The federal government yesterday in Lagos said the initiative to establish Abuja Information and Communication Technology (ICT) park inside the Abuja Technology Village would open investment opportunities for Nigeria.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who made the disclosure at a business roundtable for industry stakeholders, said although the initiative to establish the ICT Park was from the federal government, foreign and local investors have indicated interests to invest in the ICT Park, which he said would in turn boost the economy.
According to him, “In line with the knowledge-based initiative, the federal government, through the Ministry of Communications, designed a programme to establish a National ICT Park with the aim of providing an enabling platform, where ICT knowledge can be acquired through appropriate initiatives, including incubating tech ideas into viable startups, research and development, testing and certifications of ICT solutions.”
He, therefore, called on the major stakeholders and private companies operating in the ICT ecosystem to cooperate with government on the initiative and support its plans for the successful implementation of the project.
Stakeholders present at the forum lauded the initiative but cautioned against policy inconsistency in government’s willingness to execute national projects that will benefit the masses.
Chairman of SmartCity Plc, Sir Ademola Aladekomo, said Nigeria truly needs a national technology park with facilities where people could work, live and play with lots of technology incubators and accelerators that are relevant to the people.
He, however, advised that government must allow the private sector to run such national park with little of government intervention, since government has no business in business activities. “ICT Parks are products of societal needs, and the proposed Abuja ICT Park should be seen in that light to make it successful,” Aladekomo said.
The Director of ICT, Federal Ministry of Communications, Mrs. Monilola Udoh, said the concept of the Abuja ICT Park would enhance smart living and digitalised lifestyle of Nigerians, and that it is designed to fill the technical skills gap of university graduates, where software developers would be trained and re-trained.
The minister however assured stakeholders of less government interference in the implementation of the park, despite that it is a government initiative.
“It has been noted that ICT Parks will continue to play a central role in nations’ economic development. This ICT Park is envisaged to house clusters of technology companies in the city or near universities to help nurture fledgling technology industries by building pools of both naive and evolving talent. The ICT Park will promote the growth of existing technology-based companies, facilitate the growth of SMEs, attract large national and international companies, thereby attracting inward investments, create world-class physical facilities and proactive support services,” Shittu said.