OIIE to ensure they have a wonderful â€œStartup Fridayâ€ event experience in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
StartUP Friday is a â€œmeet-upâ€ designed to bridge the gap that exist amongst startups, investors, mentors, buyers and other players in the Nigerian ICT ecosystem. This event was established by, OIIE, which is under NITDA.